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Farming Mealworms

72415 Views 163 Replies 61 Participants Last post by  Draenog
Farming mealworms yourself has several advantages over buying them at a pet store. You always have mealies on hand so you don't need to spend time and money making trips to the pet store. You also control what the mealies eat thereby producing healthier mealies for your hedgie.
Here are some links on how to raise mealworms.
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It would be great to give my little girl some fresh mealworms or beetles, but I'm to squeamish!! :oops:
the worse part about farming mealies is touching the Aliens.. they are CREEPY little things, i guess thats why they call them aliens.. they basically look like something from the movie ALIEN, and they dont move at all untill you touch them> if you touch them, or pick them up with tweezers, they TWITCH and its really gross..

otherwise, farming mealies isnt TOO bad. I used to farm mine, but i realized it actually was more work than it was worth.. ESPECIALLY with grubco and wormman selling worms at a really good price.
I just picked up a large container of mealworms, eggs, etc. from my breeder (she had plenty on hand). I'd been farming SuperWorms, but something went wrong and we lost the last of our colony. I also failed to take out the worms to "stress" them into beetle form. So I've decided to try mealworms. Not sure how different it is from the SuperWorms, so I need to read up on how to grow and maintain a colony of mealworms. I know the worms are vastly different.
mealies are actually VERY easy. Keep them in a warm dark place. and you will basically need two (or three) containers. Put your mealies in one container, and as they turn to aliens, you take them out and put them in their own container.. THEN you can have a third container for when the aliens turn to beetles.. Then, when you start to see the TINY little baby mealies, you can take all of the beetles out and put them in the container the mealworms USED to be in and just keep moving them around like that.. this way the beetles won't eat the aliens or the baby worms.

Also, i used the little green jelly cubes to feed them. You can also put a slice of apple in the container.. you want SOME moisture, but not too much, because you dont NOT want mold.

Otherwise, everything works on its own. The warmer they are, the faster they reproduce, but also, the more likely you are to get mold.

We just kept ours in a drawer
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The pupae are disgusting, and they DO twitch! Euuchh. Geee-rosss. I'll leave em be til they're beetles, then Inky can snack on them. :lol:
You CAN feed the aliens too.. they are just really nasty to touch.. I did find that my gliders LOVED the aliens though.. they were extra gooey inside.
I might feed them except I tell myself Inky will be afraid of them too! :lol: That would never happen. I'm just afraid to touch them... :roll:
Apparantly farming mealworms is identical to farming superworms. With the exception of the morphing process. Superworms must be isolated and "stressed" for them to morph. If they are kept in a colony, they stimulate each other and will not morph. Other than that, everything else seems to be the same. I usually feed them a mix of oatmeal flakes, grits, bran, etc. and sprinkle food with calcium to help gut feed them.
yea.. thats why i think they are easier.. you really CAN just leave them in one container and still end up with some decent mealies.. but three containers works the best.
I am pretty freaked out to touch the worms let alone any other of their stages..I use tweezers. I just started a small farm of mealies today! :D
I used an old glass canning jar, filled it half way with bran (I only did half so its easier to get the wormies out for hedgie lunch, and when i get them from the pet store they're in a little tub with some bran already) and drilled SMALL holes, and keep it out of direct sunlight. *I like a lot of small air holes as oposed to less larger holes haha I'm not as worried that they'll escape then. I have yet to find a stationary warm place in my house haha I've been too busy watching the worms through the glass jar!! Its sort of like an ant farm...I never had one of those but it is really quite neat. I feed them by using a potatoe peeler on a carrot. I take one shred for the size of my jar and break it in little pieces with my fingers. Then its just a matter of dropping the little carrot bits in the jar and putting on the lid. And then watch! lol sounds icky but it really is pretty neat to watch them crawl up to eat...kinda creepy though, they really attack the carrot! Like little wormie wolves. And I do not put water in as its self. I've read that you can put drops of water in using an eye dropper, but they didnt take well to it at all. Then again my farm is only a ar or two big. My goal is to get the occasional beetle.
This summer luna and I were in the garden, and she caught herself a black beetle. I know, thats not good, wild bugs are not necessarily safe what with pesticides etc, but have you ever tried to get a beetle out of a hedgies mouth? Not as easy as one would think.

I myself dont like superworms...they scare me :? . I went to ask about them, and the lady said not to get them if we have a long drive home as they will eat out of the bag, then the box, and then the store bag...And they bite. haha I know, I know, a lot of hedgies favorite bugs bite...but they're really big, and bite, I'm a chicken.

I was reading the first few posts, about feeding the farmed mealies to be more benifical/healthy treats for hedgies. What sort of foods would give the mealies more nutritional value? Like I said, I use carrots.
Any suggestions, ideas, more info stuff like that?
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Adding a small amount of golden milled flaxseed to the mealie substrate is a good idea. However it is very oily and too much will cause the substrate to contain too much moisture. It is also VERY expensive compared to wheat and oat bran so a little goes a long way. I also add a few kibbles of Wellness Indoor Health formula dry cat food to my mealie beds. It is a good protein, vitamin, mineral source. I also place bird type cuttle bones in the mealie beds as a source of calcium. Hedgies don't require calcium the way reptiles do and too much can lead to kidney stones. I feed a good mix of high quality cat foods and that contains enough calcium for my hedgies. The mealies need the calcium to create their exoskeleton so I add a cuttle bone for just this reason. And if you do this you don't need to "gut load" the mealies calcium later unless you are also feeding reptiles.
Alright, I'll check in to the flaxseed! Thanks! I dont have the same brand of cat food but my hedgie is on another recomended brand, I'll put a couple kibbles in and see if they're gone tomorrow. They're really eat the cuttle bone? Thats interesting and icky bug scary :lol: I'm still getting used to the creepy crawlies, but luna loves em so eh I tough it out.
Also, I was wondering if the alien pupae stage the go in to - do they do that in the bran, or do they come up to the surface to do the cocoon..metamorphose alien thing? I'm watching mine right now through the glass and they seem a little sluggish. Should I put them in a warmer spot, or have I fed them too much?
OK, so its been two days since they've become sluggish. I put a few of Lunas kibble bits in and they're still sitting there, as well as little pieces of carrots I put in there a day or so ago. They're not eating any more, and they're not even crawling around. I sifted through to make sure they didnt go to worm heaven. They're still alive, but arent worming their way around any more, when I did find some worms they moved almost lik they were in slow motion.
I'm worried if the worms are sick, should I really still be giving them to luna?
And if they're not sick, whats going on? They aren't in their alien stage yet I know that.
What is the room temperature ?
Its roughyl 20 -25 * celcius, and 45 -50 * faranheit. We have a wood burning stove in the basement, which is keeping a fire right now. Should I move them to the basement near the fire for more warmth?
Yes they need to be around 72 F.
Wheph, Thanks!! :p I was worried I'd have to start all over again.
Reaper, do you put whole kibbles in there or do you crush them up? I just started farming some mealworms a couple days ago too. I just put them in a tall coffee mug with rolled oats and 2 pieces of celery for moisture, then put plastic wrap over the top with holes punched in it. Not very professional, I know, but I only have around 50 mealworms so I don't think I need a great big container until I have a lot more. And by flaxseed, do you mean flaxseed oil? the kind that comes in capsules that you can put on hedgehog food?
Alicat, I also use a tweezers to pick them up :lol:
No it is milled golden flaxseed meal. Looks like wheat bran or oat bran. I find it at Kroger's in the organic section. Yes I put whole kibbles in there.
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