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 Mealworm farm D.I.Y.

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Gimmexdatxbrain
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PostSubject: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   8/26/2010, 4:13 am

Hi everybody, just wanted to show you guys what i do with my mealworm farm. First things first, getting your mealworms. I just went to my trusted pet store guy and bought like 80-90 mealworms, the more you get the more you could get out of it all. Now its time for what supplies youll need: get a sterilite 3 drawer setup or something similar with atleast 3 drawers(make sure it is slick on the inside because they will get a grip and run away, which is bad), a tackle box with some interchangeable slides(I just went to wal-mart),some wire screen, oatmeal(old fashioned), egg cartons, exacto knife, hot glue gun and glue, and a permanent marker. The whole process takes about 12 weeks from egg to beetle but definetely worth the investment of time and a little money.

The whole setup is pretty much beatles in the top drawer, mealworms growing in the 2nd drawer, and in the bottom is fully grown mealworms that i am either gut loading or preparing to force pupation. I cut the bottom out of the top drawer and made sure that there was atleast an inch or so left to hot glue in a wire screen around the whole inner edge. What happens is when the beatles in the top drawer mate and lay their eggs when they hatch are so small they fall through the wire screen and ensure survivability. Without the screen you run a risk of the beetles cannibalizing their young. Its pretty much self explanatory but you need to draw out where you are going to cut out the bottom of the drawer, cut it with the exacto, take the wire screen and hold it over the opening, mark it, and then cut that with some clippers or heavy duty scissors. Then, you glue it in on the inside and make sure it holds well because you wouldnt want it to have any weak spots or the whole thing could fall through. This is my top drawer and a shot of the screen underneath.


The second drawer where all the babies fall.

And the third.


Taking care of both the beetles and the mealworms is simple. The bedding is oatmeal(preferably old fashioned because there are no additives that could harm your mealworms or beetles), which they also eat. I know for a fact that they can live on that only but i give them a lot of carrots mainly to distinguish feces and possible eggs because the feces stays orange that way. Any sort of vegetable or fruit variety works from what i understand and im pretty sure they arent all that picky. I make sure that the beetles always have something besides just their oatmeal because they need it more then the mealworms unless you are gutloading the mealworms. All in all, mealworms dont really need anything special, but its nice to give them something new every so often. Beetles however, need a little bit more then the mealworms when it come to veggies and fruit because the healthier they are, the better the possible outcome. The female darkling beetle can lay up to 500 eggs when in a good healthy state. WOW!!!

The worst things you could run into while running your mealworm farm would be mold and mites/parasites. You could get mold by leaving dead mealworms and beetles(which i highly recommend removing them, duh) or setting the fruits or veggies directly onto the oatmeal. Just set a small piece of cardboard onto the oatmeal and put your extra goodies on top of the cardboard to avoid mold completely. Avoiding mites/parasites is a simple procedure, just DONT BRING ANYTHING FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD INTO YOUR FARM, EVER. I cannot stress this enough! I do not know any way to remove them from your farm besides toss the whole project, which is a total loss.

Anyways, one thing that most people ive noticed arent sure about is getting them to pupate. The mealworms will pupate in a communal setting, but its not all that common, which is lame. If you want to run a good flowing colony you need to force them to pupate. The best way I have found to go about doing this is by getting a tackle box with interchangeable sliders like this one.


Set it up so that you have the most compartments possiblle with your sliders and put one mealworm in each like i have. in about 11 to 13 days they should curl up like this...

and then pupate to this alien looking thing.


If they start to turn a really dark brown to black, they have died. The process is pretty much starvation. I know it sounds horrible but when they are seperated and they start to starve it forces them to pupate. Just a tip here, i know that some people will take multiple pupae and house them all together but i advise against that because the first beetles to arrive could possibly eat the other pupae. Its best to wait untill they finally become beetles to put them into the top drawer. In about 20-25 days after seperation they should become beetles and are ready to rejoin the colony. The beetles only live about 3-4 weeks.

A happy and healthy mealworm.


After a while you should have a decent colony going that will only expand from there. I use them to feed my scorps and I plan to sell them to people that I have sold my scorps to if they would like to feed them mealworms. I liked this because no matter what i will have food for my scorps and it saves trips to the pet store. If you have any questions please ask. Very Happy
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H. laoticus
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   8/26/2010, 5:11 am

Excellent write-up Gimmexdatxbrain!
Glad to have you on the team and sharing your wealth of knowledge on these buggers Smile
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Gimmexdatxbrain
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   8/26/2010, 9:07 pm

Oh yeah its no problem, I was lookin around and happen to find that you guys needed this info. Thanks for making me feel at home! Very Happy
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venomshock
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   9/2/2010, 3:06 am

enlightening read
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iitomodachi1
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   9/3/2010, 8:36 pm

Sorry if this is stupid question but do you have to worry about the darkling beetles climbing out or can they not climb on smooth surfaces?

Also on a side note, I found a ground beetle larvae and I had no idea what it was so I kept it to try and figure it out. I learned what it was and thought I'd see if I could get it to pupate. Do you think it would be a safe assumption that starvation would force him to pupate? I don't really want to kill him, but thought it would be cool to watch the life cycle, especially to my 4 year old!

Really nice write up, I don't feed anything meal worms but I'm tempted on starting one just for the experience, it would be pretty cool to a 4 year old Very Happy
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DLP
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   9/4/2010, 12:05 am

nice zophobas morio AKA supwrworms setup you got going man, and thanks for the good read..
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iitomodachi1
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   9/5/2010, 2:46 pm

Just wanted to add a couple general things that may make the preparation of this a little easier, will also help creating lids on other sterilite containers for roach colonies, slings or whatever.

Also grab a metal ruler; use the ruler to not only make your measurements but as a guide for your cutting. Having done a lot of stuff like this and out right worked as a carpenter for years I've messed up a few times thinking that I don't need to do these two things. If you cut too hard right away you could shatter your sterilite, more importantly it would be very easy for the knife to catch and come loose. That stuff happens quick and very easily if not careful, trust me I have severed a nerve in my wrist doing something very similar. So use the ruler as a guide and also make many lighter cuts rather than pressing hard, take your time it will go through and make a straight clean line when your done.

I just did this same set up for my son, thanks for the tutorial by the way Gimmexdatxbrain! For other lids I use the cut out piece as a template for my screen, I trace it with the permanent marker and it allows for a perfect cut out. For this as you are placing the screen on the inside, I used the actual drawer as a template for 3 sides and made a guesstimated straight line for the front. I then cut the inside of the line and the screen fit nicely so I could run my glue in the corners of the bottom of the drawer keeping things nice and clean.

I'm sure a lot of this is common knowledge but I felt the need to share as like I have said I have wasted a few containers being hasty as well as taken some damage from utility knives and the like. I hope this adds a little value to this already stellar right up!!
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Gimmexdatxbrain
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   9/29/2010, 9:46 pm

sorry about no reply for a while, ive been busy lately with two jobs.

well, the darkling beetle can actually fly out but if they have plenty of food they wont want to. Ive been running this setup for a while and have never had any escapees. just throwing it out there i count them so i can categorize death and new additions and such.

oh and as for the ground beetle larvae, im not so sure about starving it so do take your time and research. wouldnt want to unnecessarily kill something.

when it comes to feeding them mealworms it shouldnt be an every meal type of thing due to their high fat content and low protein value, more like a treat. Very Happy
i switch between the occasional crickets and mealworms and once a month a small mouse. its also probably a good idea to give them more mealworms then normal when you have a gravid scorp becuase when one animal eats another animal with a high fat content it gains the fat and in turn becomes energy. the main reason a scorp might eat their young is lack of energy from the birthing process, either that or stress. im no expert but it seems to be like that in most cases.

you should take pics iitomodachi1, i wouldnt mind checking out what you have done with your sons mealworm setup.

thanks for reading my write up and making me feel welcome everyone!
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iitomodachi1
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   10/3/2010, 9:39 pm

Hey Bro, this is my first attempt at doing pics this way. I am on a couple of forums now and am trying to find the best way to post pics. I have set up a flickr account so check the link for the pics.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/iitomodachi1/sets/72157625089118850/

Gimmexdatxbrain wrote:
Oh and as for the ground beetle larvae, im not so sure about starving it so do take your time and research. wouldnt want to unnecessarily kill something.

Oops Smile it died. Well, I surely didn't do it intentionally and I will not try starvation again if I find one.

Thanks for the follow up answers.

Have you tried Super worms? This is actually what I did so it is a bit of a morph project I guess. I have read that the beetles are a type of darkling beetle. I guess we'll see how this works and if everything dies out I'll try that actual meal worms.

Please also let me know if anyone has problems with the link.
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DLP
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PostSubject: Re: Mealworm farm D.I.Y.   10/4/2010, 12:32 am

i think i have misunderstood something in the posts above lol so i will ask.
hay Gimmexdatxbrain i am into Beatles so what species of Mealworms do you have going man? just asking because i have raised like 3 different types of Mealworms and i have never had to force any of them to pupate...

@ iitomodachi1,
hay bro,
the only Beatles i have ever had to force to pupate was zophobas morio AKA supwrworms... thanks man
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