12-10-2006, 11:52 PM
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Mealworms: (standard Mealworms, NOT Kings or Super worms)
Start with wheat bran and Chicken Egg layer mash. Fill a plastic shoe box to about 2 inches with a 50/50 mixture of each. Place the mealworms in the container. A lid is not needed but I used the lid with the center cut out with window screen secured to the inside. They do need some ventilation in order for the culture to stay as dry as possible. They also need a water source. I started with carrots but found that romaine and leaf lettuce were more readily eaten and didnâ€™t wet the culture. The beetles will do just fine this way and you can ignore them for up to 6 months except for adding a water source every other day at least. Add as much as they can eat in about 6 hours to prevent infestation from mites and feral flies because of moisture buildup.
To harvest the larva, place a piece of carrot on top of a piece of plastic canvas. In about 3 hours the tiny worms will migrate to the water source and you can harvest them by picking up the carrot slice and scraping them off. I found that a large carrot cut into 1 inch rounds worked best with as flat a cut as possible being optimal. You can also pick them out by hand from small amounts of the culture but this is very tedious. When you want to start a new culture, simply pick out about 50 beetles and larva and put them in a new container and they will do the rest. The culture needs to be completely refreshed when it looks like small pebbles of sand which means the food source has been completely depleted and needs to be replaced. Simply use a small holed strainer and strain the worms from the waste. (The â€œwasteâ€ makes good fertilizer and can be mixed in with plant soil or made into a fertilizer concoction although it will ferment and explode if you seal the container. )
If you have experience with culturing them, please post your methods here so others can try different ways and find what works best for them.