I like to joke that one-day mealworms will be in your hamburger; they are just too easy to grow. Then on Thursday March 10th in the AJC there is an article about people grinding up mealworms to put in cookies. So, since mealworms are getting so popular, I'm going to give a quick lesson on how to grow them.
We are still, honoring all Wild Bird Center Gift Cards. No need to rush in, we have you covered.
Find 3 containers or drawers. Fill each drawer with Wheat Bran or Oatmeal. I personally don't like oatmeal because it is expensive and creates a lot of dust. We sell wheat bran at the store for $1/Lb. (We think that is a fair price since Amazon is charging over $11/Lb.) The worms will use the wheat bran as bedding, and they also eat all of the bran over time.
Buy some live mealworms. I recommend that you start with 1000 for just $12/container. The live worms you buy from us, or any other vendor should be at just the right age. That is, the mealworm (which is the larva stage or the 2nd stage of the metamorphosis) has grown or shed its skin about 9 times. At this point they are approximately 3 months old.
Place the mealworms in container #1, add a few chopped carrots or potatoes. Not much just a little. Mealworms will eat just about anything including Styrofoam.
In a few short weeks the mealworms in container #1 will start turning in pupae. (Pupae are the 3rd stage of the mealworm's metamorphosis.) The pupa(e) that you find need to be removed and placed into container #2. No need to add carrots just leave them in the wheat bran. This stage is short, the pupa turns into a darkling beetle in about 3 weeks.
Take the beetles that you harvest from container #2 and place them into container #3. The Darkling Beetle is the 4th stage of the metamorphosis. The beetles will live about 2 months. Durning that 2 months they will mate and lay eggs. The eggs hatch in about 20 days. Since you now have eggs (you can't actually see them) this means that once a month take the beetles out of container #3 and pour the contents of #3 into container #1. The eggs will hatch in container #1 and your very small mealworm will turn into a normal sized mealworm in about 3 months.
That's it - All you need is 1000 mealworms to start, a little time, wheat bran, and a package of carrots. If you started today by late June you will be crawling with worms!
PS: Don't knock the container over the mealworms are surprising fast.
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QUICK NOTE: As the owner of the Wild Bird Center of Johns Creek I had the opportunity to buy out my franchise agreement, which I promptly did. Same great staff, seed, feeders, mealworms and gifts but we are now OUTDOOR BIRD SUPPLIES!