Mealworm farming

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

  1. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    onafixedincome ~ "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!" Sheesh"

    Honestly....I have found it to be several weeks! The container I have in the oven (keeping warm with the light on 24/7) now has worms pupating with 2 already morphed into beetles (starting my 3rd generation) AND still many very small wormies. I strained the frass out yesterday before adding more substrate and was totally surprised by the number and size of the wee ones.

    Unless you keep your house temp above 80 degrees, I'd sift it out into a smaller container and let it sit for another month. ALTHOUGH (cause there's always other options .... teehee) sift it gently and just don't worry about it. I'm a bit OCD about them and am willing to give all contents time to prove itself to be void of wormie life!!
     
  2. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Not to worry! I counted mine, as well, when I first started the farm. I also kept track of how many pupae there were until I realized that all my pushing pupae around to count and move and count was probably causing an increase in deformed beetles, although I'm not really sure if that was the case or not.

    Yep, all stages are white at some point. Every time a wormie sheds the exoskeleton, it is white again. They shed up to 15 times (according to what I've read) so you're be seeing them often. They usually stay deep in the substrate right after they shed and I've been assuming it's for protection. The pupae are white at first too and the beetles are nearly white right after they morph. Cool stuff!

    Until you have thousands and thousands, it never really seems like much is going on, so give it time! Sounds like you're on the right track! Keep 'em warm and watch 'em grow and change!
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just dumped mine in bins, beetles in one, worms in another. Now the worm bin is full of beetles, and the beetle bin is where I am finding new worms. Does it sound like a bad idea if I just freeze some wheat bran overnight, or a couple of days, then dump it in on top? The bigger harvestable worms all come to the front of the drawer where I can just pick them up, for some reason, so I haven't sifted anything.
     
  4. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

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    I know things are happening in my bins (I do the one bin method x 2 shooting for x 4) but it's at the stage where you can't see anything, just looks like status quo. But they are eating more food quicker, I can't wait until I can feed out some to my girls, though I can't even imagine liking anything more then they do the dubia's.
     
  5. NightsInWhiteSilkies

    NightsInWhiteSilkies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just curious but from the time their an egg to the time their the actual meal worm to feed to your chicken how long does the whole process take for them to be fully adult stage or whatever they are called?
    I just clicked this link someone mentioned it to me and Im very interested in doing this. Ive read a few posts on the first few pages and it seems easier than I would of imagined.
     
  6. colonel sander

    colonel sander Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am just thinking of starting a colony and am wondering does anyone add a heat source for them? My house is not even close to 75 and not sure if it would be warm enough for them. Am planning on using a 10 gallon aquarium that I have or the container.
     
  7. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I keep my house cold - 62-64 - I've got the mealies in a plastic drawer a bit bigger and deeper than a shoebox. I'm using a reptile cage heater mat, the kind that sticks on to the bottom of the terrarium. it took about a week to heat my substrait, 3" of oatmeal and wheatbran. I've got a thermometer that lays on top of the wheat bran that shows daily high and low. temperature shifts between 74 and 80 degrees on some days, typically 76-79 on most. I think that amount of variation is probably not ideal, but the wormies are fat and happy, pupa popping up all over.

    the mat is called "heat wave desert" (they come in desert and rainforest). and it covers all but a 3" strip of the bottom of the drawer. disclaimer - it says use only on glass terrariums and my drawer is plastic, however, it seems to work fine and is not damaging the plastic... your mileage may vary.
     
  8. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

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    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?

    I give substrate an extra 4 weeks and put fresh apple in to bait up any tinies that may be trying to grow. Then I feel safe to toss out the frass. If there is still good wheat bran I use it again!​
     
  9. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

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    Quote:They go through some slow times. And they slow down or stop moving altogether before they pupate. Meal worms and beetles alike will actually look very dead for a few days and then jump up and go on like nothing ever happened. It is cool!
     
  10. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Welcome NightsInWhiteSilkies! The development time depends on the temperature. Mine (at 70 degrees) take about 5 months full circle, whereas people who keep their houses warmer develop quicker.

    Life cycle stages... this is relative to conditions such as temperature, food source, etc:Egg Incubation: 4-19 days (usually 4-7). Another source says 20-40 days
    Larva: 10 weeks. Visible after about a week
    Pupa: 6-18 (18-24?) days
    Beetle and Egg Laying: 8-12 weeks (followed by death). Egg laying starts 4-19 days (average 12) after emergence

    colonel sander ~ Welcome to the farm! There is no magic temperature so they will continue to develop. What temp is your house? Some people use reptile heating pads and some use Christmas lights on the outside of the bin.....use your imagination if you think it's too cold. They go relatively dormant at 40 degrees but anything higher than that will enable them to continue to develop...just slower.

    So you really don't need a heat source except to speed up development if that's your desire.

    A 10 gallon aquarium is perfect! Have you read Gallo del Cielo's page?
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012

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