How To Grow Your Own Mealworms

Materials Needed

Starting Your Colony

Use any of the above listed under dry food.  Place dry food in container.  Cover food and mealworms with 2-3 layers of moistened burlap. Moisten the burlap once a week to maintain moisture level in colony. Burlap will make gathering of the mealworms easier as they gather between the layers.

Lay slices of apple, potato, carrot, or over-ripe banana over the surface of the colony to provide fluids for the mealworms and a place for them to lay their eggs.  To start a new colony in a differnt container, you can take one of these slices out and place in a new container.

Care of your Mealworm Larvae

After taking your mealworms out of their "breeding" colony, place them in a container that they cannot crawl out of.  Place about 2" of bedding material in the bottom.   To insure they stay in their larvae state, cover the container (make sure there are holes in the cover) and place in the refrigerator (40 to 50 degrees is ideal as they will die at lower temperatures.  If you plan to keep your mealworm larvae for 30 days or more they will need food.  Place pieces of potato on top of their bedding.  After 3 to 4 hours remove the uneaten potato and replace the container cover (and container back into the refridgerator)  Never put the lid on their container when feeding them.  The potato will cause excessive moisture to build up and can kill your mealworms.

Additional Notes

You will notice over time a residue will appear.  This is called frass.  Frass is made up of eggs and waste.  You can screen this out of the colony.  If you put the frass in a new container with food (dry and moist) the eggs will hatch in time (estimated time of one month).  A few weeks after they hatch you can gather the larvae and place in a new container.

Life Cycle