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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:57 pm 
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Champion Bird
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TookTook wrote:
HI Twitch

Basics are:
1. Buy a tub of mealworms, three plastic containers (refer Rachel's pics below for exampes) and some wheat bran, oats or oat bran for food, and bread, sweet potato or apple for moisture.
2. Place a layer of about 3-4 cm of bran/oats in one container. Add a piece of paper towel and place moisture source (apple etc as above) on it and then place mealies in the tub with the above ingredients added, andn cover with a tea towel or mesh to allow air in. Lids will make it go mouldy inside!

3. Store tub in a spot that is not too warm and not too cold - (Ithink most folk recommend 15-25 deg)
4.Provide new food source as needed (eg every few days new apple, or sweet potato or bread ) and remove anything that appears dried out or mouldy. Add more bran as the "frass"to bran ratio gets out of balance ie more "frass" (the fine grey powder which is the mealies waste)than bran means they have more waste than food available. (Note it is easier to see this if plastic containers are clear)
5. Wait several weeks to months and then one day you will see worms...! Be patient. It takes time.


i am building a bench outside for my mealworms, it is outside and next to the house, undercover.
just a qustion, how deep and wide should i get containers, and can i feed them lettuce for moisture??

When that happens you keep an eye out for beetles and pupae which you then separate into the two other plastic containers, set up just like you did the first. Perhaps come back here when that happens and we can walk you through the next steps.

Good luck :)



70%cocoa wrote:
Here is my mealworm setup - very low tech.

The mealworms all live in a cupboard in the house, along with the dog leads, poultry medication, vacuum cleaner and ironing board.

Image

The larger mealworms (ready for eating) live in this box. The orange stuff is sweet potato. There are bread slices in there too, pretty much all dried out. You can see the holes that they have eaten in the bread.

Image

These two boxes contain the beetles and pupae (the one on the left) and eggs/babies that have been sifted out of the beetles. Again, they have sweet potato and bread.

Image

When it's time to sift out the next lot of eggs/babies from the beetles, the young mealworms get put in the big box and the sifted eggs/babies get put in the box that the young mealworms were in, with new wheat bran. I find that the three boxes are plenty. I could get away with two (one for beetles and pupae and a second box for eggs/worms. Some people just use one box for the lot but I have found that the worms eat the pupae so I like to regularly remove them and put them in a box with the beetles. The beetles don't seem to eat the pupae. Now and then a pupa gets ahead of me and 'hatches' into a beetle in the big tub (you can see one in the big tub). So, in reality, they are kinda mixed up already.

I don't have any lids on the boxes. I find that the bran gets mouldy if I have lids. The worms tend to hide under the dried bread or potato and this makes them easy to catch when I want to give them to the chooks - I just lift up the bread and scoop them out, bran and all, with the metal measuring cup you can see in the top pic. I always serve them up to the chooks in this metal cup and the chooks recognise it - they love seeing their metal cup!! :D Makes putting the chooks away a breeze. I show them the cup and call them and go to their coop with them following me at top speed. I bang on the top of the coop with the cup and they go in the door. Once they are all in I tip out the mealworms into the coop. They don't get anything until they are all in. Banging on the coop with the cup is another way of calling them - they come running when they hear that sound.


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:57 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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Hi again Twitch71
The depth of the containers is really based on how often you want to replenish their food. The deeper the container the less often you have to add new bran.
I have not tried lettuce myself for moisture but I don't see why not
Cheers
TT


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:51 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Though I would add the contents of a PM reply to Twitch71 re. container number and size and the use of lettuce :_

Lettuce has a lot of moisture but might dry out a bit fast - what's good is something that has some moisture but go limp or won't shrivel up too quickly. Pieces of raw vegetable (e.g. carrots) or bread slices or bread hunks seem to work well (but you need to take them out before they become mouldy). Both the mealworms and the beetles need the same kind of food, but not the pupae.

You probably need four containers:

- one medium one for putting the bran containing the eggs in (that you take out of the beetles' container). Tiny mealworms will hatch in here and when they are big enough you put them in with the eating size mealworms
- one large one for eating size mealworms
- one small one for the pupae (they don't move or eat so don't need a lot of room)
- one medium one for beetles

By 'large' I mean something about 20cm deep and maybe 40cm wide and 40cm long. By small I mean 20cm deep but only 20cm wide and 20cm long. The medium one would be somewhere in the middle. Get ones with vertical sides so nothing can crawl out.

You might want to add containers at some stage for mealworms of different sizes. But 4 is plenty to start with. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:46 pm 
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Thanks Rach for the added detail! ;) We can always rely on our Virgo friends for pinpoint accuracy and comprehensiveness!


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:28 pm 
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i have just brought 2 containers 40cm wide, 28cm deep, 19ch high & 33ch wide, 22.5 deep and 15 cm high.
i have brought 2 of each,

wondering which ones are best for what, and if any ideas, what else to get??


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:08 pm 
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Those will be good :) Use the bigger ones for the 'bran with eggs' and also for the larger mealworms. Use the slightly smaller ones for the beetles and also the pupae.

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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:48 pm 
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i have seen a pitcure of life cycle of mealworms and wont to know what you do with the flying beetles, can you do anything to stop them from turning into flying beetles??

i what to feed the worms ( beetles ) to my girls, not so they can fly away from the girls.


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:29 pm 
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If you stop them turning into beetles then they won't lay any eggs and you won't get any new generations of mealworms coming on. The beetles are the 'adult' stage that lay the eggs :)

I personally have not found that my beetles can fly or get out of their container. The large ones that you have bought should be high sided enough to stop escapees. If you are worried about any flying then perhaps you could drape a tea towel over the top. That would still allow for ventilation. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:43 pm 
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yes i have printed all the info, so i can sit down and read up on every thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:42 am 
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Twitch71 has made a bench to house his mealworm operation and asked me to put up the pics. I think it looks great :)

Image

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:53 pm 
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I agree Rach - very impressive work.

But I am assuming the plastic lids won't stay atop the containers unless they have airholes punched in them?

...though perhaps it depends how filled the containers are as seriously how much air do mealworms need?


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:07 am 
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yes they will have air holes in lid, but how deep should i lay the bran down??


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:52 am 
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About 5cm would be enough :) If you lay an old tea towel over half the bran they'll hide under it (they seem to like hiding under things).

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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:17 pm 
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so lay the bran 5cm high in the container bottom, and lay tea towel on one side, is that right??


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 Post subject: Re: Meal Worms
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:12 pm 
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en breeding mealworms, do you have to let them turn them in flaying beetles to get eggs out of them or can you just let them turn into beetles and not get them at the flying stage??


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