hedgehog chow time!
illustration of mealworm larva and beetle
meal beetles, adult mealworm beetles
mealworm Al sleeping
mealworm pupa, pupae
hedgehog on the prowl
mealworms, mealworm larva
mealworm Al is ready to build
mealworm farm container
Professor M.
mealworm Al is a business worm too!
Mealworms are an easy to keep food source for Rodents, Reptiles, Birds, Fish, and other animals.
They are easy to breed and exciting to observe as they morph from eggs, to larva, to adult beetles!
Mealworms take up very little space and they reproduce quickly.
Read this page to learn how to raise your own mealworms at home or in the classroom.
What is a Mealworm?
Phylum, Arthropoda; Class, Insecta; Order, Coleoptera
Identifying Features

Mealworm (larva) average an inch in length. They have a tough yellowish brown
exoskeleton and are cylindrical. The larval stage (referred to generally as mealworms)
is worm-like and somewhat hardened for burrowing. The egg is white. The pupa is 1/2
to 3/4" long, white initially then darkening just before the beetle emerges. Length of the
life cycle is 3-5 months. The larval stage may molt as many as 20 times.
The beetles and larvae eat decaying leaves, sticks, grasses and occasionally new plant growth.
As general decomposers, they also eat dead insects, feces and stored grains.

Mealworms live in areas surrounded by what they eat under rocks, and logs, in animal burrows
and in stored grains. They clean up after plants and animals, and therefore can be found
anywhere where "leftovers" occur. Mealworms prefer darkness and to have their body in contact
with an object.

Many predators eat mealworms including rodents, lizards, predatory beetles, spiders, and birds.
Let’s get Started!  
1. One Dozen Live Mealworms from your local pet shop.
2. A small plastic container with lid, about 6 inches square by 2 inches deep.
3. Oatmeal, cornmeal, or specialized feed mixes.
4. An automatic humidity controller or some slices of moist carrot to keep humidity in
the container at the proper level. A moist sponge also works well.   

Putting it all together:
1. Drill or cut a few small ¼” air holes in the lid of the container.  
2. Fill the container to about ¼ to ½ inch deep with feed mix.
3. Place mealworms in the container.
4. Place the humidity controller or a few slices of moist carrot in the container and put
on the lid.
5. Keep the container at room temperature.  Be sure to check humidity levels and
clean the containers regularly.  Nature will do the rest!  Soon you will see pupae, then
full-grown beetles which will lay eggs of their own!
6. Note:  If the feed becomes dark or moldy then remove it and reduce humidity.
Never leave the container in direct sunlight.

Handling  & Storing Mealworms
To pick up mealworms, use a plastic spoon or a 3x5" card to scoop them up.  When
moving mealworms, keep your hands over the container or table to avoid dropping the
mealworms on the floor.  To store mealworms, keep them in a refrigerated container
between 43-53 degrees F (6–12 degrees C), again, with bit of feed and a piece of
moist carrot for good humidity.  This method can keep mealworms dormant for weeks
until needed.     
Make Money from Home
You can turn raising mealworms into your own easy money-making business! Talk to
bait shops, pet stores, and other retailers in your area about raising mealworms for
them to sell to their customers.