What are Mealworms?

Potato slices keep earthworms moist.

Mealworms are the larvae of the dark beetle, also known as the Tenebrio molitor. The dark beetle is a holometabolic insect, which means it has four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Mealworm is a dark beetle in larval form, where it stays for 90 to 114 days, before turning into a pupa.

Mealworms hatch from bean-shaped white eggs 1/20 of an inch (1.27 mm) long. When hatched, the larvae are white, but will turn honey-yellow or yellowish-brown in a few days. Mealworm, when mature, will measure 1.25 inches (3.18 cm) in length. Their bodies are smooth and hard, with a shiny appearance.

Whole wheat flour can be used to raise mealworms used in fishing.

The main uses of mealworms are as food for reptiles and birds and as fishing bait. Mealworm is rich in protein, which is why it is a favorite food among reptile and bird owners. Worms can be purchased at pet stores, where they are sold in a container with oatmeal or bran. This is used as food and bedding for the earthworms. This will usually cost around twenty-five dollars for a thousand worms.

Mealworms can be used as bait to catch largemouth bass.

When used as a fishing lure, many commercial suppliers feed the mealworms a juvenile hormone that helps them grow to abnormal sizes, making them more attractive to fish. Yellow mealworm bait is often used in fishing for perch, trout, bluegill and whitefish. They are especially popular with ice fishermen.

Many people choose to create their own worms as it is so easy and it can also be fun. By growing your own worms, the cost per thousand worms is reduced to ten cents, which includes food and bedding. It guarantees an endless supply of lures for avid fishermen.

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To raise mealworms, you will need a plastic container, whole wheat flour or wheat bran, potatoes and a starter culture of about 500 mealworms. You can buy the starter culture online. Many pet supply stores also sell a starter culture, but it usually costs about twice as much as buying it online.

Fill the plastic container with about an inch of whole wheat flour and add the worm culture. Place a few thin slices of potato in the box to moisten. Keep the temperature around 23.89 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit). In a few weeks, the worms will turn into pupae, followed by beetles, approximately three days later. Transfer the beetles to another container to breed and lay approximately 500 eggs each.

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