Streamlined Cleaning to Keep Your Mealworm Farm Healthy and Productive
Lets take a look how to care for your mealworms to keep them happy and odor free.
- Wet food should be added every few days (or as required) and the old food should also be removed at the same time.
- Dry food should be added as required, usually once per week or every second week. The large mealworms will have the greatest need for food and water.
- The remains of dead mealworms, beetles or pupa should be removed to prevent mold infestations. This can be done using a sieve or by hand (see below for more details).
- At every molt mealworms will leave behind a brown skin. Once every few weeks this should be removed by hand or using a cat litter poo scoop or a sieve.
- Frass should be removed as required, usually every 3-4 weeks. If however if you plan to use your mealworms quickly it may not be even necessary to remove the frass.
- You can get a variety of sieves with different mesh sizes to filter out different fractions of the frass. For instance a larger mesh size will filter out beetles and pupa but leave substrate and eggs behind. A smaller mesh will separate out mealworms/meal and remove frass. The picture shows a variety of potential sieves including; a black pool filter, a green lettuce spinner, a metal sieve, or a bucket with holes drilled into it.
- In the pupa and beetle container (Container 2), the eggs are laid in the substrate or reside in the poo. For this container, you should not throw out all the frass and keep enough so the eggs remain.
Odor and Disease
- If your colony has a bad fermenting or ammonia smell, it is likely the frass has gone moldy and needs replacing. If the container has a major mold infestation, you need to remove any live animals and start over.
- Move any mealworms/pupa/beetles to a new clean container and start again.
- Throw out the old mealworm mixture and do not use any of it to start the new colony, even if it means throwing out potentially viable eggs.
- Clean the old container with soap and hot water or natural disinfectant. Natural disinfectants include mixing water with, vinegar; melaleuca (tea tree) or eucalyptus oil.
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