Raising Mealworms for Your Lizards

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If you want to ensure that your lizards grow healthily, then you need to nourish them properly. One of the best meals that you can feed to your lizards is mealworms. And there are many advantages which both you and your pet can enjoy if you decide to choose mealworms as part of their healthy diet plan.

First of all, mealworms are convenient feeder insects. You can easily purchase them at local pet stores. In fact, you can even purchase them online. However, if you want to make your life a lot easier and more convenient, then raising mealworms for your lizard is the right option. You need to learn how to properly raise mealworms, especially if you are a breeder.

Fortunately, raising mealworms for your lizards is pretty easy. There’s no need for you to purchase expensive equipment, tools, and other materials just to raise them. In this article, we will be discussing how you can successfully raise mealworms for your lizards. The instructions are very easy to follow, and we’re hoping that you’ll find them very useful.

Starting a Colony

Different mealworm breeders have different ways of multiplying these feeder insects. The key to raising them is to ensure that you provide them the right enclosure and that you monitor their health regularly. Although it’s not necessary that you monitor them intensely, you still have to make sure that the environment is conducive for them to live, grow, develop, and reproduce. Here are some items that you need to have before you start raising mealworms.

Suitable Enclosures

You need to provide suitable bins or plastic tubs. Make sure that the tub has smooth sides to prevent any escape. If you want to start a large colony, then we suggest that you use 66-quart plastic storage. It’s also recommended that you choose shallow bins that have smooth walls. Of course, you can also use glass enclosures. Keep in mind that these mealworms can scape or climb out; therefore, you have to ensure that the enclosure doesn’t have any edges where they can climb.

Some breeders also use 10 gallons or 38.9 L pet aquariums, and this will do just fine as well. Also, don’t forget that these enclosures need to have tops that have holes where the wind can flow freely. Create tiny vents or air holes on the top portion of the lid. Always remember that it’s not a good idea to use wooden containers when raising mealworms since they are able to eat through it.

Preparing the Best Substrate

After deciding what kind of enclosure you’re going to use, the next thing that you need to do is to prepare the substrate. The best substrates that you can use are cereals and grains. These mealworms love grains, and you can use it as their substrate. If you search online, you’ll also find different kinds of mealworm substrates available today. Be sure that you only choose substrates that are safe and healthy for your feeder insects.

There are also mealworm raisers who create their own substrate. The advantage of making your substrate mixture is that you get to save a lot of money, and you get to control or boost your mealworm’s health through feeding. The most common substrate mixture that you can use are cereals, corn flakes, and bran flakes. You must grind the substrate into a fine powder. The importance of grounding the mixture is that it makes picking your mealworms out easier. It’s also not surprising to find breeders who add other ingredients into the substrate, such as cricket chows or bone meals.

Picking the Best Mealworms

There are a lot of pet stores or online shops out there that sell mealworms. However, you need to remember that not all pet stores sell healthy mealworms. Always make sure that you double-check the reputation and the background history of the store before you buy anything from them. You also have to make sure that you read reviews and testimonials first from people who have bought mealworms from that particular store. If you think that the store has received too many bad reviews or negative feedback, then it’s time for you to look for other stores.

For those who wanted to use mealworms immediately to feed their lizards right away, it’s recommended to purchase 3,000 to 5,000 pieces. This is because mealworms may take months to reproduce, and it’s natural for this population to get depleted. However, if you don’t mind waiting for these mealworms to reproduce, then we recommend that you start as few as 100 to 150 pieces.

Setting the Right Environment

Now that you’ve prepared an enclosure for them and that you already have the mealworms ready, the next thing that you need to do is to provide them the right growing environment. One of your goals as a mealworm breeder or raiser is to ensure that you keep the enclosure at a steady temperature. You should provide them 21 to 24C or 70 to 75F temperature.

Pick a spot inside your home or property where you can easily achieve consistent temperature. Also, it’s very important that you don’t place the enclosure near harmful chemicals or any contaminants that can ruin the health, growth, and development of your mealworms. Most mealworm breeders prefer to place them inside a garage or basement for optimal conditions.

If you live in a cold environment, then you must buy a heater and place it near your containers. Bear in mind that cold temperature prevents them from reproducing. This is why it’s crucial that you purchase thermometers and that you still them near or inside the container – this ensures that you’re providing the right temperature and that you’re prepping them for reproduction.

Keeping them Healthy

In order for your mealworms to reproduce, you have to keep them healthy. While these feeder insects are not picky, they are a lot happier and healthier if you provide them food or substrate that are organic. Aside from the food substrate, you can also throw in some celery bottoms or carrot tops. In this way, your mealworms will have a healthier digestive process. You have to keep them gut loaded.

By giving them vitamins and other supplements is also advisable since this helps them grow and develop rapidly. Also, remember that you’re feeding these mealworms to your lizards, and a healthy mealworm means healthy food for your lizards. If you want these mealworms to be high in nutritional value, then you have to feed them nutritious food. Keep in mind that mealworm malnutrition can happen, and this is not good for your lizards. Remember that you’re supplying your lizard pets right nutrition of you’re feeding your mealworms properly.

It’s also important to note that these mealworms are voracious feeders, and they can easily consume any vegetables that you throw inside the enclosure. If there are any scraps found inside the enclosure, then you must clean them. You don’t want molds inside the enclosure since this can be very unhealthy for the mealworms and your lizards. Also, you want to make sure that you avoid any pests or fruit flies in the area.

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Learning from the Experts

You also have to learn what other experts say about raising mealworms for your lizards. This should provide you more ideas or information on how you can raise them properly. Perhaps you have a friend or a family member who has been raising mealworms for quite some time now and so don’t hesitate to ask for tips or pieces of advice from these people.

Reading books or online articles is also beneficial since this helps you become a better mealworm raiser. Who knows, perhaps instead of just raising mealworms for your pet lizards, you’ll also be able to sell it to your friends and families. Raising mealworms successfully is truly a rewarding venture.  You’ll definitely be able to save a lot of money, and at the same time, it’s also a business opportunity.

Additional Tips

If you want to boost the breeding process of these mealworms, you have to provide them higher humidity levels. This should not be a problem for people who live in a drier climate. However, if you’re living in the colder spot of the planet, then you have to buy reptile hygrometers and heaters to ensure that you are able to adjust the humidity levels. Many experts recommend that you buy common mealworms such as Tenebrio Molitor. They are best for starters since they are small but can grow and develop faster. You can expect female mealworms to lay around 500 eggs and takes about 4 to 20 days to hatch. You’ll also find giant mealworms being promoted in the market today, and we don’t recommend that you purchase them since they are treated with growth hormones. You don’t want your pet lizards to be ingesting a meal that is loaded with synthetic chemicals. Again, a healthy mealworm means a healthy meal for your lizards.

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