Mealworm farming

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hannakat, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. onafixedincome

    onafixedincome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing I did find, purchasing from the petstore, was the the sooner you can get liquid into those mealies, the better they survive! Last time I didn't have an apple on hand, so I poured a small amount of tea (I drink it very weak) in and they went INSANE. Poor guys--they were dated over ten days previous, and were more than just a bit dry! But they plumped right up in a couple of days with baby carrots and tea-on-wheat bread, and did very well.

    Looking at the photos earlier (thank you!!!), it's about time to start another pupa reservoir/hatching box. The pupae almost cover the entire surface, so I figure the beetles will too...and that's crowded enough for anyone. [​IMG]
     
  2. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All of my meal worms died [​IMG]
     
  3. BeccaSmith

    BeccaSmith Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Sorry to hear they all died, do you know why?
     
  4. BeccaSmith

    BeccaSmith Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So now that I have a ton of pupa morphing into beetles I am trying to figure out what my next step is. I'm hoping if I talk it out here I might be able to figure it out or someone can give me a suggestion. So I purchased about 1500 and bought a 3 bin system and was originally only going to keep them in one bin. The three bins are the size of a large shoe/boot box and I have wheat bran and rolled oats for the bedding. So in the top bin I have the larva, as they turn into pupa I put them in the middle bin that has a wheat bran for bedding as well, just not as deep as the bin with the larva. Now that the beetles are hatching I have put some food and chunks of egg cartons in this same container, but I was wondering if I would be separating the beetles into another bin to lay their eggs. I'm also trying to figure out once they lay their eggs, what is the next step, do I try and move the eggs to a different bin for hatching? Or would everything be ok with just how I have the two bins?

    Also how often should I be screening/cleaning the bedding for the larva and for the beetles? One thing I know now is that I would not use the rolled oats again for bedding, it makes it hard to find the pupa when trying to find them to transfer to the next bin. And is it still normal to be finding dead larva that has turned black? I think I find about 12 on a daily basis. Every worm lost is one less beetle to lay eggs for me...lol.
     
  5. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG] What happened?
     
  6. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You can't move the eggs....you'll never find them. Either use a screened bottom container or let the larva develop with the beetles. They do well together so that isn't an issue at all.

    I used the 3-drawer with the screen in the top drawer and I have one large bin that I've adapted to have a small container that has a screened bottom inside the large container and it's doing well with thousands of babies underneath. I'll get try to get a current photo.

    Funny how we see things different...as I've slowly switched over to wheat bran, with my newest generation underway, I find it HARDER to find pupae in the wheat bran and miss the rolled oats for that reason! hahaaaa!!

    You will always find dead of all stages [​IMG] , which is normal in the bug world. They'll still over run your house if you let them!

    I agree "Every worm lost is one less beetle to lay eggs for me" and [​IMG] weep over their loss.....

    [​IMG]
     
  7. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

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    Ah, Trish, I hate that you can't find the pupae as well in the wheat bran. I see mine better but then again I don't have the best eyes in the world.
    My pupae are not as abundant right now but I am trying to keep my fingers out of the bins. I see those big fat meal worms and know the birds will love me for it but try and stay focused on them pupating into beetles that will lay eggs for me.
    Hummmmm, my chickens survive if they lay eggs for me and the meal worms are doing the same, morphing into beetles to lay eggs for me! [​IMG]
     
  8. onafixedincome

    onafixedincome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Becca, I'm kinda where you are, with two bins pupating and two morphing (for lack of a better word?) to beetles. I'm a little shaky on how this is going to work for a while!

    I think I'm going to be letting 'em all morph in the one container, adding a little bran to refresh as the frass increases, then about once every couple of weeks to a month move the beetles to completely fresh bedding/housing, keeping them in the same groups they started in, so the ages are *about* the same per group....and then let the old bedding sit with some carrots and bread until I start seeing larva.

    I think, anyway! Hanna and Amy, how long will the de-beetled bedding need to sit before I can be reasonably sure there will be no larvae forthcoming? So far, my beetles are like kids in sixth grade--"It's a member of the opposite sex--RUN!" [​IMG] Sheesh!

    So I think my flow will be something like this:
    Once a month, move beetles and dump all the 'old' bedding into one larger container for incubation/hatching.
    Once a month (the next week, probably), go through the 'old' bedding bins to remove larvae into growth bins, where they will get more closely watched and fed.
    Once every couple of weeks, go through all growth bins and remove excess dead, old fruit/veggies, sift and rebed as needed, pull pupae and any beetles.
    The accumulated beetles over the course of a month go into the breeding 'rotation' groups.

    Does that sound OK to those who have been doing this for a while and who AREN'T rolling on the floor yet? [​IMG]
     
  9. Emily1220

    Emily1220 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I set up my farm today and was determined to know if I actually had 500 worms soooooooo.........yep, I counted them. Only found 5 dead black ones. BUT I had a white pupae in there also!! Geez, I was like a kid on christmas finding the best present!!! I have a slice of potato and 2 baby carrots in there for them. Now, several hours later there really isnt as much activity in there as I thought there would be. They were refridgerated so perhaps they arent warm enough yet?????
     
  10. onafixedincome

    onafixedincome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Was it a pupa, or a freshly-molted larva? Remember, they're white right after molting, too. [​IMG]

    Could be temperature that is the lack of visible activity, but could also be that they're just *tired*. Give them a chance once warmed to eat and find the goodies, and I think in about 24-72 hours, you'll see a distinct difference in vim and vigor--or at least I did.

    Good work and good luck! [​IMG]
     

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