Separating Beetles from eggs

My mealworm farm has now reached the beetle stage with almost all larvae gone. I am following the separation technique as I understand these creatures are cannibals. My first lot of beetles have been living independently for just over two weeks and I have just moved them on. Now confusion has stepped in! Some of my studies show that beetles lay the eggs in the bottom of substrate, others say they lay in the kitchen roll centres, or egg trays etc. One video shows the beetles being transferred on the egg trays. So should I transfer the beetles minus - or with- the egg trays? Is it advisable to rear the beetles without the egg trays so they have no choice but to lay in the substrate?. Any help would be appreciated.

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  • Hi Lincdales, very good question you ask there!

    When breeding mealworms, what you want to achieve in the basis is:

    (1) To be able to use your beetles for multiple generations. As they are reproductive for about 3 weeks, you could use beetles for 3 generations if you have a weekly cycle. (2) Keep mealworms in a tray who are all of almost the same age to avoid both cannibalism and general impossible production scheduling. Try to harvest eggs on a weekly basis. As the beetles are only productive for ~3 weeks, this means you have to buy mealworms AT LEAST every 3 weeks, but preferably every week in order to get a continuous cycle going. (3) Make it the least labour-intensive you can

    Now, you could try and sieve the beetles out of the substrate and place the substrate with the eggs in a new tray. Unfortunately you (1) lose a lot of eggs who are stuck against the bottom of the plastic tray and (2) you seriously stress the beetles and mortality will be bigger.

    Try to construct some sort of mesh screen that can be taken out of the plastic tray and transferred into a new, clean tray. This way, the beetles will lay eggs on the substrate BELOW the screen and you can transfer all beetles without stressing them out (and without stressing yourself out..). You also prevent (up to some extend) cannibalism. Leave the eggtrays out alltogether, they are no good for you; just keep less beetles in a tray (though you can still have more of them in a tray than you think).

    Also, make sure you use only a thin layer of substrate, as otherwise it might attract mealmoths because the larvae won't be able to eat everything in time (and you waste vital vitamins/fatty acids in doing so!)

    Another way would be to use a system like iLivid did (no commercial interest, but their system seems to work like a charm, though be aware it's probably demo :) ):

    That's all I can think about for now. If you have any more questions, just ask ;)

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