Strange Problem with Mealworms

Allthefloofs

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Sep 16, 2020
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Scottsdale, AZ
@Allthefloofs Thank you for the reply. :) Yes I would agree that mites are more likely then a parasite. I have heard of heating grains in the oven before, but I guess it didn't register up stairs at the time. LOL

I like to use pieces of cardboard egg carton and place my carrots and other vegies on top of them for the beetles and that seems to help on the mold issue with them.

For the worms I slice a potato and leave the outside skin part down in the oatmeal and that to has slowed the growth on mold with the oatmeal.

I even tried the water gel crystals and that wasn't much better then the vegetables for mold wanting to start. If anything ever happens to all the worms and they die off, I don't see myself going down this road anytime soon again! :gig
I agree it's a lot more work than it's made out to be! I might do the cardboard egg carton trick, though the shredded ones are working fine. It might be interesting to try to see if it's any different. I haven't used potatoes for a while, they caused a lot of mold and made my boxes stinky. I occasionally forgot to pull them after a day and then ended up starting a box again because of the smell :mad:.
 

416bigbore

Not A Care In The World !
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Jun 11, 2020
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I don't think the cardboard egg carton would work for the worms, but the beetles seem to love it. They crawl all over them and hide under them and even eat holes in the silly things. :gig
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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That's them! I just checked my boxes and I don't have any infestations anymore. It all started declining with microwaving, really. I'm sure the more frequent changes helped too.
IIRC from my meal worm days that the standard oven is better for heat treating, as the microwaves only heat moisture.
 

Allthefloofs

Songster
Sep 16, 2020
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Scottsdale, AZ
IIRC from my meal worm days that the standard oven is better for heat treating, as the microwaves only heat moisture.
I can imagine that. For now the microwave is working, but if I have any more issues regarding "sterilization" of the media I will definitely switch to the oven, thanks for mentioning that, do you recall an amount of time you baked things in the oven by chance?
 

EggSighted4Life

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Apr 9, 2016
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I see many live ones that are deformed with lots of old skin stuck to their bodies, mostly around their legs. Looks like they have peeling, flakey skin covering them. When they get like this they start to get black areas on their body too and then soon die and turn all black. None are making it to the larger stage or to the stage they turn into a pupa!
I've got two thoughts.. or more..

First your description says not enough humidity.. for pupating.. As an avid hatcher of chicks, ambient humidity counts not just intake.. are the pupa drying out?? Moisture for hydration is not the same as survival. When they can't fully molt, they're deformed and never perform well.

Second thought.. too inbred.. pick out EVERY one of the meal worms that is deformed.. deformity breeds forward in too many instances for this to not be factored in.

IIRC from my meal worm days that the standard oven is better for heat treating, as the microwaves only heat moisture.
I didn't know that microwaves heat moisture!

I have used the microwave.. which did make my wheat hot as heck.. but if left to sit while cooling off.. would clump together where the moisture was.. I keep my wheat in air tight storage.. after ditching the SLOW turn around (due to my temperature) adventure.. I later found ALL the wheat left in my "air tight" container.. in fact mildewed! I had not expected that.. I thought maybe rancidness would be in question.. but there's no mistaken that mold smell. What a waste and a bummer. :sick

I wonder if it would not have molded if not in the enclosed container or if that was it's fate? What seems dry to us still does have a percentage of moisture.

My birds eat the dying or dead black worms as well.. dried out beetles or pupa, oh ya..

I set my veggies on top of folded newspaper that covers the surface of substrate. Celery and cabbage leaves works well for me to avoid any mold issues. Even broccoli stocks.

A couple links that might have helpful information..
Live Mealworm Information

mealworms

:fl
 

Allthefloofs

Songster
Sep 16, 2020
556
1,330
166
Scottsdale, AZ
I've got two thoughts.. or more..

First your description says not enough humidity.. for pupating.. As an avid hatcher of chicks, ambient humidity counts not just intake.. are the pupa drying out?? Moisture for hydration is not the same as survival. When they can't fully molt, they're deformed and never perform well.

Second thought.. too inbred.. pick out EVERY one of the meal worms that is deformed.. deformity breeds forward in too many instances for this to not be factored in.


I didn't know that microwaves heat moisture!

I have used the microwave.. which did make my wheat hot as heck.. but if left to sit while cooling off.. would clump together where the moisture was.. I keep my wheat in air tight storage.. after ditching the SLOW turn around (due to my temperature) adventure.. I later found ALL the wheat left in my "air tight" container.. in fact mildewed! I had not expected that.. I thought maybe rancidness would be in question.. but there's no mistaken that mold smell. What a waste and a bummer. :sick

I wonder if it would not have molded if not in the enclosed container or if that was it's fate? What seems dry to us still does have a percentage of moisture.

My birds eat the dying or dead black worms as well.. dried out beetles or pupa, oh ya..

I set my veggies on top of folded newspaper that covers the surface of substrate. Celery and cabbage leaves works well for me to avoid any mold issues. Even broccoli stocks.

A couple links that might have helpful information..
Live Mealworm Information

mealworms

:fl
Microwaves basically make the water molecules go crazy. The increased movement of the water molecules translates to heat. Very simplified version of the happenings, but yeah. It made my kids' heads explode when I told them that 😂.
 

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