How to raising mealworms?
Acquire at least 3 containers, preferably plastic. To provide proper air circulation and prevent condensation, punch holes in the lid and cover the lid with mosquito netting or cheesecloth. Suggested dimensions for this rearing container is 41 cm x 28 cm x 15 cm. Feed the mealworms mixed grains such as: oat or wheat kernels (10 parts), rolled oats (oatmeal) or whole wheat flour (10 parts); wheat germ or powdered milk ( 1 part); and brewer's yeast (1 part).
Brewer's yeast can be obtained at health food stores. This is an important ingredient, because it provides proteins and trace elements essential to the insects' growth. To supply the water that these insects need to develop, provide bits of vegetables (cabbage, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, etc.) or fruit (mainly apple). Monitor this item daily to watch for visible mold growth. Immediately replace the water supply when mold growth appears. When all is in readiness, obtain the mealworm larvae starter culture. This can be bought from pet shops where they are used as food for reptiles and amphibians. Bait shops may also have these available.
In one of the culture containers, place about 2.5 cm of the grain mixture, the mealworm larvae, and bits of vegetables and/or fruit (=the water source). As soon as the first pupae appear (this is a non-feeding and non- ambulating stage), transfer them to another container, an empty box. This will prevent the larvae from eating the pupae. For the same reason, the adults must be separated from the pupae as soon as they emerge from the pupal 'skin' (exuviae). Transfer the adults into a third box, also containing 2.5 cm of the grain mixture and chunks of vegetables or fruit. The males and females of the mealworm are indistinguishable. They mate 2-5 days after emerging, and the female lays up to 40 eggs a day.
The eggs take 12 days. on average, to hatch. The larvae molt several times over a period of about 10 months, until they reach 25-30 cm in length. It takes about 12 days for the pupa to complete metamorphosis into an adults. The adult lives, generally. only 2 months. All in all, at temperatures from 18?to 25?C. the insect's life cycle is about one year. Culture Maintenance Replace the pieces of fruit or vegetables when they dry out, and remove any dead insects. Stir the grain mixture from time to time to incorporate the larval skins, so that they will also be consumed by the larvae. Change the mixture when it begins to look sandy. You will have to remove the insects one by one or separate them using a sieve.
Clean the containers thoroughly before using them. To speed up the insects' development, keep your 'farm' at a temperature of from 25 to 30 Above 30 there are negative effects on growth and development. Avoid placing the containers in bright sunlight. Keep the cultures in a dimly lit, dry, and well ventilated place. Keep the mixture as dry as possible to avoid mold and other undesirable organisms. Keep your insects in a number of different containers to minimize losses due to contamination or any other problem.
When to Begin Harvesting the Larvae
Since you are developing a stock culture and it is the larval form of this insect that is eaten, you would want to wait for the first generation after the parents to harvest any larvae. In concrete terms, this means that you must feed the larvae that you obtain from a commercial source until they become adults, allow them to reproduce, and then 'harvest' the larvae of the new generation. Make sure, of course, that you leave enough of the larvae to keep your farm running! Preparing the Insects for Use Before you begin whipping up delicious insect meals, you must take some precautions: Always kill the larvae by freezing them alive.
About 48 hours is sufficient. You can keep them in the freezer for a few months if they are properly wrapped in airtight bags or containers. Insects can deteriorate quickly, just like meat that is left out on a counter. Always keep them in the freezer until you are ready to use them. It is also a good idea to rinse them in running water before you cook them. Never eat any insects of doubtful quality (rotten smell, unusual color, etc.). If in doubt, DON'T.
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