Mealworm farm update

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  • #8673
    David in Stafford,VA
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    I started my mealworm farm (along with Rich) back in May. My many pupae hatched (and continue to hatch) into beetles and lay eggs. The literature (including Sailis) says the eggs should hatch in 4 – 19 days but mine took about 2 months. I did have to buy another 4000 worms to carry the second fledgling group into September, when the worms should be mature enough to feed. I have the eggs in a plastic drawer with wheat bran. I see dozens of very small, tiny worms around the bits of carrots that I place in the drawer for moisture. They are still too small to try to estimate a count. I have a second drawer that is collecting eggs that I will move into incubation this weekend. When the hatched worms are large enough I plan to put them into containers and refrigerate them for use during the fall and winter for my birds and some of the birds in the neighborhood. If this pandemic keeps up and we do not get to leave the house for long periods of time I might have to resort to counting those worms. <big grin>

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #8674
    David in Stafford,VA
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    here is a photo of a couple of baby mealworm larva. That is the tip of a mechanical pencil and a carrot slice on the right side. These are about 10 days old. Very small now but will grow to feeding size in about 30 days. :bluebird:

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #8675
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Whew, too much for this ol’ gal to understand – glad you have something keeping you going during this period in our lives.

    #8686
    David in Stafford,VA
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    That last photo was just the beginning of a new “adventure.” Those tiny little mealworms developed into over 5000 in 2 hatches thus far (I only counted 2000 and estimated the rest.) I have 2 drawers of small ones like these that I figure will be a similar number to what I have already. I have refrigerated about 2000 from that first batch and will put another 2000 back for the winter. I am also going to increase my numbers of worms in the dish as the blues have attracted a few more young blues. I am not sure if this is the first brood that hatched but there are more that 4 young ones in the groups that come down to feed.

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #8688
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    David, how often do you have to feed those that are adults? Yes, you have a great hobby to keep you busy these days.

    #8689
    David in Stafford,VA
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    Hi Carol. Right now, I am sticking with my 7:30 – 8:00 AM and 5:00 – 5:30 PM schedule. It is interesting that if mom or dad bird wants to feed – the young exit the feeder until they finish. As the weather cools down I will probably add a noon time feeding. My wife noticed 8 – 10 bluebirds around the feeder and on the shepherd’s hook this morning around 9:00. I’m not sure if that is a request for more worms or a bigger feeder or both.:)
    I was thinking about letting the existing beetles die off and go a couple months without eggs over the winter, but with that many birds out here, I might have to keep it going into the spring.

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #8694
    Sassy
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    Well David, that is some hobby you have taken up, but it does seem to be working out for you. I just ordered a batch of 10,000 mealworms, there are at least 7 BB’s still hanging around here in Western PA. and I am enjoying every minute of it.
    I too am feeding on the same schedule as you, but now that the time has changed, I guess the feeding time will have to also.
    Connie (PA)

    #8695
    Julie
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    David, I was thinking about you this weekend and last, wondering how the mealworm farm is going. Thank you for posting an update! I haven’t been on the forum in awhile. Just so busy with canning & garden wrap-up. Connie, so glad to hear you’re getting into the mealworm biz, too!! I’m still pondering if I can swing another chore into the mix. Best wishes to you with keeping all your blues happy, you all!!!

    #8696
    David in Stafford,VA
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    Thank you Connie and Julie. It is an interesting experience. Getting into a routine is the hardest part of this adventure. I always want to tinker with one of the drawers of eggs or worms to see if I can get them to grow faster – but they have their own time schedule and develop however they want. I am now pretty well into my 3rd batch of eggs, but I have not notice much going on in the second batch. I have noticed only a few worms in comparison to my first batch. Because of my moving drawers around, I may have emptied a drawer of eggs that I thought was old food and waste. Lesson Learned: I now have BIG labels on the drawers to identify what they contain.

    I am changing my feedings to about 8:00 AM and 3:30 PM while it is still light. If I wait until 4:30 PM they do not always come down to feed. Yesterday. those 50-60 mph winds bent my feeder pole over. so I had to remove the worms and feeder before the birds had a chance to get to the feeder. I don’t think they were out at all, as I did not see any birds in my front or back yard all day.

    Enough rambling. – Enjoy the nice weather before it gets too cold.

    David
    Stafford, VA

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