Setting-up A Mealworm Culture in easy to follow step by step instructions
1. Plastic containers with good lids.
2. Bran flakes
3. Crust of bread or card and fruit
4. 30 to 50 larger not small Mealworms or 10 Tenebrio beetle's
5. A warm dark place
Take the plastic container and pour the wheat bran all over the bottom of the container until you have a depth of around an inch or two of bran, now add the mealworms in the container, O.K. that was pretty simple.
We need to put some moisture in with them to keep them alive, now either use a crust of bread laid on top then change it, when it starts to dry out.
Or place a piece of cardboard on top of the bran and put half of apple or potato on it, this way the damp fruit does not make the bran go mouldy.
Another way is to lay a piece of hessian sack over the bran and spray water on top with a spray bottle, just be very careful not to wet the sack to much or the whole culture will go off.
The mealworms will keep shredding their skins, until they pupate.
Keep this box in a dark and warm place.
When they have turned into pupae, I remove the pupae to a second plastic box, so they are undisturbed by the mealworms (lava).
This box is set up exactly the same as the first box and the moisture levels are maintained the same, no need to feed these.
After about 18 to 24 days the pupa start to crack open and the young adult beetle appears, watch out for the new beetle's and remove them as quickly as you can, so they don't start feeding on the other dormant pupae's.
Take a third plastic box this will need to be smaller than the other boxes, so it can fit inside the boxes you have used for stages 1 & 2.
This smaller box will need holes drilled at the bottom, big enough for bran to pass through but small enough to keep the beetles in.
This smaller box will need to go inside a fourth empty plastic container.
This is the clever bit! Again put the same amount of bran in the small box as before, add the beetles as they hatch, and let them mate, the female will lay hundreds of eggs in the bran, the more beetles the more eggs you will have.
The adult beetles will eat their eggs if not removed.
So every second day for two weeks lift the smaller box up and shake it like a sieve so all the bran dust and eggs fall into the fourth container, after two weeks of doing this the fourth container will be quite full of bran and most importantly eggs! While all this is going on the beetles will need feeding and kept moist, place a small piece of cardboard on top of the bran lay apples or carrots on the cardboard and let the beetles feed of this, just remove it before you sieve out the bran.
The beetles will only live for two to four weeks.
When you have collected enough bran and eggs in the fourth container take it away and cover the bran with a piece of newspaper or a piece of hessian sack.
Then place the container somewhere dark and warm for 30 to 40 days, you must spray water on the paper or hessian every day to keep the whole culture moist.
After the time is up! It starts all over again.