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.