I don't have pics loaded yet, (is it sad that I HAVE taken pics?) but I'll explain. Let me remind you that I just have started all this. So most of what I am doing is purely academic. I read LOTS of post about the different ways. I am learning as I go experimentally!
I went with a three bin system. I have seen online and read where people have had great success with all stages all in one container. However, I also read several places that if the beetles were at a loss for moisture, they would eat the pupae. I saw this first hand when I first received mine in the mail. I ordered worms and live beetles. They were in separate containers. There were some pupae in the beetle container because the person that I ordered from put the pupae into the beetle container when she found them in the worm container, because the pupae turn into beetles. That is the way she raises hers. However, the potato pieces that she had put in for moisture during shipping had dried out and the beetles were eating the pupae. Now, while I plan to always try to keep food in there for moisture, I don't want to risk my pupae because I forget to check them one day.
Having said all that: I bought three shoe box size plastic containers with lids. I ended up not using on of them because I found something I liked better in my closet at home for my beetles.
I have my beetles in a container that I had that is made for craft storage. It is a snap together, two level container. The top is deeper than the bottom level. I cut the bottom of the top container out leaving a small edge and hot glued in screen to cover the bottom. I have oats in this container (wheat bran is too small, it would sift through the screen). This is where my beetles live. The idea is that when they lay eggs, the eggs will fall through the screen into the bottom container (where I have a layer of wheat bran). Any eggs that don't fall through will hatch in the oats and the tiny worms will fall through. At least that is the plan. I read many posts from people who swear by this. We will see. As the eggs are tee-tiny, I can't see them (they will supposedly get covered with wheat bran because they are sticky) so I am waiting for my first hatch!
My worms are in one of the plastic shoe box containers with wheat bran. I check them every day to see if any have gone into the pupae stage. If so, I take them out with a plastic spoon and move them to the pupae container. My worms have grown quickly! I can't believe how much bigger they are now than when I got them almost two weeks ago. I have found that they LOVE a folded up paper towel in there. They get between the folded layers. I have even have several chew in and get between the two plies of the paper towel. I lifted it up and unfolded it and they were literally IN the paper towel.
I keep my pupae in another shoe box plastic container. I only have a very tiny layer of wheat bran in there, because they don't eat in this stage. I only have a little for cushioning and for the beetles as they emerge. It is amazing. I teach high school kids and when they heard I was a "worm-farmer" they insisted that I bring them. One class was lucky enough that a beetle was emerging and I projected it up on the big screen! Now, I teach math, but I didn't see anything wrong with a little extra-curricular learning going on. This is real life stuff! They were amazed.
Since I just started, I currently probably have 25 or so beetles (up from about 10 when I got them), 15-20 pupae and 100 or so worms. I am just guessing. I can't wait to have enough to feed my chickens!
Let me know how it goes if you decide to. I can give you the name of who I ordered mine from.
Well I would have LOVED to have you for my math teacher in high school! I have always been interested in this stuff and ever since I got chickens, I just knew I had to look into mealworm farming I really really thank you for your advice and system. I have just been wondering if it was too high maintenance to juggle in between my college classes or not. I have heard it was very low maintenance but I'm just not so sure haha so all information is helpful and needed!!
I'M ALSO NOT SURE OF STARTING A FARM... I HEARD TO MAKE SURE YOU WEAR MASK WHEN HANDLING THEM SINCE OVERTIME YOU CAN BECOME ALLERGIC TO THEM... HAS ANYONE TRIED SOMETHING DIFFERENT INSTEAD OF USING WHEATGERM AS A BASE... I THINK I SAW ON YOUTUBE THAT USED CHICKEN CRUMBLE LAYER AND OATS..THANX
Mealworm farming is probably the easiest thing I have EVER done for my animals!!! I simply have two plastic shoe boxes....in each one, I put about a cup of dry oatmeal and a cup of chick starter with some cut up potato. I bought a cup of 100 mealworms from the pet store and split them between the two boxes. In just a few weeks, I could see tons of new mealworms crawling around!! i use worms from one container for a while, then let it "regenerate" for a while as I use worms from the other bin. As i add potatoes for moisture, I just add a little more oatmeal and starter to accommodate more worms. Now that I have many more chickens, I am simply going to make more boxes, using scoops of worms, beetles, pupae and eggs from the existing boxes.
I once left the boxes in a closet in the garage for MONTHS without caring for them or using any of them. I KNEW they would be gone and useless, but I was WRONG!!! After months of being completely neglected, there were still tons of worms and living beetles in both boxes!! I freshened up the boxes with fresh food/litter and some potatoes, and they were off to the races again!! They stay dry, don't stink, and are very forgiving!!