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MealWorms for Beginners

Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, a species of darkling beetle. They go through four life stages: egg, worm, pupa, and beetle. Worms typically measure about 2.5 cm or more, whereas beetles are generally between 1.25 and 1.8 cm in length.

So, they can be fed to reptiles, poultry, birds, rodents and lots of other kinds of pets. They are not hard to keep and breed. I would like to start by saying most of this is all personal choice. There is no right or wrong way to do it, if it works for you, go with it. But I have learned a lot of what I know on websites and YouTube, both are excellent ways to learn about keeping mealworms. The first thing you need is a smooth sided plastic container or even a fish tank. Most people say to get one of those drawer systems.

I personally like the single type of containers. Dish pans from the Dollar Tree or even kitty litter pans. Mealworms do not climb much or fly, so they don't need a top of them, unless you want to stack them. That is up to you. Once you decide, make sure if you do use lids, to put air holes in them, for air and for humidity. I used a metal hanger and a heat source to just poke holes in to the plastic.

I put holes in the sides and in the tops, just so they have plenty of air. For the drawer system, you may just need to leave the drawers open a little bit for air. Once you have gotten your container, you will now have to choose a bedding/substrate. Mealworms eat their bedding, the beetles lay eggs in it, so it needs to be some sort of grain. You can use many different kinds of grain beddings. The most popular ones.

Rolled oats, either the quick or old fashioned, the difference is the size of the oats. Wheat bran is very cheap at most feed stores. Even cereal, ran through a food processor can be a great beddings. Some other popular grain items would be cornmeal (not mix), chicken starter, or any mixture of these would be fine for all life stages of the meal worm. Try them out, see which you would rather use and stick with it. So now we have our container, and our bedding. Now we need some mealworms! You can buy them from a friend, from a pet store, from a mealworm company like Rainbow Mealworms. It is up to you. Now you can buy the starter kit from Northeastworms

Now you will add 1-2 inches of bedding to your container. I use a little deeper for beetles, just because they like to dig into the bedding.