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Chilly Mealworms

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:32 pm
by ianandjoy
I have up until now kept my medium sized mealworms on the top shelf of the fridge, and supplied with porridge oats to supplement their bran. They have appeared to have kept OK for 2-3 weeks, but I must admit to not knowing what a poorly worm looks or behaves like.
The current recommendation to not keep them in the fridge - are they more likely to go into the beetle phase being out of the fridge, and is it cruel to chill them?
I have fed them apple and banana and they are eating these, so I am expecting to see more beetles in future.

Re: Chilly Mealworms

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:51 am
by NigelB
Hello Ian

Many customers tend to keep their mealworms in a fridge but usually this is a bit too chilly, they tend to go dormant and this then slows their feeding down and like all living creatures, lack of food leads to losing condition, However, as you say, the warmer you keep them the quicker they will turn to pupae and then beetles (the pupae are almost immobile and look like little aliens but birds will still feed on them quite happily) We find the ideal temperature to keep them is around 10degC so possibly the top part of a warmer fridge may be fine or this time of year a garage or somewhere similar, freezing temperatures will definately harm them. If they are feeding ok they will continue to shed light brown dried skin as they grow and you will see white, fairly soft mealworms in the container that have recently shed their skin, they will also consume more food. The dry, dusty material that collects should be sieved off every now and then. Apple and Banana, particularly Banana skin is a great source of food and moisture but don't put too much on causing the dry food to become damp and mouldy creating problems.
A poorly worm just dies off, dries and turns black and its not cruel to chill them as they would experience colder temperatures in the "wild" Hope this helps.

Re: Chilly Mealworms

PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:30 am
by ianandjoy
Thank you for the info Nigel. I feel I am becoming more aware of them as "pets". I had a couple at "alien" stage a while ago and let them loose in the garden, but the most recent 4-some I kept in a pot and looked on them over the past 4-5 months. After becoming black beetle -like, their offspring have developed into about 15 minute mealworms (it took a lot of seiving to find them all).

Some small blue tits have eaten them now!

I am amazed at how long their cycle takes - from alien stage last year to medium sized must be about 12 months?

It definately makes more sense to buy them rather than try and "grow" your own...

We currently have a pair of blue tits and a pair of robins feeding from the tin I keep inside a hanging basket mesh (skinny starlings occasionally get inside) and some blackbirds feed from the open container on the floor. Could my mobile phone videos of them be of any use to you on your website?

Great idea to have the forum - it should get popular in spring time. As a 2 year+ customer , i'll be keeping an eye on what i can answer for other potential customers regards mealworms.

Meanwhile, hope business keeps strong for you - I work for a house builder so have 1 eye on the door - although we have have just signed for 2 sites to start before end of March - provided bat/newt/nesting surveys allow.

Opposite our office this week has been a rare black redstart - twitchers gallore have been looking at it. I didn't provide any worms though.