MEALWORMS: Why do my darkling beetles look like this?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by drewskimac, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. drewskimac

    drewskimac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]I have 2 darkling beetles that started to morph from pupa into beetles about 3 days ago, and they still look like this... They lay on their back and wiggle their legs all day long, what is going on?

    Also, my beetles tend to get stuck on their backs in their substrate, like really often. Is this normal?
     
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  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had that happen on occasion. I don't know exactly why it occurs, but they seem to have an incomplete pupation, if that's a word. Either they don't have the rest of their equipment, or they were unable completely to wiggle out of their pupae case. I've watched them, and they appear not to mate with other beetles and are doomed to a short life. You can go ahead and cull those.

    As for the beetles that lie around wiggling their legs in the air, they've found themselves in an unsuitable position and are trying to right themselves. They are not gifted with any intelligence whatsoever.
     
  3. drewskimac

    drewskimac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha, thanks for the helpful response :). Hey, how long does it take for the beetles to turn black and begin breeding?
     
  4. shorttimer

    shorttimer Out Of The Brooder

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    Usually within several hours they turn brown & in a few days they are black. I believe that they start trying to reproduce within a week or so once put into the beetle tray, and from what I've read can produce 100s of eggs over a period of a month or two & then die. I have helped several pupaes out of their exoskeleton, some un-successfully, and usually tend to the pupae tray twice a day to remove the beetles so they can get right to the reproduction tray. If that isn't done, the beetles will attack the pupae because they cannot defend themselves at this stage. I'm not sure if the beetles are hungry or thirsty. They are also under attack from the worm stage so the pupaes get removed from that tray as well. I have no idea how long they would stay on their backs, wiggling their legs, before they died from all the energy they expended, but they usually don't have to go more than 12 hours. I try keeping the small farm as close to 79* as I can. From what I've read it's the 'magic' number. What I do know, for sure, is that when I went on a trip for a couple of weeks, they didn't do nearly as well as when they get regular attention. Hope you guys are having as good of luck (and fun) with yours, as I'm having.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Even tho the pupae aren't eating they need moisture, if too dry they won't morph well.
    So keeping some veg in the bin helps with humidity levels and is something for the beetles to eat right away...instead of it's unmorphed brethren.
     
  6. drewskimac

    drewskimac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks :)
     
  7. drewskimac

    drewskimac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
     
  8. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had this problem with my colony, I figured it was because they had nothing to push off of to right themselves. So I added lots of things that stuck up above the substrate, such as TP rolls, crumpled newspaper, egg cartons. The more "stuff" there is, the better chance a beetle be able to turn over.

    It did seem to work for me, not sure if it was just dumb luck or if they really did benefit from having the extra traction.
     
  9. drewskimac

    drewskimac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hmm, you know, that's a good observation, i will try that... Thanks!
     
  10. abqferreira

    abqferreira Out Of The Brooder

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    I just found 4-5 of my first beetles and they look exactly like that picture. I turned them right side up and left them on half an apple- is there hope for them?
     

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