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Mealworm substrate  RSS feed

 
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Hi all,
So after watching lots of videos on YouTube, I learned that wheat bran might be the best bedding for mealworms. And I literally drove to some of the nearest feed stores and it turned out that none of them had wheat bran.

So I’m thinking if it’s okay to use whole oats. I tried to find if they had rolled oats and they didn’t have that neither. The closest thing they have is whole oat. And I don’t like to pay $30 shipping fee to buy a $15 bag of wheat bran online. So please help. I live in south bend, IN. If there are any one who happen to know where I can get wheat bran near it, I’d really also appreciate that. Thanks!!

Johnny
 
Posts: 127
Location: SW Ohio
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How much do you need? I raised my mealworms on oatmeal from the grocery store. I just had a small box (about the size of a shoebox, but plastic.)
It would be nice to source some that is free of pesticides and diatomaceous earth... never realized that might be part of the mix til I read about it here. Eventually they got infested with some kind of moth and I fed the worms and beetles to my birds. :/
 
Posts: 60
Location: 4b
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I raise meal worms and in my experience, their health and the health of the creatures that eat them is very much dependent on their diet.  I have raised meal worms on wheat bran exclusively, and on other diets, and I have no doubt that they are much healthier on a better diet.  My animals that eat them are also much healthier since the meal worm diet change.  So here it is, exclusively for permies readers :)  My secret meal worm diet:

2 parts high quality dog food
1 part chicken layer food
1 part alfalfa pellets

Grind the ingredients up very fine in a blender.  You either need an old blender you don't care much about, or a very good blender like the Ninja Blender.  This stuff is pretty hard to grind.  If you have some other kind of hand-grinder, it may work better, but I haven't tried it yet.  If you use chicken food in crumble form, that makes it somewhat easier.

All of these ingredients are easy to find locally for most people, provide great nutrition for your meal worms, and are very inexpensive considering the benefits.  If you spend a half hour making their food/substrate mix, you won't have to do it more than once a month or less often, so it's a very small time investment.  Since I have dogs, I have fresh dog food available all the time. I also have chickens, but I don't feed crumbles, so I buy a bag of that and a bag of alfalfa pellets.  A bag of each lasts a very long time and meal worms don't eat a tremendous amount.  I also supplement their diet with small amounts of vegetables, cereal, greens, any kind of table scraps.  Give only small amounts and remove whatever they don't eat so it doesn't go bad in the meal worm bin.  Meal worms are very simple to raise and care for. 

If you have any questions about raising these guys, I'm happy to answer, but as I said, it's very simple.
 
Sarah Koster
Posts: 127
Location: SW Ohio
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Trace, do you have a way of excluding eggs and baby mealworms from the beetles and larger mealworms? I was probably just a terrible caretaker for this, but I would sometimes forget to give my worms fresh vegetable for water and they'd take to cannibalism, especially of pupas. I also had a problem where there'd be dark spots on some of the pupae, and if they lived those beetles had deformities where the spots had been. I was kind of disgusted with myself after the last brood so it's been a few years since I raised them, but I'd like to try again if I can do so without making my mealworms sick. I think if I used mesh on the lids instead of just holes, isolated pupae til they became beetles and put beetles in fresh subtrate/container to lay eggs, and was more diligent to change the moisture-source vegetable I'd have a lot less problems.
 
Trace Oswald
Posts: 60
Location: 4b
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Sarah Koster wrote:Trace, do you have a way of excluding eggs and baby mealworms from the beetles and larger mealworms? I was probably just a terrible caretaker for this, but I would sometimes forget to give my worms fresh vegetable for water and they'd take to cannibalism, especially of pupas. I also had a problem where there'd be dark spots on some of the pupae, and if they lived those beetles had deformities where the spots had been. I was kind of disgusted with myself after the last brood so it's been a few years since I raised them, but I'd like to try again if I can do so without making my mealworms sick. I think if I used mesh on the lids instead of just holes, isolated pupae til they became beetles and put beetles in fresh subtrate/container to lay eggs, and was more diligent to change the moisture-source vegetable I'd have a lot less problems.



Hi Sarah.  I haven't ever heard of the dark spot thing.  I make sure I keep water crystals for my meal worms.  It's a lot easier than relying on giving them vegetables for water.  I have used small cans like cat food cans nestled into the substrate for water.  I fill the can with cotton balls or the like so they don't drown, but the water crystals are just much easier.  I put a paper towel on top of the substrate and make a thin layer of water crystals on it.  You'll know if the bin is too damp if you get any kind of bad smell.  Meal worms shouldn't smell at all.  The only thing you should smell is their food.

As far as excluding beetles, I generally don't.  I only separate anything if the bin gets too crowded.  I haven't observed problems of any kind as long as the moisture is controlled and they have plenty of food and room.  If the bin does get crowded, I either feed a bunch of the meal worms to the chickens to get the numbers back down, or I start a new bin.  If I start a new bin, I just fill it with substrate (food) and dump half of the first bin in, and then add more food to the first bin.  If I get more bins than I want, I take my oldest one and dump it out near the chickens.
 
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