Caring for mealworms.
You will need: some cheap oatmeal, wheat meal or other flaky meal, a plastic container with a tight cover (8 x 12 x 3 inches is fine for up to 3000
to 4000 worms,) some string and two sponges. The container should not be deeper than 3" as the worms need air to breathe and cannot be piled too high. In the cover make two holes near each end (4 holes each 1/2"). These are to let air into the container and to tie a sponge as detailed below.
Some people put apples, carrots, potatoes, etc. to keep the moisture up while refrigerated. I find that a nuisance, and instead I use
two wet sponges. They should not be so wet as to drip water onto the worms. Tie a string between the holes in the cover (through the holes and inside the container) and "hang" the sponges above the worms just under the cover. This will provide moisture, and the sponges can be squeezed,
rinsed, re-dampened and put back periodically.
Click here or on the picture for a good
When the worms arrive, put them (the way they came) into the refrigerator for about a day or so. This makes them less wiggly and easier to handle. Open the container in a large plastic box (like a clean cat litter box), this tends to be messy if you are not careful...
you will spill worms all over!
Once all the worms are removed into the large plastic box, start putting a handful of meal followed by a handful of worms into the storage container. You should add LESS meal than worms. When done, close tightly (make sure there are the 4 holes in the cover and the
wet sponges is in place) and put in the refrigerator.
The worms need no food. They will be dormant and will stay in good condition for up to a month or longer. Make sure to keep the sponges moist and
clean (check every couple of days.) As soon as you take some worms for feeding,
replace the cover and return the worm container to the refrigerator to keep the
Mealworms are in fact not worms at all. They are the larvae of
beetles. The beetles mate and lay eggs which hatch into larvae.
These grow into the "mealworms" we are familiar with. As time
goes on they change into beetles again, and the process repeats itself. If you see "skins" of worms, this is normal.
The worms will shed their skins as they grow and will look white compared to the other worms. Good luck!
will need to train your Bluebirds to find the mealworms in the feeder. Go
to this page for details.