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Meal worm farming guide

Hi fellow bug farmers,

I would like to announce the launch of the wiki guide of how to raise meal worms.

We count on everyone to build this first wiki guide of the openbugfarm and please share your expertise editing the page.

Right now the page is pretty simple and largely incomplete, but it is the first step towards a guide that could be used for everyone.

Here it is: https://github.com/TinyFarms/OpenBugFarm/wiki/Meal-worm-farming-guide

Cheers
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Comments

  • Hi @Allen, looking good... but I have no idea how to add my ideas. Is there a few simple tricks to it you could share? :-c
  • Hey @Allen, fantastic work! I'll put together some index pages so that we link to this from the front page.

    I can see the wiki having two main sections in the immediate future. One would be this sort of content - community best practices around farming particular species. The other will be documentation about the actual Open Bug Farm kits. Stuff we learn and document in the first section will eventually make its way into the second!
  • @kerri, first you'll need to sign up for a Github account at https://github.com/. Then you can just head to the wiki at https://github.com/TinyFarms/OpenBugFarm/wiki/Meal-worm-farming-guide and start making edits!
  • Right, I added a home page, with a link to an "Insect Species Guides" index, which in turn links to the Mealworm page:

    https://github.com/TinyFarms/OpenBugFarm/wiki

    @Allen, I think the page you created will eventually be the hub page for mealworm information, with all the particular areas (material, substrate, conditions, etc.) broken out into individual pages so it doesn't get too long. I'll work on adding more information over the next few days!
  • edited February 2014
    Great work guys! I'm so excited! =))
  • Oh @dansitu, what the *?* is a Repository name? do I just make it up? or should it be about the wiki site??? This stuff does my head in... won't go further till you advise me. :-t
  • @dansitu that's fine, we need to add more info before broke into detailed pages.

    This wiki seems promising :D

    @kerri you should add the comments according to the sub-section theme, but you are free to add novel content and sections too, in fact that would be great. This is an embryonic stage of the guide, so it will change a lot until it is completed (never finished).

    @kerri, you can go directly to the wiki page and start editing, do not need to worry too much. This is easy.
  • Nooooooooooooooooooo! What does "sub-section theme" mean? What are "novel content and sections"? But they want a Repository name to sign me up! Looks like I need to let other people do that shit... honest, I have an arty brain - hehe. I'll let you guys do that stuff. :-@ let me just watch on.
  • @kerri it really not difficult, I use Github for the first time yesterday when I add the content. I am sure you can do it too. But I surely respect your position.

    The sub-section can be anything, like substrate type, pests, harvesting. Regarding novel content, it is just the text you write telling other users something you know that is worthy to share.

    Arty brains are awesome to create interesting things, you can also help correcting the English, since it is not my native language :)
  • Hey @Kerri, I don't exactly remember the Github signup process, but if it's asking for a Repository name I think you can use pretty much anything you like - it won't matter for editing the wiki.
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    So, I bought all the preliminary stuff for setting up the farm, as you can see (hopefully) from the pictures. I am waiting on the bedding/feed as well as the carrots and the stock. It was recommended to me, from Harman Singh Johar of World Ento, that I start wit 5,000 worms. What I am debating doing is getting 2,500 regular mealworms and 2,500 super worms. I am contemplating raising the super worms in one 3-drawer system and the mealworms in the other, and keeping comparative notes as I farm. I am wondering if superworms taste differently than regular mealworms, in addition to a bunch of other questions.

    Aside from that, another concern I have is about roaches. I live in Southeast Georgia. It does not matter how clean your environment is, roaches will find a way to live there and be super annoying. I know I am not going to be able to fight them off completely, so what can I do to keep them from overrunning the farm once it's started?
  • Okay, for mealworm bedding I found this: http://www.ghann.com/store/store_product_detail.cfm?Product_ID=37&Category_ID=2

    What do you think about it in terms of affordability? A 5lb bag is $8.00
  • $1.60/lb is fairly expensive for wheat bran. We buy organic wheatbran in bulk from health food stores for <$1.00/lb, and if you are willing to buy a lot you can get large bags (50lb) for as low as $0.50/lb from feed suppliers
  • @HeatherSayyah, regarding roaches, I guess you could just try to keep the tops of the containers screened off. If they can't get in, they can't cause trouble!
  • And we've been wondering about superworms ourselves - we have yet to raise any.
  • Thanks for all of the suggestions...will try another batch of meal worms after this sad lot run their cycle. I have possibly enough beetles to let breed and build up slowly. I can have patience here because my crickets are doing enough to keep me happy. $-)
  • I am going to try raising superworms for sure. A contact from the Missouri Entomophagy facebook page, Michael Calabrese said he has raised superworms. For taste, he prefers the regular mealworms.
  • @kerri, let us know how it goes - I'm sure you'll get enough of a second generation out of those beetles (each one lays hundreds of eggs). Keep a good eye on the level of humidity; maybe buy a cheap combined temp/humidity sensor? This one is only USD$3!

    @HeatherSayyah, very cool, I'm excited to hear about how they differ.
  • http://www.georgiacrickets.com/Departments/Retail-Worms/Superworms.aspx

    Right now Flukers is out of superworms and so is Gahns Cricket Farm in Georgia. Georgia Crickets may have them in stock, I just have to call them and confirm. Superworms are notably more expensive than regular mealies.

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    I got them all initially set up. I had a question for whoever can answer. In previous posts, it was mentioned that cardboard is a bad idea because the mealies eat it...and well, we don't want to eat cardboard. So I was trying to think of alternatives. I was thinking it would be nice if they made egg cartons out of oatmeal or wheat bran. but I don't think they do. so I ruled out rice paper because of whatever else it might have in it. And then I thought of whole-wheat toast. Would whole wheat toast work for hiding places for the mealies to feel secure and improve health?

  • As long as the toast is quite dry, that sounds like a great idea... I'll try it, for that matter I'm sure it would be great for my crickets as well. =D>

  • We've found that you don't necessarily need to give the mealworms anywhere to hide; they're happy to crawl in amongst their feed. Crickets are usually given egg carton because they are more territorial and need some space to tuck themselves away. If you want to give them something to hide on anyway, I don't know if egg carton will even be a problem for mealworms - it only matters if they actually chew on it, and they're not as voracious chewers as crickets.

  • Your farm is looking great, though! How many worms do you have in there?

  • @dansitu, I purchased about 4,000 starting out and placed 2,000 in each drawer. I started counting the dead as I pick through the drawers. I want to keep track of the death toll as a health monitor. It hasn't gotten terribly hot or cold here lately, the lowest temp has been about 69 degrees. The total death toll was about 248 for today, and I'm not sure why the count is so high. That is total between the two "colonies." To avoid flooding this forum with photos, I started a blog. I realized my photo flooding is a bit obnoxious. I cannot figure out why there are so many deaths. Anyways, the address to the blog is: http://mealiefarm.blogspot.com/

    @kerri, I was thinking about the whole wheat toast ideas and came up with an idea. You know those tortilla maker things? ( http://www.amazon.com/Non-Stick-Tortilla-Shell-Makers-Set/dp/B001RDN2EA ) Well, if you used something similar to that -- like two muffin pans with bread in between -- to bake the bread slices in the oven, you could make whole-wheat toast cups for the mealies and/or crickets.

    @dansitu, I am experamenting with the egg cartons still. Colony A seems to really like them, and colony B doesn't seem to give a crap.

  • edited March 2014

    Heather: (perhaps you could cut & paste your comment above into the thread about egg cartons - would be good there for others interested in this subject). Funny about the two colonies being different... The toast has been a hit with my mealy beetles. - I also had a high death rate in my worms and could never work out why. Still, I have a 20+ beetles out of 1000 worms to breed from, so it can't get too bad for you. (Look to earlier posts to see my whinges!) They actually went all quiet after about a month and there was no squirming writhing mass of worms any more -they have never come lively since. I swear I did everything right. X( . Let's not get into that here though because I'm sure you'll be fine. Heather, if you do the tortilla thing, let us know, sounds good for crickets which really need their privacy (shy little devils).

  • WEIRD THING! Any one remember my post 6 wks? ago where I dropped my newly bought 1000 mealworms onto my pale colored carpet and had to pick them all up? Of course I missed some... Now, lat few days I enter that room I scoop up to 10 or so beetles from the floor. There is NO WAY they are escaping from the drawers so I can only conclude that those missed worms have survived in the carpet fiber and are now appearing as beetles that I can see because they are black and contrast with the color of the carpet. How did they live without food or special care when so many of my 'crop' failed? Hilarious! :))

  • That's amazing, I hope they haven't been eating your carpet!

  • @Heather Your setup looks really good! I have about 700g mealworms and need to put them in something more suitable soon. I wasn't planning on breeding them at the moment because I don't really have any space, but I also haven't managed to do much cooking recently, so they're just sitting around in a tub.

    I like the idea of getting a glue gun and making something quite substantial. Haven't had a chance to look at your blog yet, but look forward to seeing what you've done.

  • @Jenny you can keep your worms dormant in the refrigerator (you can store them quite densely when you do so they don't take up much space), just pull them out to warm up and feed them about once a week.

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