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Mealworm is not a worm; it is a larva. Any similarity to a true worm is incidental. mealworm larvae are golden yellow and have 13 segmentsâ€”a head, three thoracic segments, and nine abdominal segments Mealworm larvae are the counterpart of the familiar caterpillar in the butterfly story. They pull themselves around on six stubby legs, one pair on each thoracic segment.
Mealworms overwinter as partially grown larvae. The overwintered larvae complete their development in the spring, pupate, and emerge as adults during the summer. Adults live for 2 to 3 months. After mating the females deposit 275 to 500 eggs, either singly or in small batches. The eggs are deposited in areas where the larvae will find ample food. The eggs hatch in about two weeks. The larvae feed and grow over a period of 6 to 9 months (as long as 20 months in some cases), molting a total of 14 or 15 times. Mature larvae are active and wander in search of pupation sites. Due to this habit they may be found in any area of the home. The complete life cycle, therefore, requires 6 months to 2 years for completion. One generation per year is normal.
Mealworms and darkling beetles are rarely seen in the wild, but when they are, it is likely to be in a field where wild grasses flourish and seeds are plentiful. They are most often found in barns, grain storage facilities, and food preparation areas. This organism has benefited by living close to human enterprises, because we unwittingly provide a much better environment for the success of mealworms than could be found in the natural world. For this reason mealworms have become a minor pest in grain storage areas.
Mealworms and darkling beetles are excellent classroom animalsâ€”they exhibit interesting behaviors, they are small but not tiny, they donâ€™t bite, smell, fly, or jump, and they are extremely easy to care for. Mealworms live right in a container of their food source: bran, cornmeal, rolled oats, breakfast flakes, or chick starter mash. All are excellent foods, but bran and chick starter are recommended. The food must be kept dry. Mealworms can go through their complete life cycle without any added water (they are very efficient at extracting water from the food), but it is recommended that small bits of apple, potato, or carrot be added from time to time.
The mealwormâ€™s preferred environment is very dry, moderately warm, and dark. A bit of apple provides extra moisture for the mealworms and seems to stimulate rapid growth.
Food and Water. The mealworm culture must be kept dry. Mealworms can go through their complete life cycle without any added water (they are very efficient at extracting water from their food), but it is recommended that moisture continually be provided in the form of small bits of apple, sweet potato, or carrot. Otherwise the larvae and adults may attack each other in search of additional moisture. If carrot or sweet potato is used as the moisture source, the frass will be orange, adding evidence that the granules are waste rather than eggs.
Mealworms and darkling beetles are rarely seen in the wild, but when they are, it is likely to be in a field where wild grasses flourish and seeds are plentiful. They are most often found in barns, grain storage facilities, and food preparation areas. This organism has benefited by living close to humans, because we unwittingly provide a much better environment for them than can be found in the natural world.
If you ever have any bug related issues in New York City, feel free to call us either at Beyond Pest Control. Once again, and I canâ€™t stress this enough we are on call twenty four hours a day seven days a week to kill those bugs, we arenâ€™t kidding whether you call us at 9 am or midnight we will be available to take your call and either get rid of the bug infestation, or answer any questions you may have concerning the bug issue. I can honestly guarantee that there will be someone to answer that call. We make it our business to make you bug free!
You can also from time to time find helpful hints at http://nypestpro.blogspot.com.
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