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Tips How do a large Scale Production (Professional Breeding)?

Hi People,

We seperate the 3 fases of mealworms in "Big Hard Plastic Box", we give to our beatles, wheat bran, carrot, bread and dry food for babies dogs,

Our mealworm farm are in the same room of our Reptiles (that room have a good heating).

We look for improve our mealworm farm to do a large scale production (Professional Breeding), to sell our live food for our clients, we are a company called O Pantanal, Lda, over 20 years on the market, we sell more than 6.000 products for Birds, Reptiles and Fish.

I Hope with your knowledge we can improve, we always search on internet for more Info to improve our prodution but we dont see anything new yet.

This is our mealworm farm pictures.


Rui Silva

This is our mealworm farm pictures.

2015-05-13 09.11.34 2015-05-13 09.11.53 2015-05-13 09.12.10 2015-05-13 09.12.24


  • @Pantanal me too doing business regarding mealworm and crickets. Although not being a company yet but we supply many bird and reptile shop in my country.

    If i can ask, how many beetles you need to hatch 1kilogram mealworm larvae? and what temperature?

    I plan to improve to do a large scale production and export too.

  • Greetings I am very interested in starting a mealworm Farm I have question for you Rui Silva, do you consume any of the things you grow ? and since you have 20 years experience whats your health like ? have you done studies of what is the best feed for the worms, to cure cancer? anything information for me would be great.

    Best Chris

  • edited February 2018

    White bread for food? Guess you don't care about the health of your mealworms. Toilet paper rolls? You don't realize they have many chemicals and the worms tend to chew on them ingesting those chemicals that get passed on down the food chain? You can do better.

  • edited February 2018

    Have you noticed much cannibalization? I have a setup with a few thousand worms and spent a long time one day separating all the beetles into a different bin. It was supposed to be temporary but I just neglected to put things back as they were. After a few weeks I noticed mealworms in there. Now if cannibalization was a problem you'd think all of those mealworms would have been eaten because there were thousands of beetles in there and almost no worms. This I don't understand. I try to feed them fresh vegetables every day. Usually when I check it the next day the vegetables from the previous day are gone. If cannibalization is not a major loss it would be a lot less headache to not bother sorting at all. Otherwise sifting is the answer and seems to be used in most commercial operations. The large ones do it mechanically. The trouble is that the pupae and beetle is a similar size so its hard to separate the two by sifting. Some people put the food on a different platform that the beetles have to climb to get to and its designed so they can't go back so this is a form of self sorting. I don't know if the mealworms are supposed to be cannibalistic or not or its just the beetles. Maybe someone here can let us know.

  • Hi Growth88, - There is some cannibalism at greater larval densities. Large larvae will eat pre-pupae that are immobilized more than they eat pupae.

    Also, after a moult the young larvae are sometimes eaten by large larvae, usually when conditions are too dry. Likewise, especially when too dry, adults will eat some newly emerged adults & also eggs.

    See Weaver & McFarlane's (1990) "The effect of larval densities on growth & development of Tenebrio molitor" discusses "... cannibalism ... at higher densities...."

    A guideline for feed/substrate moisture content to get the most pupation is close to 18% moisture content, yet over 18% pupation will decline; this is distinct from the air relative humidity . As for density (am not accounting for size changes as they grow) loss from various mortality causes will icrease at 1 larvae/1.41 square cm; while they will take less time to reach pupation at density of 1.18 larvae/ (under good conditions) than they would at higher densities.

    Under crowded conditions concievably it is possible (?) that the large larvae excessive contacting one another stimulates them to produce more juvenile hormone; & then they go toward more instar(s) than toward pupation (which requires a different shift in hormone ratios). As mentioned elsewhere in Forum, their frass contains farnesol & this potentially stimulates juvenile hormone synthesis.

    I'll speculate that at higher density the amount of frass could reach a threshold where there is a natural colony population control interacting with the dynamics of their particular environment (food resources & moisture conditions). A feedback loop involving level of frass farnesol might (?) be part of colony self-regulation; whereby some induced extra larval instars grow bigger & prone to cannibalize, not necessarily out of hunger but instinct to cull the herd.

    Of course under reared conditions this wild propensity (Tenebriods in general, not just T. molitor, are cannibalistic) may be instigated less often for various reasons. Intervention with feed, moisture, temperature & the tactic regarding frass are probably variables in larval cannibalism.

    With adults giving them less time where the eggs are, as discussed elsewhere in Forum, would reduce egg cannibalism - if adults were resorting to that (hard to see since eggs so small). You notice larvae where put just sorted beetles & those larvae would be coming from some mating occuring.

  • Those were some interesting ideas about density, gringojay. Makes a lot of sense. I definitely have my larva packed in way too tight. One thing to note is the environment where the beetles were was much larger so any larva in there would be in a very sparse living condition, which would apparently inhibit cannibalism.

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