Mealworm flight

Can mealworm beetles fly?

It seems like such a noobish question. I always thought it was a resounding "no, their shells are fused and can't open". I have a lot of beetles myself and I've never witnessed flight, even after taking one out and trying to get it to take off. Nothing.

But once in a while I hear someone mentioning them flying. And there are at least a couple clips on youtube showing them flying:

The comments mention something about how this only happens if they have no food and have lots of open space. Is that true? Do we just have different species?



  • 'Lesser" mealworm Alphitobius diapernis is in the Tenebriod family & these can fly. "Yellow" mealworm Tenebrio molitor is what most edible bug farmers rear & these do not get airborne.

    I have been confused when these are written about, since both are sometimes simply referred to as the "darkling" beetle &/or simply "mealworm" without specific identification. The "mealworm darkling beetle" Alphitobius diapernis when adult is only about 6mm (~0.25 inch) long & if you can determine this from your video links then that is probably more reliable identification than given video name.

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