Started my mealworms today...wish me luck!

foxy2320

Chirping
7 Years
Oct 15, 2012
106
5
83
Oregon
So my girls love the dried mealworms, but my wallet does not, so I decided to research raising my own. After trolling around on here for information I decided to take the plunge. I got some live mealies from a pet store last night, and got my wheat bran from the feed store today. I got the old aquarium cleaned out, and put some wheat bran in. A little while later I noticed a little bug. Then two little bugs. Then a little worm (not meal worm). I looked into the bag of wheat bran and it had tiny little grain beetles and larvae in it. I called the feed store, they said to bring it back for a refund (they didn't have any more in stock). The guy also told me the bag was expired, so it was good that I brought it back. I've only found a few bugs in my colony, and I think since it was just at the top of the bag there won't be too many, but when I see them I just take them out and drown the suckers. I started with 2000 mealies, and when I went back to the feed store I asked if they sell them. They said no, but people ask for live ones all the time. And when they found out I'm going to be raising them, they wanted me to let them know when I get my colony up and running because they either want to carry them from me or have my information to give to customers looking for live mealies. So what started as a way to provide cheap, healthy treats to my flock could turn into a little side business. I'll try to get some pics posted tomorrow, but since I'm so new at this, feel free to chime in with any advice!
 

ChickensRDinos

Songster
7 Years
Aug 19, 2012
2,242
233
208
Los Angeles
Yay! I was sort of afraid of my mealworms when I started but now I think they are super fun. Make sure you are also giving them some sort of vegetable matter from time to time so they have a moisture source. I give mine carrots and apples because that is what I happen to have because I also feed them to my dogs everyday. They will likely eat all of it but it case they do not, take it out before it starts to rot.

If you you want to save some worms out to keep them from pupating you can stick them in the frig and they will stay worms longer. Once you take them out of the frig they will pupate fast.

Once you have a ton you may want to consider a multi-drawer system. I bought a four drawer plastic crafting storage thing on sale and have a nursery, a worm bin, a pupae bin and beetle bin. I also got a cheap piece of screen material so I can filter out their poop. (although only do this to worms, not beetles because you will lose eggs if you do the beetles. - I take the beetle poo and put it in the nursery so the eggs and baby worms all end up together.)

If you compost all of the poo and casings are great compost.

I way too into this. It is almost embarrassing.
 
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Gallo del Cielo

La Gallina Resort & Spa
9 Years
May 6, 2010
5,230
382
306
Tucson
My Coop
My Coop
Congratulations on taking the plunge; your wallet will be healthier for it. One bit of important advice: either freeze the wheat bran for a couple weeks or heat it to 130 degrees for 15 minutes prior to adding it to the colony to avoid adding unwanted pests. There are all kinds of things that will either directly compete with your mealworms for resources or harm them directly. For more information than you ever wanted to know about mealworms, be sure to check out the mealworm farming thread. Good luck! (but it's so easy, you really won't need it).
 

Demosthine

Songster
7 Years
Jun 26, 2012
1,111
138
191
Phoenix, Arizona
Congratulations! I started mine about a month ago. I picked up a 500 count container from PetCo for $5.99 and two small containers from WalMart for $1.99. I think the PetCo option was much better, although the WalMart ones were noticeably bigger. Regardless, I have about a dozen beetles at the moment and a bunch of everything else. I'm dropping in four potato halves once a week and baby carrots on occasion. I just read about them liking the apples and banana peels, too, so I'll start that next week.

One thing to note that I hadn't read until this morning... Apparently, the adult beetles can and will fly, so have a screen or something over the aquarium. I'll be buying my cover today, especially since the colony is sitting on my entertainment center.

Personally, I don't see a reason to separate them. Just find a scooper that is the right size for your mealworms and use that to cultivate them when you want them. At the moment, I'm just picking them out with my hands, but if I was to do a larger-scale for selling like that, I'd check out the kitty litter scoops. They come in all sorts of sizes with different size holes in them. I picked up one that was on sale for $1.99 and it works great for the coop. Goodwill is another great option for scoops. Fryer spoons would work, too.
 

ChickensRDinos

Songster
7 Years
Aug 19, 2012
2,242
233
208
Los Angeles
One thing to note that I hadn't read until this morning... Apparently, the adult beetles can and will fly, so have a screen or something over the aquarium. I'll be buying my cover today, especially since the colony is sitting on my entertainment center.
They CAN fly but they usually will not unless they do not have what they need in the bin. I have my beetles in an open container for a year and have only had one fly once. I never find them around. Not a bad idea to cover but I wouldn't stress about it.
 

Demosthine

Songster
7 Years
Jun 26, 2012
1,111
138
191
Phoenix, Arizona
I used Gallo de Ciello's guide on "How to Raise Mealworms" on this Forum. His guide was quick and simple, but gives you everything you need to know. I purchased my aquarium at PetCo for $13.99 and the bran from WinCo for $0.43 a pound. I later found a few aquariums at Goodwill for under $5 that would have worked great, but they weren't there until after I bought my new one. For about $15, including worms, you can get a colony set up nicely. Granted, mine doesn't look anywhere near like Gallo's, but it's only a month old.
 

foxy2320

Chirping
7 Years
Oct 15, 2012
106
5
83
Oregon
I gave them some baby carrots, and it's kinda funny because they've already been pulled down under the wheat. I found a pupa already this morning, but it's not moving. Are they dormant or did it die already?
 
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