DIY Mealworm Farming
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Ever wonder about cultivating your own mealworms? Our very own Jess N. created a tutorial on how easy mealworm farming is! Here is what you will need to start your very own mealworm farm.
To start your mealworm farm you will need the following supplies:
- 2 containers with drawers
- Small hole plastic canvas
- Plastic tote
- Old fashioned oats
- Mealworm food (apples, carrots, potatoes)
To set up your mealworm farm you will need 2 sets of plastic drawers, with each set having 3 drawers each. You will want to cut the bottom out of 2 drawers and replace them with a small hole plastic canvas. The 2 sets of drawers once set up, will be placed into a larger tote, with a towel placed on top for extra warmth. To help your mealworms thrive place them in a temperature-controlled area between 60-70 degrees, and avoid raising them outside or in a garage that is cooler.
Refer to the following photos for the specific function of each drawer:
Tips & Additional Information:
- Cut out 5 additional small hole plastic canvas sheets to place on top of drawers 1-5. This will help prevent the mealworms from escaping the drawers.
- Carrots are often the preferred source of food, as apples and potato peelings can mold faster.
- After the mealworms change to pupas you will move the pupas to the beetles’ drawer where they will turn into darkling beetles within a 1-3 week span.
- The mealworm eggs in the egg drawer can take 1-4 weeks to hatch.
- To help keep your mealworms nice and healthy, be sure to clean your mealworm farm about every 2 weeks.
- If you are going to do this on your own, be sure to give yourself a few months to get fully established. It will take on average 2 months for a fully functioning farm. Once you get through one cycle you can start giving mealworms to your chickens. You want to use the largest mealworms and allow half of the drawer to develop into pupa (beetles) and the other half you can give to your chickens as a treat!
Raising mealworms is such a wonderfully interesting adventure! You will have some trial and error, but once you get established they are extremely easy to take care of and your chickens will be very grateful for their yummy treats. Take a look at Jessica’s video below to see the process in action!
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Where is the best place to find mealworms?
Hi Amanda. You may try contacting a local bait shop or pet store to find live mealworms. Many reptiles, amphibians and fish eat them and pet owners buy them live.
This is the easiest setup and clearest explanation I’ve seen. Thank you!
Hi there, I’ve been breeding mealworms for a few months now and not getting to far, I started off with them in a room in the house but moved them to my shed because every time I went near the boxes I bread them in I was getting the small eggs crawling over me plus they crawled out onto the units (crawling out a large plastic box with lid & breathing holes they were in) how do you stop them getting out? Do you put any veg into the eggs drawer or is it just food? Thank you
Hi June. Thank you for reading our blog and for your question. You may try installing window screening to any holes or open tops where the pupae may be able to escape. Adding vegetable scraps to the mealworm containers will likely draw fruitflies and other pests that you do not want in your mealworm farm.
What type of small hole plastic canvas did you use? The link no longer works. Thanks!
Hi Cortney. Thank you for letting us know about the broken link. I’ve updated it for you. The plastic canvas needed is a 10-count, meaning there are 10 holes per inch. If you use this link you’ll get the right amount you need at the best price I found on Amazon. Thanks!
With the setup you have shown, how many mealworms should I order to start?
Hi Jan. Thank you for reading the blog and for your question. A 1000-count package of live mealworms will be a good amount for this setup.
I read that the beetles and the mealworm will eat the pupa. Is this right? Wondering why i would put the pupa in with the beetles.
Hi Lori. Thank you for reading the Meyer Hatcher blog and for your question. The adult darling beetles may eat the pupa if there is not enough other food sources, but as long as your colony is fed, this shouldn’t be much of an issue for you.
This looked like a neat idea to me and I’m about 4 weeks in….and having almost success. The plastic canvas is a great idea, but those beatles and larvae will find a way to get under it and into the chamber below. Tonight, I hot glued the canvas to the bottom and so far it has prevented their escape. I’m not sure the eggs are actually getting past the beatle container into the awaiting corn meal bin below, so I stay vigilant for any baby larvae that might develop with the beatles so I can move them manually. Maybe if my beatles stay put this operation will be successful. It’s a nice hobby so far.