Mealworm farm beetles escaping!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SillyJilly, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. SillyJilly

    SillyJilly Just Hatched

    14
    0
    14
    Dec 13, 2016
    Wisconsin
    I started a mealworm farm for the chickens a couple months ago. I'm using the three drawer method in a plastic tupperware type drawer unit. The bottom of the beetle drawer is in tact, i am not using the self sorthing method that requires the bottom of the drawer be removed and replaced with screening. I'm on the first generation of beetles.

    The problem is they keep escaping. Everything I've read says they can't fly or climb plastic but i keep finding them on the floor around the bin. At first it was just one every other week or so and i thought maybe i had missed one stuck to a potato when i changed it out but now its happening a couple times a week and i just found three in my hallway.

    Has anyone else had this happen or know how to prevent it? I was really excited to have an unlimited supply of mealies for the girls, but Im ready to chuck the whole thing. These things are really sceeving me out and Im not going to risk getting an infestation. Any suggestions are appeciated.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,960
    2,950
    421
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Oh yes! Been there! It's kind of funny, after you finish hunting down and rounding up all the escapees.

    When it happened to me, I was using the same setup as you have - the small three drawer plastic file box. The problem with these drawers is they're too shallow. As the larvae achieve full size, they tend to clump together. This enables the ones on top to use the pile as an aid to reach the lip of the drawer.

    The next step is to climb out and colonize the inside of the housing surrounding the three drawers. Take the drawers out and dismantle the housing. You will find the colony has taken up residence in between the outside shell and the inside of the shell. Have you done this yet?

    Mine were in my water heater closet, and I first noticed some larvae crawling across the kitchen floor which made me check. They were all over the boiler, under the boiler, and getting ready to invade the kitchen en mass.

    I recommend you ditch the three drawer box and get some Sterilite 10' x 13' x 3" deep trays. They come with lids which will guarantee no inmates will ever escape. Just drill some 1/ 8 " holes in the lids. These stack ever so nicely.

    They say that darkling beetles of the meal worm species do not fly. Hah! Let me assure you, that if they are at large for long enough, they learn. I had one fly into my bedroom and then fly onto my shoulder while I was in bed reading. This happens very seldom, but it can happen.

    Time to move your worms into larger quarters, my friend!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. SillyJilly

    SillyJilly Just Hatched

    14
    0
    14
    Dec 13, 2016
    Wisconsin

    Oh my gosh, I'll lose my mind if they fly!! I took the drawers apart and they don'the seem to be anywhere else. There is a good 6" between the top of the substrate and the top of the drawer...I can't believe they can reach the top by piling up because I don't have that many beetles yet, like less than 100. I don't know, maybe. Either way, I'll move them to a Tupperware with a locking lid tomorrow. Thank you so much!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by