Do you have a worm bin? If so, you may be wondering about mealworm care. Here's what you need to know!
Mealworms are primarily used as fishing bait and chicken feed, but they can also be a practical addition to your worm farm. Mealworms are not as hardy as red wigglers or earthworms, so their needs differ from those of other types of worms. They require warmer weather than most other types of worms and should be fed twice per day with food like fruit, vegetables (no onions), bread, cereals, cookies, etc., while avoiding nuts and citrus fruits containing toxic substances that kill the worms. It is essential to keep them in airtight containers because they increase and escape in the open air.
Mealworms are not suitable for beginners because they have specific needs, but if you're up to the challenge, SimpleGrowSoil.com says, give them a try!
Benefits of mealworms:
They can reproduce quickly and produce an extremely high number of eggs. They also do well on food scraps like cheese or bread, which can save you money.
They are easy to keep and will thrive on a kitchen counter or in an enclosed space like a jar, making them perfect for small apartments. They're also cheaper than other types of worms because they require little equipment, and their unique needs are simple. Also, if you do not know how much to use for your soil, we have a whole guide right here.
Mealworm care tips:
- Store in airtight containers
- Give them their food sources like cheese, bread, or other scraps (not just kitchen scraps)
- Keep them on a countertop for easy access or in an enclosed space such as a jar.
You can also give mealworms away to your friends and family! They're great gifts because they're inexpensive and easy to keep but still give the recipient a sense of accomplishment by seeing them grow.
Now that you know more about mealworm care, find some!
- Mealworms are high in protein, and kids love watching their numbers expand. It's a good way for young ones to learn where food comes from while providing educational opportunities.
- Mealworms are a low-calorie food that can help people get back on track with their diet.
- They're also suitable for gardens because they eat vegetable scraps and leftover produce, which helps reduce waste.
How to use mealworms in a worm bin for composting?
- Mealworms are a good meal for worm bins because they produce less waste than other types of worms. The hardest part about using them in your worm bin is feeding them enough food so that they can grow to their full potential!
Benefits of using mealworms in a worm bin:
They will eat leftovers and vegetable scraps from the kitchen to reduce food waste that would otherwise be thrown away.
Mealworms will also eat coffee and tea grounds, containing many of the same nutrients as plants!
Mealworm castings for plants and gardens:
Mealworm castings are rich in nitrogen and make a good fertilizer for plants.
They are also high in phosphates, which stimulates plant root growth.
Mealworm castings can be used as an additive to potting soil, or you can mix them with other types of fertilizers when planting flowers, vegetables, or fruit trees.
The lifecycle of a mealworm:
Mealworms live in the dark, moist environment of a worm bin.
The molting process is exciting to witness: after they shed their skin during molting, mealworms will fill up with new layers of fat and grow in size.
Adult worms are typically referred to as beetles or grubs; they eat food that falls through the worm bin and excretes worm castings.
Mealworms will usually live for about six months.
Mealworm safety precautions:
The most crucial mealworm care is to keep them away from any pets or children.
Be sure not to touch the worm castings because they are poisonous and can cause skin irritation in humans (don't worry, it only lasts a few seconds).
It also might be a good idea to wear gloves when you handle the worms because they will release a lot of liquid when held.
Additional mealworm benefits for the worm bin:
A worm bin with mealworms is more valuable than one without them since the adult beetles eat food that would otherwise be wasted! They also help balance out what you're composting and create rich fertilizer for your garden or tree seedlings.
Mealworms are a rare worm because they benefit from being kept inside the home as they can control pests like cockroaches and mice.
The Mealworm eggs and birth:
-Roughly every three months, a female will produce 500 eggs.
-When the mealworms are first born, they're very tiny and dark in color.
-Mealworms overgrow with their molting cycle alternating between light and dark colors as well as arm length.
-The molting process is necessary for the worm to grow larger and replenish its skin.
-Mealworms can live up to four years.
-At certain times, they will produce cocoons that need room on top of the bedding while still being in a moist environment. This prepares them for their metamorphosis into pupae and eventually adult beetles.
-Pupae will then emerge from the cocoon as adults after a few weeks to start their cycle again.
What do mealworms eat?
-Mealworm bedding should be kept moist but not wet, leading to chafing of skin on the worm.
-Mealworms can eat various foods such as boiled eggs, vegetables, dairy products, and bread.
What type of weather is best for mealworms?
-Mealworm farmers should always keep track of the temperature to ensure that it stays at a comfortable level. If too hot or cold, they will not eat or breed.
-Mealworms will not eat if the temperature is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and they should be kept away from direct sunlight for most of the day to deter them from coming out of their cocoons too early.
Although mealworms are one of the more complicated worms to care for in a worm bin, they have many beneficial features. Mealworms can handle a much wider variety of food scraps than worms like the red wiggler or nightcrawler. In return, you can have greater use for food scraps that otherwise would go to waste. Mealworms reproduce quickly and have a relatively short lifespan. Once they have reached the adult stage, they tend to have a voracious appetite and can be fed food scraps, often sometimes even daily.