Mealworms colony

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
So I was cleaning a bit of the shed skin and some of dead beetles off the mealworms. I don't do a lot just some, but I was shifting through the oatmeal to see how the babies were doing and I am like O.O crap. I will need to move them to a new bin by the next egg laying boom.

I'm hesitating between splitting the colony or just moving it completely. Splitting it just allows for more worms. Which I will enjoy. Not just for feeders but I also intend to dry them for local feed for farmers when I have enough excess.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Coincidental timing! I just messed with my mealworms yesterday. Right or wrong, this is what I do.
I move all of the beetles to a fresh container with fresh food…I use bran mix mealworm food/bedding that I bought off eBay. I put the original container aside for the baby worms to grow. There’s usually plenty of food left for them. As I had sadly neglected sorting the beetles/babies, I had a lot of good sized worms. Those I removed and put in a separate container with a bit of food…these are now my feeders for my geckos. As I had a ton of worms, another container went in the fridge for later and I even had plenty to toss outside for the wild anoles and birds.
There will come a point when there is more frass than food in their containers, so they will need fresh containers with fresh food. For moisture, I give shaved carrot and squash. I tried bug burger, but they weren’t interested.
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
How do you end up separating them for new container movement? Do you sift them or pick them out? I haven't found a sifting mechanism that works yet >3> and picking out hundreds of worms by hand is insane. But I've done worse sadly.

My bedding is homemade insect gutload, rolled oats, and a few tablespoons of wheatbran.

I have lost most my beetles this time around but it's not a big deal, this was the first group and not everyone had a successful pupation.

I feel everything from summer squash, sweet potato, bok choy, kale, various micro greens, spring mix, and apples right now.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sifting would be sooo much easier, but I haven’t yet found or made a suitable tool for that. While tedious, I just pick them out. I dump a small amount at a time on a paper plate and pick out the worms that are big enough for me to see. If I were breeding larger amounts, I’d have made a sifting tool a priority.
 

ElliotG

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ve got a mealworm colony and it’s been going for awhile. I say 4 months?

I use organic soil and supply them with fresh veggies/excess veggies from my dubias. They’re really good at eating. I don’t separate mine from the babies. I just give enough food for them to eat. They’ve been growing great and beetles are doing fantastic. I put some in my dubias container to be the clean up crew. Im honestly thinking of giving some beetles away with how many I have. Mine is simple but it supplies all 6 of my reptiles if needed. Great organic fertilizer too.
 

ElliotG

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll have to post a pic. I just upgrade them when go colony gets bigger. Upgraded them again last night.
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
Mine are growing at an immense speed. Think I've had the group for 2 months and I have 500 worms+ far too many for their current container as they grow so I'm just debating on enclosures now I guess
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ve got a mealworm colony and it’s been going for awhile. I say 4 months?

I use organic soil and supply them with fresh veggies/excess veggies from my dubias. They’re really good at eating. I don’t separate mine from the babies. I just give enough food for them to eat. They’ve been growing great and beetles are doing fantastic. I put some in my dubias container to be the clean up crew. Im honestly thinking of giving some beetles away with how many I have. Mine is simple but it supplies all 6 of my reptiles if needed. Great organic fertilizer too.
What soil do you use? I don’t like to use oats or bran because of how they block nutrient absorption, along with how I have to freeze them for a couple of months to make sure all grain mites are dead
 

ElliotG

Chameleon Enthusiast
What soil do you use? I don’t like to use oats or bran because of how they block nutrient absorption, along with how I have to freeze them for a couple of months to make sure all grain mites are dead
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Here’s the soil I use. But any organic garden soil or pot soil should do. You probably know this already but make sure it’s organic with no fertilizer. You don’t want you insects eating that and passing it to your chameleon.
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Here’s a few pics of how my bin is. That’s not even all the beetles I have. They’re doing great though. I use the orange cubes for hydration and I’m just trying to get rid of them lol! Not for nutrients,
 

TayloredExotics

Established Member
What soil do you use? I don’t like to use oats or bran because of how they block nutrient absorption, along with how I have to freeze them for a couple of months to make sure all grain mites are dead
Ooh, fun fact: pea flour kills grain mites! There's been a couple studies on it. I also have tested it with a whole.bunch of my inverts, and so far none are harmed by the addition of pea flour. The only thing is that in bioactive setups it'll cause a fungal bloom, so I add a bunch more springtails to mitigate that. But I add it directly in dry setups for supers/mealworms!
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ooh, fun fact: pea flour kills grain mites! There's been a couple studies on it. I also have tested it with a whole.bunch of my inverts, and so far none are harmed by the addition of pea flour. The only thing is that in bioactive setups it'll cause a fungal bloom, so I add a bunch more springtails to mitigate that. But I add it directly in dry setups for supers/mealworms!
That's amazing!!! Thank you so much!
 
I've never really had issues with grain mites affecting my mealworms. I keep them in open top tubs so moisture doesn't build up in there, that may be why. For a substrate I use non-medicated and diatomaceous earth free chicken layer mash (read the label, sometimes things change). If you want it siftable a coffee grinder will work for small quantities. You'd need a larger grinder if you were doing this on a large scale, but a cheap coffee grinder will work for a handful of tubs. The substrate has worked well for me, doesn't cost too much, and the mealworms already have considerable nutrition from feeding on it. I would still dust or stick at least some of them in a cup with something like superload for 48+ hours before feeding.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I used to raise meal worms using a bed of chicken laying mash. It worked great. Of course I have no idea if it had mites or anything but I don’t ever remember seeing any.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
So why is perlite bad for insects to be on? The concern is really just impaction(which I've never seen happen, though I'd be careful with smaller chams). Certain fertilizers I can see, but even organic soil has fertilizers(doesn't mean they're necessarily dangerous)...
 
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