Newbie question about mealies...

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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Aug 15, 2010
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Hello friends,

I've finally set up a small 100 worm colony, and have been observing them since yesterday.

Though I have a newbie question, not sure if you could help.

The worms mostly dig and move around under the oat... (Can see some of them, as well as their traces, by looking at the bottom of the container.)

But many of them now are just hanging around on the surface. They are somewhat curled up, sometimes partially buried, sometimes fully exposed, and just 'lay' there. I inspected them and touched / poked them, and all of them moved in response, so I am sure they're not dead.

I'm just wondering if you have any ideas what is possibly 'up' with them?

Are they molting? Pupating? Something bothering them?



I put a few carrots in there too, but they don't seem to nibble on it yet.




Thanks!
 

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asher

Arachnosquire
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I keep a couple of Tenebrio molitor cultures (are they what you have?) and I've never tried putting carrot in, although I'm sure they'll like it. I occasionally put in a slice of bread with one side moistened, which I believe is also good.

As for the ones at the top, they're probably going to pupate soon, particularly if they're on the bigger side. I've never actually observed one pupate so I wouldn't know for sure, but I'm sure there's nothing to worry about!

They should be very easy to keep - it's quite difficult to kill them! As long as they have enough bran/oats to eat they should keep away from eating each other, although if they begin to run low on food the adults do eat their pupae and other adults. I clean mine out three or four times a year by putting the whole tank through a sieve, letting the chewed-up food fall to the bottom and leaving the insects on the top, although I don't think you need to do this.

As for temperature, keeping them slightly above room temperature should mean they reproduce lots and lots, so within a month or so you should have a very healthy population of mealworms!

Good luck!
 

Offkillter

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Jun 18, 2010
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It sounds to me like you have normal meal worms.I will feed mine carrots and lettuce and they do just fine.I recently had some pupate and they become pretty cool little black beetles that make awesome feeders for smaller T's.Good luck.
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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Thanks for the advice, guys!

Well, they haven't been chewing on the carrots, so that got me wondering. Though I realize that generally speaking, oats have a certain level of humidity as well, because I've microwaved it before, and the cover showed condensation...

Yes, the worms are a bit on the large end, so that's why I was wondering if they were going to pupate. More and more of them just lay on the surface, slightly curled up - in the pupae posture. I'll follow them closely, and see if they are pupating indeed.
 

asher

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If you manage to get footage/photos of them pupating, please share! I've never seen a larva form a pupa before :-(
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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I'm closely monitoring them every day, so I definitely will try to document on what's going on!
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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If you manage to get footage/photos of them pupating, please share! I've never seen a larva form a pupa before :-(
You are such a luck bringer! ;)

I stepped out for the afternoon, came back, and found one one of the worms just molted into a pupa!

As promised, here are a few pictures...

It occasionally wiggles, but largely stays still - the molt you see next to the carton was it a few hours ago!
 

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asher

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Wow, fantastic photos, thanks!

The pupa will wriggle a bit if you touch it and might flip over every so often, but they're a great indicator of whether or not you have enough food, since you sometimes find the adults eating them :D

Anyway I hope you find the mealworms interesting, they're fantastic for showing complete metamorphosis and very easy to keep!
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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Yes!

Quite interesting so far indeed. I'm surprised that they decided to pupate 3 days after I bought them from the store... lol

I was just trying to figure out how people manage, some separate, others don't, and leave the pupa and the beetles and everything else in the same tank.

I assume they will only eat each other if they don't have enough food right?
 

Offkillter

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Mine all live together with zero cannibalism.I don't expect you'll have any problems.
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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Mine all live together with zero cannibalism.I don't expect you'll have any problems.
Sounds great.

From what I understand, as long as there's enough food and moisture, the cannibalism should be minimal.

I've put carrots and lettuce in there, though now they mostly hide under the cardboard, and the rest are all curled up on the surfac.e.. they seem to be all pupating at the same time... lol
 

asher

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Sounds great.

From what I understand, as long as there's enough food and moisture, the cannibalism should be minimal.

I've put carrots and lettuce in there, though now they mostly hide under the cardboard, and the rest are all curled up on the surfac.e.. they seem to be all pupating at the same time... lol
They're probably all a similar age if you bought them from the shop. You could try separating them, but it's a lot of effort for not very much gain. Mine are fine together so long as I feed them enough. Also, you might want to clean out the tank a few times a year, just to stop their chewed-up food building up, but that's your choice.
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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I separated them for now, for no real reason. I'd probably leave them all together eventually.

Pretty much did it for observational purposes.

They're all pupating together.. it's very interesting!
 

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Stewjoe

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They tend not to pupate when their bunched up together in a little store container because their always disturbing each other. It looks like they were ready to go when you bought them and they stuffed themselves and pupated when condition were good.
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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Hello friends,

Just to give you an update, the beetles are coming...!

I already have 3, one's slowly breaking out of its former shell as we speak.

I notice that they start off very light tan, then turn brown.

Though I notice that since last night, they've been a little sluggish - not walking about much, mostly staying still, as their color darkens.

Is that normal?
 

NevularScorpion

Arachnoangel
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Cool thread, I'm planning to start raising my own meal worms too! keep us updated :)
 

insect714

Arachnoknight
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Nov 18, 2005
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I recently also started a small colony using 50 worms and and after feeding some of the worms off I was left with about 20 beetles from those 20 I was able to separate out close to 300 baby worms, and have a the rest that were to small to separate still growing in a differ. container which has about 200 more mico tiny worms in it at the moment.
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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Congratulations! I can't wait for mine to start laying more eggs. I bought 100. I hope I won't get overrun too early, hehe.
 

Mperor

Arachnopeon
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Hey friends,

Need your advice of something...

Should I offer a 'dark' spot for the meals and beetles to hide, or not?

I notice that I've put them, and most of the beetles spend their life time underneath the toilet paper rolls...

And they miss all the carrots laying around side of their caves...

Or should I assume they're smart enough to walk around and find the carrots?

I just noticed the first case of cannibalism, of one darkling beetle biting on a freshly molted beetle... Not sure if it was thirsty or something...

Any thoughts?

To cover or not to cover?
 

insect714

Arachnoknight
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I have my containers on the shelves of one of those Sterilite Cabinets (like for organizing a room) which I keep outside so they get some light during the day, but it is diffused lighting due to the tan color of the plastic walls and they are out and active until I open the doors to feed (the moist foods) and they seem to drag most of the non-bedding food under with them when they go under.
 
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