Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle. Because they are used to feed birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, and used as bait for certain kinds of fishing, they are needed in large quantities. Buying mealworms in bulk is the most cost-effective way to acquire them, aside from growing your own. Live mealworms, ranging in size from mini to giant, require extra care in shipping. Dried and canned mealworms, also available in bulk, might be a suitable alternative, depending on your personal preferences.
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Seek out farms that breed mealworms. They are run by specialists who know the particulars of the business. Alternative places to purchase mealworms include veterinary supply stores and pet stores. Also, look for local breeders through organisations connected to your particular kind of animal. For example, if you are feeding reptiles, find your local herpetological society. A member might be a mealworm breeder.
Packaging is important because the temperature must be taken into account during shipping to ensure the mealworms arrive alive. Warm packs might have to be added during winter months and cold packs during summer months.Optimum shipping temperature is 5.55 to 12.7 degrees C. Look for a company that will monitor temperature conditions and provide the correct packing. Same-day shipping is important. Reputable sellers will offer a live guarantee policy.
Unpack live bulk mealworms upon arrival. Consider putting the shipping container in a refrigerator for an hour or so in warm weather before unpacking to slow down the mealworm activity. To prevent escape, open the package outdoors. Tip the contents into a large plastic bucket. Take care to get all the mealworms out of the shipping container. Once all seems fine, transfer the mealworms to the proper storage container. They can easily be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. However, if you wish to keep them alive longer, leave them in a container at room temperature.
Canned and dried mealworms can also be purchased in bulk. Canned mealworms are convenient and, if packed in natural juices, provide a realistic flavour and taste without the squirming. Like canned mealworms, dried mealworms are cheaper, easier to store, have a longer shelf life and are easier to use than live mealworms. Breeder kits are another option for purchase, if you prefer to try to create your own supply.
Purchasing and packaging tips
Tips and warnings
- An unexplained mealworm shortage in 2008--some purveyors suspected bad grain might be killing the young mealworms--meant several sellers just didn't have live mealworms available. E-mail or call before placing an order if you want added assurance.
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