Mealworms are the larval form of mealworm beetles that feed on a variety of food. They require a temperature of 70-80°F during their entire growth period, which ranges from 6 months to 2 years. Below this temperature, the larvae cannot survive. They are stored in plastic containers that are drilled with tiny holes for air passage.
Mealworms undergo a complete metamorphosis in their life-cycle, that includes the formation of eggs, larva, pupa, and adult beetles. You can rear them at home by keeping them in containers, providing them with ample food, a moisture source, and an organic substrate for their growth. Mealworm habitat differs from species to species.
Habitat of a Mealworm
Their scientific name is alphitobius diaperinus. They are called darkling beetles which are 6mm in length and have a shining body with small yellow hair all over.
Originally from Africa, these are now found all over the world. They prefer to dwell with birds and animals. They are usually found in birds' nests, rodent-infested areas, colonies of bats, grains, and in poultry. They feed on a variety of things, like wheat, soybeans, peas, grains, chicken carcasses, manure, and moribund chicks.
They are also called flour beetles. Their scientific name is tenebrio molitor. They are found around the globe, except in the southern states of United States.
Yellow Mealworms are honey yellow in color with a soft and shiny body, about 18mm to 25 mm long. They do not like disturbances and thus prefer damp places and dark corners. They are usually found in decaying and dead organic matter, stored grains, and spoiled food. They feed on cereal and bakery products such as flour, pasta, wheat bran and cakes.
They are called dark black beetles and are scattered in the eastern and western states of Australia and also in United States. Scientifically called tenebrio obscurus, these beetles are usually found in dingy places like stored plant and animal debris, warehouses and production mills.
Their body color varies from dark brown to black. With slightly hard and flattened bodies, these can grow up to a length of 25mm. Their favorite foods are meat scraps, cereal products, leaves, chopped beef, crickets, and dead insects.
- They are rich in protein and are good food sources for pet birds.
- A female can lay up to five-hundred eggs at a single time.
- They do not drink water as they absorb it from their food sources.
- They are sensitive to the earth's magnetic field.
- They are scared of their predators, so they hide themselves in the burrows of other animals.
- When disturbed, they release a toxic chemical from their scent glands that makes their body color change to brown.
Mealworms feed on organic matter that is not consumed by other organisms in the ecosystem and serve as a good food source for birds and reptiles. In this way, they are beneficial to the ecosystem even though for us, they are the pests that destroy seedlings of plants and cause harm to the farmers.