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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys I posted on here before about the benefits of eating mealworms etc etc etc. I recently decided to breed mealworms for my Leopard Gecko's and my bearded dragon.

I got tired of paying 7 bucks at petco for 50 mealworms and from what I read online it was easy enough to do for yourself.

So I bought 50 mealworms ( more like 30 in the container from petco ) and started my colony.

SO the benefits would be if you dont want to eat them which you can in fact but if you dont have the stomach you can still raise them to feed birds or reptiles. Rats and sugar gliders also eat them too. One benefit would be that if you had a colony and fed birds daily or weekly you could keep the birds coming back and if you needed to you could kill the birds when they land to eat the mealworms or even attract rats if you needed some quick food. I will tell you this Blue Jays and Robins LOVE mealworms and they are pretty good sized birds.


ALSO CHICKENS REALLY LIKE THE WORMS AND BEETLES, THEY ARE A GREAT SOURCE OF PROTEIN AND IF YOU HAVE A BIG ENOUGH COLONY IT IS A GREAT SOURCE OF FOOD FOR THE CHICKENS WITHOUT ALL THE STEROIDS AND ADDITIVES THAT ARE PUT IN CHICKEN FOOD.


Here is what you need to start your own for eating, feeding birds, feeding reptiles etc etc etc.


Mealworms ( of course )
A plastic container with plenty of ventilation.
Bran Flakes or Corn Meal for bedding which they also eat.
and half a potato or carrot which is where they get they're water.

To start you just put the bran or corn meal in the plastic container and add the mealworms and half a potato or carrot. I also put powdered cricket food and calcium dust with D3 which is more for the reptiles than the worms but it did seem to make them grow faster.

The mealworms will shed they're exoskeleton many time over they're lives and you will see it in the bedding. They pretty much stay hidden under the bedding. After about 2-6 weeks you will see a small alien type thing in the bedding which is a pupa. Put the pupa in another plastic container because the worms will eat it. Check on the colony every couple days and give them a fresh carrot or half potato for water and separate any additional pupa to the pupa container.

In about 2 weeks the pupa becomes a small white beetle which in a couple hours will turn into a black beetle. The beetles can fly but seldom do when they have food and water. They also bite and pretty hard actually so dont play with them. lol

If you have male and female bugs they will of course breed and she will lay the eggs deep into the bedding or sometimes on the potato.

I do not know exact time the eggs take to hatch as you cant see the eggs because they are too small. I generally start seeing TINY worms in about a month from the time the beetles get out of pupation and the worms grow fairly quick if they are kept warm with plenty of potato or carrot for water.

After that initial breeding and birth the colony gets bigger by the day and you will get beetles faster, im pretty sure it is because the pet stores keep the worms in the fridge which drastically slows down the worms growth and puts them in a kind of hibernation.

At any time if you are over run by worms and you want to slow the colony just put them in the fridge and it will slow them down.

I will try to get some pictures for you guys tonight of my colony and if you have any questions let me know.


Here is a picture of the Mealworms ( Darken Beetle ) life cycle

 

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I raised mealworms for a bird and squirrel (the squirrel absolutely loved them.) But, had to keep a screen on the bucket or the adults would roam.

For human consumption one would require a lot of them, and a steady source of brand and or flour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yeah if you would need enough to survive on it would take ALOT of mealworms. I personally would probably not eat them unless I was starving but I definitely would use them to bait critters for food.

I did not know squirrels at them and that is yet another reason to keep them. You can dry them out in the oven or even outside in warm temps to feed them to birds and stuff.

I have a friend that feeds about 500-1000 to his chickens per day, he has about 200 chickens so I dont know how many they actually eat but they are a good source of protein none the less
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh and yeah the screen on top is a great idea, I actually use the little plastic critter cages and sometimes I use the little shoe box sized rubbermaid containers and cut most of the top of the lid away and replace it with screen wire which I use hot glue to secure
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mealworm Chocolate Chip Cookies

* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 cup all purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 cup oats
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips
* 1/4 cup mealworm flour

Cream butter well, then mix in sugar, egg, vanilla flour, salt, baking soda, chocolate chips, oats, and mealworm flour. Drop batter by the teaspoonful on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees farenheit. This recipe doesn't have much in the way of palpable insect content, but is an excellent way to introduce others (or yourself!) to entomophagy. Even many rather squeamish people will try mealworm cookies, since the cookie format doesn't look "gross" to most people, and since it is rather difficult to actually taste the mealworms, though they enrich the cookie with a somewhat nutty flavor and extra protein.

To make insect flour:

Spread your cleaned insects out on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Set your oven 200 degrees and dry insects for approximately 1-3 hours. When the insects are done, they should be fairly brittle and crush easily. Take your dried insects and put them into a blender or coffee grinder, and grind them till they are about consistency of wheat germ. Use in practically any recipe! Try sprinkling insect flour on salads, add it to soups, your favorite bread recipe, on a boat, with a goat, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also I forgot to mention that Mealworms are a GREAT fish bait. I have enough to fish all summer and then some and after your inititial 10 or 12 bucks for the breeders and bran you will have an unlimited supply of mealies
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh and most importantly

DO NOT AND I MEAN DO NOT STORE YOUR MEALWORM COLONY WITH YOUR FOOD SUPPLY, IF THE BEETLES WERE TO GET LOOSE THEY COULD INFEST YOUR CORN, FLOUR, OATMEAL, OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF POWDERED FOOD OR GRAIN. YOU COULD PROBABLY STILL EAT IT WITH SOME ADDED PROTEIN FROM THE WORMS BUT TO BE SAFE STORE THEM AWAY FROM YOUR FOOD SUPPLY.
 

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I've been planning on buying some mealworms to give them a shot for my own consumption. Seems like they are cheap and have many benefits. My girlfriend is grossed out at the idea but I really want to try them in a stir fry or something like that. I figured they would come in handy in a survival situation because they are pretty easy to breed.
 

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Bugs in grain container

Okay, this might warrant a different thread but I figure that I'd put it here since we're talking about eating bugs. I just opened a small container of millet and there was some webbing and then the dead adult "bug" (not a beetle) -- what kind of bug is that? It has wings. Anyway, I'm not grossed out and I figure that it's okay to still eat the millet. What do you think? Am I wrong?
 
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