Mealworms are the early life stage of darkling beetles and are frequently used as food for pets like reptiles, spiders, birds, and even rodents. Aside from that, they act as an essential part of the natural ecosystem, consuming decaying matter as well as keeping things clean. If you want to have healthy mealworms, understand their feeding habits, and provide them with a safe environment.
Housing Your Mealworms
Keep the mealworms in a plastic, glass, metal, and wax-coated container. You need to make sure they cannot get a grip on the sides of the container you keep them in, as they can probably climb out. Containers with smooth, slippery sides and surfaces are great to keep the mealworms inside. Avoid containers made of things like cardboard, and any containers lined in fabric. These surfaces will be simple for the worms to latch onto and climb up, which can let them get out. As long as the container is a minimum of 8 centimeters deep and has slippery sides, you can likely get away without putting a lid on it. But, if you need a lid, be sure you poke small air holes in the top. Try using cheesecloth as an alternative, as that'll keep other insects out of the container.
Protecting the Worms
One of the first things you learn about how to care for mealworms is getting them appropriate housing. You set as well as maintain the right conditions for mealworms to thrive. find a wax-coated container, metal, plastic, and glass for them. These are ideal, particularly when they don’t have a grip on the sides. You don’t need the worms crawling out. A smooth surface makes it hard for the worms to crawl out. There are some other materials that you need to avoid when thinking about containers for mealworm farm. Cardboard as well as any material made of, and lined in fabric should be avoided. The worms may latch onto these materials and climb out of the container. Next, you have to think about the lid. In most cases, you can do without a lid. However, a container in this scenario should be no less than eight centimeters deep, and without a slippery side. If you can’t find such a container and have to use a lid, ensure it has holes at the top, to let the proper circulation of air. Yet on the lid, you can use cheesecloth as a cover for the container because it prevents other insects from getting inside.
Feeding the Worms
Next on your list of essential considerations for how to care for mealworms is appropriate feeding. All animals want food, most more than others, as well as others more often. Mealworms are an interesting type of animal. They may eat anything they come across. At the bottom of the breeding container, you should find quality material that’ll act as the substrate. There are many choices you can consider as substrates. Remember, when selecting the materials, the mealworms will feed on the substrate. Therefore, you need to keep checking on whichever material you used, to figure out whether you want to add more if the worms have eaten up some of it. You don’t need them starving. At the same time, think about the role that the substrate has for playing in the moisture content of the breeding ground. If there isn’t enough substrate, the moisture balance can be disturbed, making the circumstances unsuitable for the growing mealworms.
While on the problem of feeding mealworms, utilize moist food to feed them. Adding water into the breeder is unwise, as that'll interfere with the moisture balance. Mealworms, such as other animals, prefer fresh food and vegetables. Foods such as apples, potatoes, and carrots are ideal. Actually, potatoes should be your great bet when feeding mealworms, because it takes a longer time before they become dry. They don’t mold as fast as some of the other food items do. You should monitor the substrate level in the breeder and add more to counter the impact of moisture from the food. Too much moisture may lead to molding, which will interfere with your mealworms. One of the other reasons why the water in the breeder isn’t advisable is that mealworms can simply crawl into the water, and drown in the procedure. Therefore, the great source of nutrition and water for your worms is the fruits/vegetables you feed them.
Caring for Mealworms Through Life Stages
Keep different life stages in separate containers
If you allow mealworms to develop into pupae and then beetles, be sure to take the pupae out of your container. The beetles as well as the worms will both eat these if they’re left in the container. If you do not plan to keep the mealworms into the next stages of life, keep in mind that they remain at the larval (worm) phase for 8 to10 weeks. If you buying the worms and they’re fully grown, you can have less time than that.
Feed every stage the same
Larvae as well as Beetles eat the same food, so keep refreshing and adding to the food bedding. Once the larvae become pupae, they’ll not eat during this stage. If you notice pupae in your container, transfer them into another container that’s lined with a paper towel instead of the bedding. That'll give the pupae something for holding onto while they transition into their next life stage, which will take anywhere from 6 to 24 days.
Keep the container temperature above 62 degrees (F).
Temperatures lower than this might have a negative impact on the reproduction cycle. If you’re trying to progress the life cycle as well as encourage full-grown beetles to lay eggs and begin the cycle over, be sure they have a warm environment in which to do so. If you have larvae in huge numbers and will use them as food for pets, you may refrigerate the larvae in a container with holes in the lid as well as they’ll last long. But, temperatures lower than 40 degrees (F) can cause the worms to die.
Use moist foods
Slices and pieces of fruits/vegetables like potatoes and apples work well for this purpose. Potatoes are a particularly better choice as they take a bit longer to mold and dry out.
Do not put any water in the container. Mealworms will crawl and end up drowning. Utilize the fruit/vegetables as a source of moisture and water.
Switch out dried and molded pieces of fruit/vegetables for fresh ones as needed.