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I am planning to start a meal worm colony, but before I pull the trigger my wife wants to know more about the beetles part of the equation. Do any of you have any experience with darkling beetles? Are they pests at any point? From what I've read, if you give them a food source they will stay put.

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They are simple!

cheapest oatmeal and carrots for moisture. 

the beetles cant crawl out of plastic bin, they mate like a brothel, die off after laying thousands of eggs, which turn into worms, they grow in same oatmeal, then turn into what we call aliens. which are pupae stage and then form beetles. 

the only thing i would do different is change the oatmeal after your worms hatch.  some of my second generation of aliens did not fully mature/morph due to what looks like meal powder or mold.

Thanks. I've been reading that wheat bran is also a good food source.

think cheapest grain. they don't care

I brew my own beer, so I have plenty of spent grain. I just need to figure out how to dry it.

Maybe in a cake pan in the oven on low heat. I tried feeding it to my red wiggers, but it doesn't work well in a worm bin.

I have meal worms on the go right now.
I keep them in a plastic shoe box type thing, I cut a hole in the lid and hot glued screen over the hole, never had any get out.
Food and bedding is wheat bran that I get at a bulk food store about an inch deep and some carrot.i like the carrot better than potato because I find potatoes get moldy faster. I also put an half egg cartin upside down in the enclosure, the worms like to hide under it and the bettles like climbing on it. I change the bedding when it's mostly all fine powder (there poop) a kitchen strainer works vary well for this, I only do that about twice a year.
I realy like watching the metamorphosis of the meal worm.
I have tried supper worms but are more difficult to raise and didn't have the time for them
Hope this helps you

Just curious, what do you do with meal worm?

BTW, did you check your inbox? I replied to your Q re. VB48 there.

Sue,

 

Mealworms are used to feed fish, chickens, reptiles, for fishing, for bird feeders, etc. They seem to out-multiply red wigglers too. There are bait companies that ship 150,000-200,000 per week.

I also think their development stages are fascinating.

It's a part of my nature to look for ways to make money without spending a lot of it on the front end. Meal worms seem to fit the bill the more I research them.

How does this compare to red wigglers?

20 beetles = approximately 350 adult mealworms in 200 days

I'm no mathematician, but I don't think it's even close :-) And they sell for about the same per 1,000 count. The drawback is that they are only in the larvae stage for 12 - 14 weeks. So give that advantage to the red wigglers.

I don't see it as a replacement to my vermicomposting, but as a supplement to it.

 

 

 

cant support those numbers because I never kept mine at optimum temp, but what I can tell ya there's a guy around here that sells them $1 for100 mealies, I've never talked to this seller so don't know how many a week he sells. I did here that some people will buy a larg quantity from a supplier then divide them up in smaller amounts then resell them for a bit higher price.

A dollar per 100 isn't bad if you have large #'s to work with. We're avid bird watchers too, so if they don't sell we'll just feed the birds in our backyard.

This year I'm going to use mine to try and attract bats. I've had a bat house up for two years now and nothing. Rumor has it that if you put gwano around the bat house that will attract them but where do ya get the bat poo. So I'll try the mealies- if the bats don't get them the birds will;)
How many we're you thinking to start with?
Are you planning to get some every few weeks so there not all pupating at the same time?

That's a good idea. It will also allow me to order from 3 different places. Grubco has good prices. I want to check out different marketing ideas too. I plan to start with 1,000 and add a 1,000 every 3 weeks.

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