Meal Worm Care
Mealworms can be stored
for several weeks. Transfer them to shallow, smooth sided tray or tub. If the
sides of your container are smooth enough, a lid should not be necessary. If
a lid is used, it should be well ventilated or your mealworms will become damp
and die in a short time. To prevent such occurrences, add a little bran, oatmeal,
or corn meal and carrots. Your mealworms can be kept for several weeks, under
the right conditions.
Steps to remember for proper storage:
- 1. Keep dry and well ventilated.
- 2. NOT TOO DEEP! Maximum depth of worms and bedding should be no more than
1" - 1 1/2 " deep.
- 3. KEEP COOL! Ideally, mealworms should be stored at 45 degrees farenheight.
They should be stored somewhere cool. However, be careful when the winter
season rolls around. Prolonged exposure to temperatures below 40 degrees will
kill your worms.
Meal Worms and Blue Birds
Mealworms are not really worms at all but are the larval form of the darkling
beetle (Tenebrio molitor). They are clean, easy to raise, do not carry human
diseases and most importantly are a nutritious food supplement readily accepted
Mealworms can be offered to bluebirds to:
- Entice them to use a nest box
- Assist the incubating female to find food quickly so she does not
have to leave her eggs for long periods of time
- Act as supplementary food for
nestlings if food becomes scarce when weather conditions prevent the parents
from finding insects
- Help them survive during spells of severe winter weather
Feeding Mealworms to Bluebirds:
There are several types of feeders that can be used, or you can just scatter mealworms on the ground. The latter method
is least advised as mealworms are attractive to most birds and they might all
be eaten before bluebirds can find them.
The best type of feeder is the hopper style where the mealworms can be placed inside the feeder with the bluebirds
entering from a hole at either end. Naturally curious, bluebirds will readily
explore this type of feeder and quickly recognize it as a food source. The
1 1/2" hole at each end will effectively exclude larger birds. Smaller birds
will soon catch on, but an aggressive male bluebird will usually defend "his" feeder,
especially if he and his mate are nesting nearby.
Some find that putting a flat saucer with a few worms in it on top of the hopper feeder will help draw
the bluebird's attention to the location of the feeder. Once they become familiar
with the routine, the saucer should be removed and mealworms placed inside
the feeder. The location of the feeder can also be moved as the birds become
familiar with it, and then moved to a spot where it is easier for you to watch
them feed. One of the highlights of feeding mealworms to bluebirds is watching
the fledged young start coming down to the feeder, first begging to be fed
and eventually figuring out for themselves how to get the tasty treats on their
Because they should be used as a supplemental food, mealworms should only
be offered once or twice a day unless poor weather conditions dictate more
frequent feeding. A hundred or so worms offered morning and evening would be
adequate for a pair with a box of nestlings.
This information is provided by the North American Bluebird Society.
Be a part of the conservation solution.
Join NABS, The North American Bluebird Society! Contact the NABS headquarters:
North American Bluebird Society
The Wilderness Center
P.O. Box 244
Wilmot OH 44689-0244
Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for more information.
Our mealworms ship via Priority Mail. 1,000 mealworms arrive in a box this size.
Upon opening the box, you'll find a clean, white cloth mesh bag and instructions.
While you can store your mealworms in this bag, we recommend that you transfer them to a smooth sided plastic container.
This close-up view shows the mealworms in the newsprint in which they are shipped.