More Mealworms questions...


10 Years
Jul 14, 2009
Stark County, NE Ohio
I am going to start raising my own mealworms. I know wheat bran, oatmeal is some of the best things to feed them. I just need to know what size of mealworms to get for treats for my chickens. Should I get small or medium. I read awhile ago chickens should only get the small. Is this accurate, if so why? I want to breed them to sell too. Also, how long is their life cycle? Will I have to keep replacing them to keep breeding. I heard you cannot let them inbreed for too long. Is this true too. Thanks in advance!!
It really ticks me off when someone just responds to a question like yours with "Google it!".....................but in this case, if you'll Google "Raising meal worms for food", you will be swamped with all the info you could ask for..............................and I sure couldn't print it all here!!!!!
Now that I've read a very informative website on raising meal worms it seems like a real PAIN!!! ANyone with experience raising them, please chime in and let me know if it sounds worse than it is. At first, it seemed so easy. Is it easier than I'm thinking or is it a time consuming pain.
It really seems like a lot of trouble. I buy 500 for $7.00 at birds unlimited. With 18 birds, that lasts quite awhile.
I tried it, got a grain mite infestation, got plenty of beetles but seemed like no worms ever came along. I threw the whole thing out when I found the mites. Decided it was too much trouble. My house was never cooler than 70*F, closer to 80 in the summer, and they seemed to take FOREVER to grow, and in the end I didn't even get anything from it!

Some things are worth paying for the "convenience" IMO.

Just my $0.02
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I have had some meal worms and wax worms. The life cycle for meal worms takes several months to get them going from worms from the store, to beetle, to egg, and finally to more worms. Wax worms are easier in my opinion. You can have thousands in a few weeks with very little work. I don't think the nutritional value is as good with wax worms but the chickens go nuts for them just the same.
I would guess the meal worms sell better, but require more overhead.
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Mealworms lifecycle does take a while, I got some worms from a fellow BYCer about 6-8 weeks ago, and I'm mostly at the 'just bugs' stage. I've finally gotten some tiny mealworm babies, but it has taken a while. But once you get them established, they really aren't that difficult. You just need to make sure to keep their 'moisture source' (potato, carrot, apple, whatever) fresh, then change their substrate once a month or so, and they pretty much raise themselves. But it does seem to take a long time! I'm torn on what I want to do. Wax worms seem promising. I'll have to look into them. If meal worms are such a challenge to grow, and require alot of patience a seller may make some established customers then. I'll have to really look into this. I am going to google the nutritional value of wax worms and see what I find. Thanks guys for the responses.
I find mealworms easy to raise. They are in a covered box with screened lid (very fine so they don't escape). The substrate is layers of paper towels and bran. They eat the bran, and I sprinkle the top with water 3 times a week. I give them slices of apple, pear, carrot, etc. for moisture and extra food. They will eat any grain though. They even chew through hamster block food, so don't worry about grinding anything fine. When the bran gets powdery, I add more on top.
Don't throw away all the substrate when you clean, it will contain the eggs of the next generation. I mainly pick out the dried up/bad fruit bits. Maybe twice a year I do a thorough clean out and start over the substrate, but try to keep all stages of mealworms and beetles so you don't get stuck with a dry spell.
I use a kitchen sifter to sort the mealworms from the beetles and substrate when feeding. I feed all sizes of mealworms, they chickens don't care how big they are.
Be careful they don't escape into your house or they will find the kitchen and eat all your cereal, etc.

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