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I'm looking for an full list of what mealworms can eat

Hello everyone, I have had a look through these forums and elsewhere online and haven't found a full list of what mealworms can eat. I would be helpful that information to go on.

Things I have been wondering about as an alternative to expensive grain include - wild berries, hay (that could maybe be bedding from an animal such as a rabbit)

Any freely available plant material really. If they are fine with something like wild berries then you can go get a load from some trees and bushes - dry them (so they store better) and away you go.

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  • Hi jarvis, - mealworms are considered omnivores. That doesn't take into account how well they do on different diets.

    For example mealworm larvae have poor survival rates & paltry weight gain when fed fresh corn that still contains the kernel's germ (bran & endo-sperm of the kernel are fine). If you are using commercial corn that has been steam processed then the inhibitor is neutralized; as is also the case with long stored corn. Corn that has had the kernel germ removed is fine for mealworm larvae if supplemented with both tryptophan & lysine amino acids.

    Mealworm larvae that are close to pupation ideally already have good levels of cyteine, aspartic acid, alanine, tyrosine & other amino acids. Although they will also have adequate levels of the amino acids arginine, phenyl-alanine & glycine if their diet has had more of these then their growth is going to be even better.

    It is important that the larvae can make the molecule called carnitine ( a betaine form of gamma-amino-B-hydroxy-butyric acid) otherwise they will have problems at time of molting. See (1954)"Histopathology of Vitamin BT (Carnitine) Deficiency in Larvae of Meal Worm, Tenebrio molitor L."http://www.jstor.org/stable/30152167?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

    Carnitine is made from the amino acids methionine & lysine; a lot of research has been done on various commercial animal/fowl feed ingredients' content of those amino acids. We humans make carnitine as well & unlike mealworm larvae apparently can beneficially use gamma-butyro-betaine (whose chemical structure is close to carnitine) in the process.

    Gamma-butryo-betaine is found in very small quantities in some plants; & gamma-butyro-betaine ... "... was found to inhibit carnitine in a competitive manner, with an inhibition index of 100 to 1000." Thus although the mealworm might eat any plant some will be less ideal than others. See (1955)"The effect of some derivatives and structural analogs of carnitine on the nutrition of Tenebrio molitor"; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0003986155900552

    A convenient source of food may be easy to supply yet it does not mean it is worth the time; even though if fed just fruit the sugar content can support mealworm larvae development. Since ... "... glucose-fed larvae increased their body weight slightly, but the efficiency of the diet, expressed in weight increase per g ingested, was low compared to larvae on a complete diet..." Quote source = (1966) "The effect of nitrogen starvation on Tenebrio molitor L."; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0022191066900321

    As for the adult beetle the diet: they will automatically over-eat just to get the ratio of protein high enough (ie: 1 part protein per 1 part of "carb"). In other words, it is possible to be simply wasting a lot of the food one collected/bought/transported.

    Quote: "... "... beetles of both sexes actively regulated their intake of protein and carbohydrate to a ratio of 1:1 ... over-ingested the excessive nutrient ... males ate more nutrients but were less efficient at retaining their body lipids than females ...." As per (2014)"Geometric analysis of nutrient balancing in the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)";http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022191014001905

  • (2016) "Food value of mealworm grown on Acrocomia aculeata pulp flour" by Vieira Alves, et.al dried this palm tree fruit pulp & then sifted out particles (flour) of 335 microns to use up to 50% in feed formulations for Tenebrio molitor mealworm larvae with good results. It points to the suitability of creating similar feed ingredients from other varieties of local (this one Brazilian) palm kernel " flour'; &, in theory, other kinds of trees.

    In section "Results & Discussion" authors point out that larval feed formulations should not have too high oil (lipid) contents; keeping fat less than 29% allows adult beetles' abdominal trachea take in air longer. Authors chart out & parse 4 different feed formulations & although half pulp flour + half palm kernels (ie: 100% palm tree orgin feed) grew larvae well that diet was not ideal for beetle longevity.

    My thinking is that a commercial operation can have a separate installation where generate breeding stock mealworm beetles which come from larvae fed a diet that promotes long lived beetles for egg production. In other words: a dual larval strategy where use feedstock like palm flour &/or palm kernel (Fig. 1 in cited study) to cheaply grow larvae for market & a more expensive feed to grow larvae for pupation/ beetles/ eggs used in
    to sustain high productivity. Free full text available on-line via journals.plos.org

  • As always, great info thanks!

    Here is some far less scientific, but we'll recorded personal experiences of my own.

    Millet, wheat and corn powdered produced good weight and survival. Oat followed. Sunflower was terrible, in comparison. These were all single ingredient trials. Some other things used but not worth mention. Here in the tropics the powdered oat retained a lot of moisture from humidity and caused problems. I won't use it again unless in a colder or drier climate.

    Sweet potato, cassava have proven great moisture providers here. I avoid thin skinned moisture sources due to fungi. Cassava will rot after a couple weeks if full round cross sections are given, cutting them in half length wise reduces this. Carrots are expensive and mold magnets in this climate. Using things with good surface protection (skin) against mold is ideal fir moisture. Cactus, like opuntia, are great for this but in the dark are easily infected by bacterial pathogens, so size of moisture supply should be watched.

    I experimented with some weeds as moisture sources with seemingly good success. Simply cutting whole weds and throwing in container. Trouble is due to girth and leaf surface area they dry out very fast compared to well skinned succulent sources, so cleaning is more labor intensive. For this reason I like using poor quality cassava and sweet potato at this time for both cost and ease of maintenance.

    Like you I would like to find a good bedding type source which is readily available and cheap. Wheat in the tropics is cost prohibitive on large scale. Next I will be try rice, corn and sorghum stalks. But so far haven't started those yet. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • @formosa - I know the MIGHTi team (http://mighti.co/) were experimenting with corn stover (stalks and leaves) as a mealworm feed. I haven't seen what their final results were, but they reported that it had been working pretty well. You could probably contact them via the website and ask!

  • Thank you for this thread! This is my first post and real visit to the Open Bug Farm! I am new to meal worm farming (March 2016) with the intention of taking it to a commercial level for human food consumption. I'm in North Central Florida, so your tropics experiences, formosa, are really helpful. I am growing cassava and can easily add sweet potatoes to my permaculture "homestead," thus am pleased to know I have moisture sources already at hand. Same experience with the carrots - mold quickly. The rolled oats I'm currently using do seem to mold, but not wide spread.

    Short term observation: Whole cabbage leaves seem to be the best option so far, especially in the "incubator" bin with fras/eggs. Newly hatched larvae turned it into lace over about 3 weeks and it didn't cause mold. I added another large cabbage leaf several days ago, with a couple of carrot pieces on top. So far, they they have not molded but have been chewed, while in another bin of mostly beetles, the carrots placed at the same time on pieces of cardboard are moldy. Those two bins have a slight difference in bedding, however. The incubator oatmeal was microwaved prior to use, while the other was frozen for several days.

  • Uld4paws & formosa,- I do not commercially raise mealworms & rear the larvae as relative age mates sequentially in several TinyFarm mesh grow bags under lax control for "ideal" temperature/humidity (breeding/eggs get more ideal control). That said I suggest you merely reduce the water of your carrots before placing them in with the larvae (I use radish halves for beetles, you can grow them quickly ).

    Am typing on a tablet so not going to pull up links to my comments on carrots now. After this brief synopsis if you care to investigate my empirical observation & theoretical conclusion please use Forum search function.

    Carbohydrate metabolism generates water as a by-product & "yellow" Tenebrio molitor mealworms thrive on high carbohydrate feed. In my relatively low range ambient humidity the early instars have no real interest in sliced open carrots; it is only when they are older that a lot of them go for sliced open carrots.

    In other words am wasting time putting carrots in among the juveniles & replacing them as trend to mold waiting for full consumption. Now my results may be distinct from yours, because at very high humidity mealworm larvae lose weight because they lose water from their anal tissue membranes.

    I use carrot pulp from a juicer that has not been hydraulically pressed dry; this carrot pulp is placed in moderate amounts directly atop the dry carbohydrate feed ( I have wheat bran). Given to adequately developed instars it is consumed in preference (seemingly) over their bran.

    When the carrot pulp is mostly gone they get another bit; I try not to clump it up in one spot (drop it from a spoon through grow bag opening & push it around a little). What isn't gone seems to be from overloading the grow bag population's consumption capability; while the uneaten carrot pulp just dries out where got churned amidst the bran

    There is no apparent benefit to stirring the fresh pulp into the bran; doing so before it dries out might create niches conducive to microbial activity. In my lower humidity conditions in mesh grow bags I had no mold with pulp when heavily overloaded it; high humidity/solid wall container rearing set ups could require more portion control.

    To make carrot (or any other vegetable) pulp without a juicer just chop up pieces, blend in lots of water, filter out the pulp, hand squeeze pulp in any fabric, keep the carrot juice for human consumption & refrigerate the pulp to dole out to larvae (ideally not very cold). Pulp can be made without a blender by using a grater, pounding the shreds, passively weighting the pulp, hand wringing it in fabric & blotting up retained fluid.

    In closing want to relate that I tried vegetable juice pulp made from greens & carrots with annoying results; the carrot fragments got consumed & the green pulp largely ignored. Although the green juice pulp did not mold before it dried out it was extremely difficult to clean off of the harvested larvae ( by my technique sift/strain/wash/float/skim/wash/boil). By the way, Andrew has posted frass pictures I sent him somewhere on Forum & can see underlying frass bran-like colored overlaid with orange-ish carrot-like colored frass; suggesting late instars will prefer carrots if available (in earlier Forum comment I propose water is not the main reason, although may be wrong).

  • VelaCreations posted (2015) that styro-foam can be part of "yellow" mealworm larvae diet. Figured to mention it since wouldn't be what people think to put into Forum search.

    I have not personally experimented with styro-foam feeding because have good access to plant based feed; nor involved in designing alternative methods. Maybe worth investigating for use in high humidity operations &/or commercial projects; probably need to also develop cost-effective tactics for cleaning larvae involved.

  • Hi all, why is the wheat bran suggested ? what nutrients does it have that attracts the meal worm? and how is this expressed in the resulting meal worm? Does the moisture carrier effect how resulting composition of the meal worm?

  • Hi Stevesteo, - I personally use wheat bran because it is adequate for full life cycles & it is reasonably priced in bulk where I have mealworms now. Furthermore,it is easy to separate off from what wish to collect, except for eggs ( which itself is not a task).

    Forum has a search function box & since some of your questions seem they need context you might find more of the nuances you seek via searching around. For example: sure, diet fed mealworms can be more or less phago-stimulant (enticing appetite); relevant more if working to make up your own special tactics & /or concerned about your target endproduct having unique nutritional composition.

  • Thank you, gringojay, for your experiences with the carrot pulp. I've thought about doing the same or similar, instead of whole carrots. Still experimenting and learning, as well as about how to use this forum. Ideally, I want to be able feed using local products, especially homegrown, as possible.

  • If you use a wood chipper for the carrots they have the right particle size to be fed to mealworms without starting to mold. I know this from personal experience in commercial operations. It's also a good way to process large amounts of vegetables (depending on the wood chipper's capacity of course).

  • edited June 2016

    Hi Gringojay - Don't you have problems with pupation if you use wheat bran only? I encountered large amounts of dead, dried, black mealworms and very unpredictable results upon trying this.

    Edit: maybe the wheatbran I used was degenerated as it was kept in an open-air tub?

  • E-J,- My larvae get all the carrot pulp they want once they start to show interest in it. Bear in mind I am not trying to fine tune my operation & (except for breeding bins) my larvae make do with the indoor humidity/temperatures I allow (larval racks of grow bags just get agricultural shade cloth covering to buffer their environment). My place has central heating & air-conditioning, so they really are not forced to survive at the mercy of extreme weather.

    There are always some dead black larvae at harvest, but never so many to cause concern am losing productivity. My tactical decision not to put energy into keeping the larvae in their ideal relative humidity/temperature is definitely resulting in longer time to pupation. When there seems to be most of them wandering out of their bedding I try to harvest before pupation triggers; so obviously can't standardize their nutritional content my way (just a bit too on the cusp of pre-pupation reallocation of their internal reserves).

    Actually I haven't calculated whether my cheating them on relative humidity/temperature ideal & thus saving expense of controlling these via electric appliances is worse than giving them their optimal conditions, which would require electrical appliances. Let me put it this way: if we did not have to spend much on operational space (structure housing larvae) then the slower procession of larvae sequencing through to harvest stage just means expanding usage of space (ex. I just rack another grow bag when eggs ready even if did not take out a grow bag because next larvae still not ready).

    Labor is also valuable. If the larval rearing space is too vast then worker time spent moving around & not being productive goes up. On the other hand, since electrical appliance controlled environments are most efficient when operating space kept small commercial operations presumably try to maximize use of vertical space & possibly this increases labor (or requires extra up front investment in mechanical equipment for labor efficiency).

  • By the way, I have proposed mealworm larvae benefit from carrots may be from the inositol; rather than the water content. Many people relate they give potato for water. Potato also has inositol (inositol hexa- &/or penta- phosphoric acid). Whether sweet potato has more inositol than other potatoes I have not investigated.

  • @Gringojay they also get coloration out of the carrots (personal observation), probably because of the carotene as was the case with locusts (as described by R. H. Dadd in 1960). I don't know wether this is also the case with potato.

  • I'm curious if anyone has experience using a spritzing bottle to add moisture to the substrate, rather than introducing a separate food - carrots, potatoes, leaves, cactus, etc.? If they are already digesting the wheat bran, or flour, if only enough moisture were added so that the population could remove said moisture before a mold could take hold I don't see why it wouldn't work. At a certain scale it seems like carrots no longer make sense due to price limitations, and a spray bottle (like a foliar spray mister for plants) could be a simple alternative.

  • edited October 2016

    Hi double_ott, - 2 things about moisture may be confusing you. First: the fresh vegetable for moisture (not nutrition), like carrot, is for whenever mealworm larvae want to get some water from the vegetable surface. I agree with you carrots are an expense & have suggested elsewhere in the Forum not worth supplying until the larvae will actually ingest carrots.

    My thinking is that the practice of putting carrots (or other fresh moist vegetable) in with the larvae came from rearing methods that had mixed age larvae in the same bin. Since then the carrots showed consumption by at least some aged mealworm larvae in the colony had mouth parts developed enough to get into the vegetable matter (as opposed to just sucking on the vegetable surface).

    I am raising larvae in separate containers (grow bags) that are age mates hatched within about 7 - 10 days of each other (regulated by breeding tactic of removing adult beetles from a breeding container every 7-10 days) & only give carrots (pulp) when those age mates demonstrate they are eating some. This is confirmed by the appearance of orange colored frass (excrement) falling through the grow bag mesh onto the previously beige colored frass.

    At first I had to experiment with giving the different age mate larvae in their particular grow bag some carrot & eventually settled on what stage age mate larvae in a grow bag were worth giving carrots to. It is particular to my larval rearing environment (relative lower than ideal humidity & temperature ranges) so you would want to experiment in your own conditions to see when worthwhile to give carrots. I am of the opinion that the expense of carrots (or vegetable) at the later stage of mealworm larval development is worthwhile from a nutritional perspective, as discussed elsewhere in Forum.

    Second: my experiences with supplying moisture lead me to suggest you not spray mist water; the droplets are too big; mealworm larvae will not drink like crickets. Also, spraying can be confusing moisture with humidity.

    Relative humidity (desirable) is about the moisture content of the air around the larvae & not the moisture content of the substrate (bedding) or walls. On the walls (& roof) moisture can flow down onto the substrate & on the substrate moisture can foster mold growth (not desirable).

    If you wish to spray to supply moisture for relative humidity then must get a nozzle designed to put out micro-droplets that weigh so little they can suspend in the air. Then a timer to turn the mister on & off to keep from saturating the air with continuous moisture; your water supply has to be able to hold pressure in when mister is off & keep enough pressure when mister turns back on.

    To set the whole thing up you need to take into account the amount of space (area) you wish to raise the humidity in, the air exchange rate in that area & determine what relative humidity you want to create. This is something you can work out through observation & experimentation, but it is not a low technology method (electricity usually used to turn on & off mister valves).

    If you are not connected to a city's water supply then will need to pressurize a pre-filtered water tank; if electric supply in not reliable (like in my "gringo-landia") you will need back up power too . Even if you use city water you'll need to pre-filter the water (likewise if use well water) before it goes into the mister nozzle or minerals in the city water will clog some of the micro-droplet pores.

  • Okay, I understand the technological constraints of adding moisture droplets and thank you for that info.

    I have also noticed the pattern of complete digestion of vegetables at later stages of development. My set up is similar, where I have beetles laying successions of eggs on substrate at weekly intervals. I do have a method for keeping humidity high - an open top 5-gal bucket with a fish tank heater, and so was more speaking to the moisture levels of the food substrate. I understand that if the entire substrate is moistened, then the worms will not be able to consume quickly enough for a mold to catch up.

    What if as a source of moisture I separately moistened some of the bran, or other substrate and introduced only small amounts (equivalent to the ration of carrot otherwise used) at a time? I have also been experimenting with apple scraps left over from cider pressing, and this seems to be a good source of moisture and food for the worms. I'm curious if the high density of sugar in this food substrate could present a problem though.

    Also, I'm curious about your system for moving the beetles around gringojay - my last generation of beetles I kept in a large mesh bag and simply moved it from one tray to another every week. But looking into some of your comments I see that if not supplied with adequate moisture, the beetles will consume eggs which results in a decline of efficiency. I have questions and ideas about optimal infrastructure for egg laying, but maybe this thread is not the place for those.

    Thoughts?

  • edited October 2016

    Apple pulp from pressing is called pomace. The following link's Table 1 will give you 26 different apple varieties % of fructose, glucose, sucrose & malic acid. Insects do respond differently to those 3 different kinds of "sugar" & based on fruit fly research I remember fructose gives the best life span. Malic acid is not a corrosive acid & insects have enzymes that can work on malic acid - it can be considered a desirable food ingredient (insects can & do make malic acid). See (2010) Queji, et. al, "Determination of simple sugars, malic acid and total phenolic compounds in apple pomace by infrared spectroscopy and PLSR", originally published in International Journal of Food Science & Technology http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2010.02173.x/full

    Yellow Tenebrio molitor mealworm are adapted to dry environments & internally reabsorb water their bodies use to excrete soluble waste compounds. The insect malipighian tubes (insect version of our kidneys) gets a water solution from the haemolymph (insect version of our blood & lymph), the urine is then put out at the junction of the mid-gut with the hind-gut, the urine mixes with what is in the mid-gut before entering the hind-gut, moving along into the ileum the water content is re-absorbed & then in the rectum residual water is re-absorbed from what ends up as frass (excrement). In Coleoptera insects & larval Lepidoptera the malipighian tubules have different outputs (near the rectum) in what is classed a crypto-nepheric system.

    Mealworms absorb a good deal of water moisture that is in the air through their rectum & that is why relative humidity is a factor. To me your idea of moistening the substrate will not change that & if you do moisten the substrate it may add labor trying to keep one step ahead of any potential mold colonization.

    Insects are not growing bigger by cell division (embryonic phase does require mitosis cell division up to a certain number of cells) , but rather what is called endo-replication. Endo-replication means a cell cycle is interrupted before division, yet the DNA inside that cell does replicate itself.

    Insect perform endo-cycling of their gut, fat body, maliphighian tubes, trachea, salivary glands & epidermis among other parts. Some cells will go on to get 16 copies of their double strands of DNA & salivary gland cells can endo-replicate so much that one of those cells get up to 2,048 copies of their double strands of DNA (although this data is for a different insect than Tenebrio molitor).

    Point being, that the salivary glands of your mealworm larvae are so important the genome region enters an amplification program to maximize their cells' functional capability. I don't think mealworm larvae need moistened feed substrate for salivary gland cells to perform their role during ingestion.

    When mealworm larvae go for moist vegetables (or fruit, like apple pomace) once they are bigger this is more likely to be taking advantage of diverse nutrients (or the easily assimilated "sugars" of apple pomace) in the moist food that they were not finding as much in their dry grain (bran, flour) diet. In addition the moisture content of that food can be helping the elimination of more un-useable solutes like urate, plant alkaloids, organic molecules, etc. from haemolymph into the malipighian tubes - but their haemolymph water content is under some internal control so they are not designed to periodically use a lot of extra water for "flushing" urine out of their system (they re-absorb water).

    To my way of thinking, if the relative humidity gets really low then supplying vegetable/fruit moisture will be very important. But, then too there is one researcher who found that if the relative humidity gets really high then mealworm larvae can lose weight.

  • There are lots of useful and very interesting information over here. Thank you ! Please check this article explaining how to breed mealworms, there is also a step regarding the preparation of the food substrate. http://www.mealwormsinfo.com/how-to-breed-mealworms/ I am here to learn more, and would also like to have your feedback :)

  • Mealworms can be raised on the flour made out of the fruit from a type of palm tree that grows 8-12 meters tall, can be planted at the rate of 500 trees/hectare. Depending on conditions yield of fruit is 15 - 100 Kg/tree (average = 70 Kg/tree) & if use conservative estimate of 45 kg/tree then from 5th year trees would yield 22 tons/hectare annually.

    Quote: " ... it is possible to breed mealworms in artificial diet ... without compromising the nutritional quality of the larvae ... fruits ... cleaned, pulp and kernel ... separately dried ... 45°C for 48 hours ... crushed ... sieved ... 355μm " 4 different diets were tried ("A" = control, "B" = 25% wheat + 25% soy + 50% pulp flour, "C" = kernel flour instead of 50% pulp & "D" = 50% pulp flour + 50% kernel flour). See (2016) Alves, et. al "Food Value of Mealworm Grown on Acrocomia aculeata Pulp Flour", originally published by open access Journal PLOS; free full text = http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0151275

    50% pulp flour (diet B) was the only diet using A. aculeate flours that allowed an adult mealworm beetle life cycle. However, if only interested in the larvae the kernel flour diets (diets C & D) both lived 130 days. It may (?) be that a commercial operation could operate a dual diet regimen; one diet for rearing reproductive adult beetle stock & another for rearing only larvae on a diet (diets C or D) on a cheaper feed stock.

    Fig. 1data shows on 50% pulp flour (diet B) the larval protein content = 45 gr./100 gr. vs. on control (diet A) larval protein content = 50 gr./100 gr. These 2 diets seemed to create statistically similar larval fat content & Fig. 2 has the comparative lipid (fat) breakdown.

    Palm Identification aid = http://www.palmpedia.net/wiki/Acrocomia_aculeata ... http://idtools.org/id/palms/palmid/factsheet.php?name=Acrocomia+aculeata

    Other names for this same plant = http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2570

  • Cross posting here a link below from Forum thread headed Data Resources. Diets commented on here were formulated with beer yeast, scraps of cookies, spent grain, old bread, potato peels & distilled dried grains (with solubles) of maize.

    Data is fairly extensive & those interested can parse details, or ask if some details are confusing. I'll take the liberty of directing readers attention to Page 5 on page right hand margin where can find small numbers "342 & 343" & on page 6 on left hand margin where can find small numbers "344 - 350" which reference data in Table 6 concerning carrot consumption on different diets.

    I point out this carrot detail because often in the Forum the issue of moist vegetable comes up & it seems that, according to this study data, it is the diet composition which drives larval consumption of some of these kinds of food items (or at least specifically carrot). In other words, some moist vegetable supplemented to "yellow" mealworm larvae are consumed due to an absolute need for moisture, but rather more of a larval attempt to balance a diet.

    It was those "yellow" Tenebrio moitor mealworms on a low protein & high starch (LPHS) diet that ate the most carrots/gram dry matter & authors carrots had 7.9% protein (Table 2) so they suggest carrot consumption is not for moisture as much as it is for dietary balancing. Among "yellow" T. molitor mealworm larvae carrot consumption on the low protein + high starch (LPHS) diet averaged 0.248 gr/100 gr. dry matter ("DM", in other words this is apart from protein & fat dietary components). On the high protein + high starch (HPHS) carrot consumption averaged 0.21 gr./100 gr. dry matter & carrot consumption on the high protein + low starch (HPLS) diet averaged 0.16 gr./100 gr. dry matter.

    This data seems relative to my repeated comments suggesting that "yellow" mealworm larvae do not need vegetable moisture for survival as much as most have read, because metabolism of carbohydrate spins of water internally as a by-product. For purposes of this subject let me consider starch as the dietary consumed carbohydrate & continue trying to explain my impression of the data significance.

    "DM" (dry matter) in cited data is apparently mostly the carbohydrate (starch) dietary component. Since on the high protein + low starch (HPLS) diet the "yellow" Tenebrio mealworm larvae consume the least carrot (0.16 gr/100 gr DM) I propose that this means even on the low carbohydrate (starch) regimen the larvae are generating enough internal water from the lower level of carbohydrate diet used & absorption from relative humidity to do fine (experiments used only 65% relative humidity & kept temperature a mild 28 Celsius, so changing any of these parameters could change the data numbers, but unless raise temperature to very high range or knock down relative humidity significantly I assume the relative trends would hold a similar pattern).

    (2015) research by Broekhoven, et. al "Growth performance and feed conversion efficiency of three edible mealworm species (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) on diets composed of organic by-products", originally published by Journal of Insect Physiology, Vol. 73. One of the research team makes this author's copy available via this free full link (search study name & click on download rectangle under title) = https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dennis_Oonincx/publications

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