Dried Mealworms, Everything You Need to Know

The question in your mind right now is probably ‘What are mealworms?’ They are just the larvae of the darkling beetle. Similar to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly, a darkling beetle turns into a mealworm, after which it turns into pupae and then the darkling mealworm beetle finally emerges. Dried mealworms are simply the mealworms that have been dried, either by heating or freeze-drying. We’re sure it comes as a surprise that mealworms aren’t worms at all, right?

Mealworms can be used as food for a wide variety of animals including poultry, wild birds, fish, and hedgehogs. It has become a common word that if you use mealworms in your bird feeder, you will be attracting more birds. You will also be able to rest assured that whatever you will be feeding them will be filled with all the essential nutrients and it will be 100% natural.

Mealworm feeding

The precise composition of each batch of mealworms can vary, given that they are 100% natural. This can be caused by various factors such as the age of the mealworms at which they were dried, the type of drying process used and the size of the mealworm. A typical mealworm usually has the following composition: 5% moisture, 6% fiber, 28% fat and 53% protein.

The basic diet of mealworms contains vegetables, cereals, and grain. This is partly the reason why mealworms are so good for your animals.

Bulk Dried Mealworms

Packages of dried mealworms vary from 1lb bags to multiple pallet loads. For dried mealworms bulk, the packaging starts form 11lb bags and above. Whether purchasing mealworms for birds, turtles, fish or any other pets, bulk mealworms, the dried ones, will be your best choice.

There are online listings for mealworms information on packaging. It’s usually 11lb, 22lb, 33lb, 44lb and even up to 66 lbs. As you can see, the packaging is usually done in multiples of 11. If you need a greater quantity than what you see here, you can take advantage of the bulk discount rates when buying meal worms.

So, where can I buy mealworms or where to buy mealworms?

If you’re looking for dried mealworms for sale, try searching on the internet or just visit the nearest agro-vet store.

You can also inquire about wholesale and retail prices if you intend to buy in large quantities. The best traders will always make sure that you get what you need at the best prices in the market, regardless of what you request, as they aim to make their shops the best place to buy mealworms.

How to Dry Mealworms

Mealworms are a great part of the diet for every bird pet you have. If they, however, produce more quantities than you can handle, you will need to preserve them in preparation for the future. Drying mealworms give you the advantage of reducing the space you need for storage. According to many studies, the bulk dried mealworms can last up to one year without the need for refrigeration. The proteins in them are also better preserved when dried. The best method for drying mealworms is roasting. However, you can also choose to freeze-dry them and proceed to dehydrate them with the right equipment.

What you will need:

  • Disposable roasting pan (s)
  • Mature mealworms
  • Cornmeal

Optional items

  • Gas or electric oven
  • Freeze-drying equipment
  • Dehydrator
  • Powdered calcium supplement or any other mineral supplement or vitamin
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Warnings

Burnt mealworms have a bitter taste if used. Dispose of them and start all over. When roasting, mealworms produce a terrible smell so you shouldn’t use a microwave oven or a kitchen range.

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Tips

According to various studies, the more nutritious food you feed to the mealworms, the more nutritious they are when you feed them to the animals. The easiest way to harvest mealworms is by placing a folded piece of newspaper or paper bag on top of the colony. This makes it easier to remove them since they will just hide in the paper. Humans can also benefit from roasted mealworms. Once you grind them into fine flour, you can add them to any recipe, thereby increasing the protein content of that meal. Some birds are usually resistant to dried chubby mealworms. To get rid of the problem, just make peanut butter balls by mixing mealworms into suet.

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Roasting Mealworms on a Grill

Collect just about 1,000 to 2,000 larvae of mealworms from your colony.

Choose a container that can comfortably fit approximately 5,000 mealworms and place them in there.

Securely cover the container and place it in the freezer. This process (freezing) is a humane way of killing the mealworms. They will be dead in about 15 minutes. If after this time there are still some that aren’t dead, place them back in the freezer and monitor them periodically.

Turn your gas or electric grill on. Choose the lowest setting and give the grill sometime to preheat. If you’re using a charcoal grill, adjust the existing smokestack and the vents to ensure that the heating will take place slowly and at low temperatures.

Cover the bottoms of the roasting pans with a thin layer of cornmeal as a means of preparing them. This step is optional but the cornmeal serves to keep the mealworms from sticking to the pans.

Move the frozen mealworms for the freezer to the pans. Layer them and spread evenly all over the pan to ensure that they roast at the same pace.

Now, place the pans on the grill and close the cover. Use aluminum foil to cover the grill if yours doesn’t have the cover. Adjust the vents as needed.

Give the mealworms about 4 to 5 hours to roast. Monitor the pans closely, constantly shaking them to prevent the mealworms from sticking. The color should change to dark as they roast.

Once the color has changed to gold brown, extract the pans from the grill. Place the mealworms in a plastic container after the mealworms have cooled. For how to store mealworms, cover them tightly and place them in a cool and dry area.

To give the best nutritious experience to your pets, coat the mealworms with a supplement powder after they have roasted. Put two tablespoons of the powder into a plastic bag and add about 500 mealworms to be coated. The powdering should be done in parts of 500 mealworms.

Shake the plastic bag gently, making sure that all the mealworms are covered with a light and even coat of the supplement powder. If more the powder is needed, add slowly. Any excess powder should be shaken off before storage or before feeding them to your animals.

Everything You Need to Know About Dried Mealworms
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Rehydrating Dried Mealworms

To rehydrate the freeze-dried mealworms:

  1. Place the dried mealworms in a container that won’t cause any issues if it gets wet or warm.
  2. Let the games begin! Let a few cups of water boil on either your pan or on your stove. When the water starts bubbling, pour it gently over the dried mealworms. You might need to add more water to cover them completely. You can also expect them to float.
  3. Let mealworms in the water for about half an hour. For these 30 minutes, the mealworms will be soaking up as much water as possible. The sign to be looking out for, for when they are done, is the pale color that they will change into.
  4. After the 30 minutes are over, your dried mealworms are now hydrated and they should be ready to serve. Another method of knowing that they are ready is by feeling their flexibility. You can do this by just experimenting on one.

It’s our sincere hope that your domestic pets and birds as well get to feed on rehydrated mealworms. Let your animals feed like royalty as you spoil them with the best meal they have ever had.

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Reasons Why You Should Feed Mealworms to Your Chickens

To us, humans mealworms may not look appealing at all. To chickens, however, they are as tasty as a home cooked meal cooked by a loved one, your mother, most probably. They might also have the texture of some crumbly corn chips, but these little morsels are so sweet that they will drive your animals wild with lust for more. Just a small dish of these tasty wonders is bound to give your health a major boost and make sure that you live to your best potential.

Keep digging into this article to find out why you need to feed those little chickens with the best meal there is for them.

  1. A little of it goes a long way

Keep in mind that you don’t have to use your mealworms to make entire meals. All you need is just a little of it. Approximately 1-10 per chicken will be enough to boost the protein intake of your feathered friends. Basically, adult, egg-laying chickens should have an average protein intake of about 16%. On the other hand, the younger chicken and pullets should have more protein content in their meals as this will help them as they grow strong and big. The ‘ladies’ might go as far as to eat the whole bag if you allow them, but deny them this freedom. Stick to the recommended amount per chicken. In an eggshell, make sure to stay in line as you feed mealworms to your chickens.

  1. Power your laying ladies with proteins

Protein is among the most vital parts of the growth of any animal, especially chickens. Think about it though, eggs are one of the most sought-after sources of protein in the world. Besides, chicken also need lots of proteins which will help them grow lustrous plumage which will in turn help to keep them warm during winter. It’s obvious that any chicken lover needs to make sure that her girls get lots of protein in their diet. The natural choice, in this case, of course, mealworms, given that their protein content is around 50%.

  1. Mealworms will help your chickens get through the molting season

During the molting season, it’s very important that all chicken owners increase the protein intake of their chickens. The molting season usually takes place during autumn and spring. Since mealworms have been proven to have a dense concentration of proteins, they are a natural choice. They will work quickly to ensure that the feathers on your chooks grow back in the shortest time possible. Of more importance is that the immune system of these little animals is significantly reduced during the molting season. As such, it’s highly important that you increase their mealworm intake which will help them get through this difficult time.

  1. Bulk up your eggs with mealworms

It’s obvious that a higher protein content in your chickens will translate into them laying protein-rich eggs. There have been lots of testimonies from chicken lovers, saying that when they started feeding their chickens with the recommended serving sizes of mealworms, they noted a positive change in the sizes and flavor of the eggs. Keep in mind that eggs are almost entirely protein, therefore, mealworms are most definitely the best addition to your chickens’ diet.

  1. Reduces the workload of turning the bedding

The statement above might seem a bit awkward but anyone out there who uses a deep litter system can agree with us when we say that they are always looking for an easier way to turn the bedding. Let’s put this into perspective; chooks are in love with mealworms. As a matter of fact, they go crazy when they feed on them. By simply scattering some mealworms mixed with feed over the litter system, your chooks will immediately get to scratching and pecking at the bedding, eventually mixing it through. Long story short, you will not need to grab the shovel and start turning that heavy stuff upside down. Be excited when preparing dried mealworms for chickens.

  1. You’ll fall in love just watching your chickens munch

If you think for a second that the excitement when your chickens lay eggs is anything, just wait to see their reaction when they find out that you’re serving them mealworms for dinner. Grab your favorite drink and stool and watch as your chickens lose their minds as they scramble for this delicious delicacy. They will definitely make you happy. Trust us on this one.

  1. Your chickens will fall in love with you for it

As you might already be aware, chooks are incredibly responsive to food. There’s bound to be not just a few, but quite a number of them jumping up and down restlessly when they realize that their loving owner is approaching their place of residence with a chicken feeder fully packed with something for them, perhaps including some mealworms. One of the greatest joys in a chicken’s life is food. It sounds only right that any chicken owner will be delighted to make his/her chickens happy by giving them the best food. Mealworms are the perfect answer. Don’t be mean to them, now. Treat them to some cool mealworms.

Everything You Need to Know About Dried Mealworms
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Caring for Mealworms

This is very simple. Just do it as a school project, as a pet or just for fun.

  • Food and Water

Mealworms are not complicated in their choice of food. In fact, their food is also their bedding. Simply line their home with some cereals or grain, for instance, bran. The surface of the bedding should be at least 4 cm from the container’s lip. For their hydration don’t provide water. Instead, give them food substances with water content such as potatoes and carrots. Change the vegetables every 5-7 days.

  • Shelter

Your mealworms should be housed in a container with a depth of at least 8 cm. The container should also be made of smooth material like plastic, glass or even metal work. Mealworms can escape and therefore anything that they can hold onto should be avoided. Lids are also not necessary since beetles can’t fly. You might want to use a lid to avoid spilling. In this case, make sure to make some holes for ventilation purposes.

  • Caring for Life Stages

The life stages shouldn’t be kept close to each other. This is because as the metamorphosis continues, both the larvae and the beetle will end up eating the immobile pupae. The pupae should be stored in a separate container which should be lined with a paper towel. At this stage, they don’t need any food. The ideal condition is for each stage to be stored separately but this is obviously too much work.

  • Cleaning

Cleaning is definitely necessary. The poop is sandy in appearance and it will collect at the bottom of the container. Just place everything in a sieve. The poop falls through, along with the eggs since they are very small. If interested in creating a colony, store the poop separately with some food and vegetable to the point that the larvae are big enough to pick out.

  • Harvesting

Harvesting will require you to wait until the larvae are nice and big, whether harvesting for yourself or for a pet. Next, separate them from their bedding, either by putting them through a sieve or by picking them out. Since they like climbing scree-type materials, give them a few moments to start climbing if the bedding doesn’t all fall through the sieve. You can then pick them out.

Will Bluebirds Eat Dried Mealworms?

Just like any other birds, bluebirds are always excited at the idea of eating mealworms like bird food. Dehydrating dried mealworms for bluebirds might prove to be somewhat of a long process but rest assured that it will be worth it.

There has been a bit of a discussion on what birds eat dried mealworms and what birds eat mealworms. Well, we think that there’s not much to say about the topic since whether mealworms are dried or not, the nutrient content is still the same. Furthermore, research shows that the same birds that feed on dried mealworms also feed on other mealworms. A quick Google search for what birds like mealworms reveal a wide range of species from all over the world.  They include the woodpecker, chickadees, European robin, the pine warbler, and nuthatches among others.

 

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