The bugs are thriving! Even better, their care and upkeep has been the lowest demand of any living squirming thing I’ve ever cared for. Hands down, this worm is awesome.
In March, we received our delivery of 1,000 mealworms, from an organic grower near us in the valley. I began with several different kinds of storage bins for the bugs to experiment with space and shape. Stackable boxes (about the size of large coffee table books) were the winners, as they are small, stackable, multi-color for easy tracking of bug development, and durable.
I was checking the bugs once a week for the first three months of their time at Leafhopper Farm. Bugs were developing, turning into pupa, then beetles, without any issue. I was separating species as suggested, and having a great time getting to know the lifecycle of these curious creatures. Then the summer hit and things around the farm revved up. I began checking the worms once a month, as the had settled into reproduction, and needed little food and water.
Their entire bedding is made up of organic oats, which they mill around in happily. Moisture comes in the form of vegetable, such as a sliced potato or beet from the garden. The oats are something I have to figure out, as we are not currently growing grain, but could be, and more than enough for these guys on this small scale. That’s an ongoing challenge which falls under the much greater theme of growing grains in general which is in the works for summer of 2017.
For now, the mealworms will remain a small side project which takes up little time, but provides a crucial protein option for sustainability here at Leafhopper Farm. In future, we hope to expand this operation, making the meal worm a staple in the diet of our chickens, and also ourselves.