Mealworm Condo

I have moved my mealworm population into its own condo, or maybe townhouse is a better word. 🙂

This is an organizing cart on wheels with 4 slide-out drawers. It stands about 3 feet high and each drawer is more than 3″ deep. We have had it for years in our school room with supplies in it. Well, the school room has been converted to a guest room now, and the supply organizer to a Mealworm Breeding Facility!

Shall we visit the different floors of the townhouse? The top floor (penthouse?) belongs to the larvae (mealworms)-

Their bedding is chicken crumbles and the object is a potato half which supplies their water. Most of the stuff visible on top are shed skins. Most of the larvae spend their time underneath.

Next comes the level of the darkling beetles. They are laying eggs in this bedding. The shelters are toilet paper rolls cut in half. Most of the beetles are under there now.

The next floor down is the nursery. This is where the pupae go to hatch into beetles. They don’t do much but lay there. There is some food and potato for when they emerge into beetle form.

AFTERNOTE: Don’t lay them on bare plastic like I did here. When they emerge as beetles they will be on their backs and they can’t flip themselves on the plastic. Make sure the whole surface is covered with bedding/feed.

The bottom floor is for supplies for now.

My previous posts on mealworms:

Mealworm Farming

Grubby Update

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11 Responses to Mealworm Condo

  1. Debbie says:

    Ummm – do they all know what floor they are supposed to be on? Also – how is it you do not have beetles in you house?

    • Julie Helms says:

      They can’t climb the sides at all! They also can’t fly. Makes them very convenient to keep in the house. Of course they know what floor they belong on–I Iabeled the buttons in the elevator for them. 😉

  2. Cylly says:

    Wow! Sweet penthouse! Quite an upgrade from their former “mobile homes.” Glad they’ve finally settled down. Can you name the bottom floor the janitor’s office?

  3. Kim says:

    But how do they move from one drawer to another? Do you do it? How do you know when to do it? Questions, woman, we have questions!!

    • Julie Helms says:

      Yes, I do it. The elevator is broken most days. 😉 I use a spoon, my fingers or a red plastic strainer (see photo) depending on the task. Either I move them when they begin to switch over to the next stage of life or when they need the potty cleaned.

  4. Laura says:

    Very fancy bug palace! Looks great.

  5. Trish says:

    Envious……………………I have a palace. Need bugs. I guess the pet store. What is the “meal”? Oatmeal?

  6. This is very creative and smart, Julie! At which form do you send them to the chickens, as beetles, or as the larvae worm? How many pounds of ‘feed’ do you produce doing this, and how long is the cycle?

    • Julie Helms says:

      A cycle is 4 months. In an ideal situation you would have a number of sets going simultaneously so that you could stagger them and would always have each stage, but I only have the one. So I freeze worms for future use when all I have is beetles to offer.
      I give them the largest worms just before they become pupae. Of course when I had little peeps last spring, it was nice because I could pick out a smaller size for them to start with. I am sure they would eat the beetles too but I haven’t done that.

      I have not done any measuring of food consumed vs. output. I just know they are a higher protein source than the chicken food I feed them is. They go through very little feed–maybe a quart of food for the four month cylcle for several thousand worms.

  7. glorylennon says:

    Super nifty…those chickens of yours are lucky indeed.

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