From giant to mini Mealworms are the most common
insect used for feeding
Tenebrio molitor, also known as Common mealworms, are
probably the most widely raised insect for pet food.
Mealworms are extremely easy to keep and long-lasting.
Simply put them into a container with small air holes and
then into your refrigerator or anywhere that the temperature
stays between forty and fifty degrees Fahrenheit (five to
ten Celsius). They will go into dormancy and live that way
for months, especially if you take them out and let them
warm up every week or so, feed them a little oatmeal or
wheat bran and give them time to eat, and then return them
to the cooler.
Mealworms are good live food for small mammals, reptiles,
and many amphibians and birds, as well as live bait for
fishing. Many people who feed wild birds, especially
Bluebirds, include live mealworms in their feeding plan.
Mealworms, the larvae of a very small beetle, can't climb,
which means that they will stay where you put them and even
your smallest pets should be able to catch and eat them, and
they are good sources of protein and fat.
Mealworms are usually available from your pet food supplier
in three sizes:
* Mini mealworms (These are common mealworms that are simply
very young and about the size of a grain of rice.) measuring
ten to fifteen millimeters in length,
* Standard mealworms, measuring thirty to thirty-three mm,
and giant mealworms,
* and Giant mealworms have been treated with an insect
growth hormone that keeps them from changing into beetles as
quickly, so that they grow much longer, measuring forty to
sixty mm in length.
Here are some care suggestions to keep newly purchased
mealworms alive as long as possible:
When your giant mealworms arrive, remove them from the small
tub they usually come in and put them into a larger
container that has a substrate of two inches of damp
sphagnum peat. If you will be using them all within a few
weeks, they should be stored at between sixty and sixty-five
degrees Fahrenheit (fifteen to eighteen Celsius). Lightly
spray the peat when necessary to keep it moist but never
Standard and Mini Mealworms, on arrival, should be placed
into a larger tub with a substrate of one inch (two to three
centimeters) of dry bran. Stored at fifty-three to sixty-
four degrees Fahrenheit (twelve to eighteen Celsius) they
will keep well for up to 2 weeks. Be sure to use them in the
next two weeks, as many of them will begin to pupate.
Feeding Mealworms to your Pet
If you feed mealworms to your pet lizard, snake or amphibian
then you probably should consider removing the mealworm's
head first or at least kill it somehow. Mealworms have
strong jaws and have, on occasion, chewed their way through
a pet's stomach and out through the body. (Only animals that
don't chew and kill their prey first, such as amphibians and
a few lizards are at risk.)
You may also dust the mealworms with a vitamin supplement
before feeding them to your pet to increase their
nutritional value and provide calcium.
How to grow your own Mealworms
More free info about Invertebrates