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aj.cruz
Jul 19

Variables For Mealworm Size?

4 comments

I've been raising mealworms for 8 or 9 months now and have noticed my pupae getting smaller and smaller. I thought moisture might be a problem so a month or two ago I started feeding vegetables more often, every couple days. I also tried adding a sponge in an open ziploc bag to the bins to try to increase humidity. A gauge laying on the substrate shows about 80 degrees F and 60-65% humidity in the beetle bin, nearly 90 degrees F and about 55% humidity in the worm bins.

I feed a variety of produce I grow myself including carrots, potatoes, string beans, beets, yellow squash, banana peppers. Still my pupae are coming out very tiny. Since the large pupae are starting to show up less often and my larger beetles are getting pretty thin in numbers, I'm desperate to get the problem fixed. I want to maintain them organically raised, so I don't want to use chemicals on them, I was thinking about pulling out the larger beetles and larger pupae to start a new bin. I don't know if selective breeding will fix the problem. I wonder if genetic diversity is a problem, maybe the population per bin is too dense? Anyone have any suggestions?

Space Coast Mealworms
Jul 19

what substrate are you using?

aj.cruz
Jul 19

Wheat bran

Space Coast Mealworms
Jul 19

Hm.. Have you considered adding a variety of grains, such as chick starter or spent brewery grains? I've recently added chick starter to my bins and have seen a difference in size (I have two trays for each week of eggs I've produced, and have only added the chick feed to one of the two trays for each week, which is how I'm able to note a size difference). This article explains the benefits of doing this, but in short, a variety of grains lead to larger worms. The entire article is a good read though. Lots of tips!

https://www.mealwormfarming.org/single-post/2018/03/04/Recommendations-for-Breeding-and-Holding-of-Regular-Mealworm

 

Otherwise, your farm conditions seem pretty standard. Selective breeding is also beneficial, but quite time-consuming to say the least.. Max, over at Max-a-mealies, has the biggest worms I've ever seen and he says it's from selective breeding and setting up a temperature routine (raising temps and lowering temps for a specific amount of time).

aj.cruz
Jul 19

Awesome thanks. I'll give that a read, try some diverse substrate. I appreciate it.

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