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Bird Watching: Dried Meal Worms

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Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 4, 2011
11:54 AM

Post #8736689

I couldn't find a post regarding this. I am wondering if any of you had success in getting birds to eat the dried meal worms? I am not sure I am ready to deal with the live ones yet. Worms are good in the ground, not in my house in storage until used! :) Is there any trick to getting birds to eat them, special feeders and whatnot?

Thanks for any help.
pelletory
Marlton, NJ

August 4, 2011
11:59 AM

Post #8736701

Hi Chillybean, Just speaking for myself here. All birds including Wrens would not touch the dried mealworms I put out.

Live mw's do have some special feeders you can buy like the caged type.
reddirtretiree
Norman, OK

August 5, 2011
5:00 AM

Post #8738171

I tried the dry worms and had zero takers.

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 12, 2011
7:54 AM

Post #8751945

Oh, that is disappointing. Well, we have done some strange things for the birds, maybe I just need to break down and try some live ones. I'll see who might have some around here. I'd hate to start and then find out they are no longer in stock.
minnesippi
Oakdale, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 16, 2011
7:36 PM

Post #8760405

pet stores that sell lizards always have mealies in stock.
I bought a "huge" tub of dried and not a one was touched. Robins may have nibbled on them when there were babies above the security light, but aside from that - nothing with the dried ones.
If you have the live ones in a dish with a lip (like that of a small sherbet container - not shallow like a margarine lid) they will stay in the lid. But once the birds find them, you wont have to worry about them getting out - they wont last long enough.
And any extras, keep in the container they come in in the door of your fridge. They will last longer and not turn into flies then. :)
Flicker
Covington, LA
(Zone 8b)

August 16, 2011
8:05 PM

Post #8760477

I used to raise them in my classroom. We had a terrarium with lizzards and frogs to feed. I used a plastic shoe box, filled it with dry oatmeal and pieces of fresh apple. Pour the mealies on top. They ate the oats and apples-and thrived. Our pets were totally spoiled being hand fed. I do wonder how they did once released into the yard.
The kids loved it.
People are successful feeding bluebirds with live meal worms. You might hand tame wrens with such a treat.

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 27, 2011
4:53 PM

Post #8780138

Thanks for the replies. I haven't been to the pet store yet to see what they have. I just finished a book about a woman who kept a barn owl and had to keep mice on hand to feed it. So live meal worms aren't so bad. :)
minnesippi
Oakdale, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 27, 2011
5:02 PM

Post #8780152

We had 21lizards at one point and raised rats, mice and crickets. Always had mealies on hand too. Thats how i know they last longer in the fridge. Most of what comes in the container of dries ones is shedded skin. Which is really deceptive in my opinion. But if you havent raiesed them, you dont know any different.
Bait stores would have them too. Or you can order online as well.
Flicker
Covington, LA
(Zone 8b)

January 1, 2012
11:00 AM

Post #8950081

I neglected to mention that live mealworms reproduce well in the oatmeat-apple shoebox. The apple hunks should be changed when they dry up. This is the mealworms source of liquid...so it is necessary for life.

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

July 5, 2012
6:15 AM

Post #9193658

Regarding my original post... I am ready for live mealworms and my husband is resigning himself to it. And Bluebirds are not even the reason, but Robins. They are struggling so much to find food this year with the drier weather. I was able to only get one small container yesterday at PetSmart.

I posted another thread about my search for more. I just wanted to update you on this thread.
minnesippi
Oakdale, MN
(Zone 4a)

July 5, 2012
6:39 AM

Post #9193678

you can buy them in bulk online - shipping is reasonable.
jomoncon
New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a)

July 5, 2012
6:42 AM

Post #9193683

[quote="Chillybean"]Regarding my original post... I am ready for live mealworms and my husband is resigning himself to it. And Bluebirds are not even the reason, but Robins. They are struggling so much to find food this year with the drier weather. I was able to only get one small container yesterday at PetSmart.

I posted another thread about my search for more. I just wanted to update you on this thread.
[/quote]

I feed dried mealworms to my chickens and they just love them. I've found the cheapest place to get them is at Lowe's. About $5 for a plastic container that holds 2 cups.

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

July 5, 2012
6:43 AM

Post #9193684

Minnesippi, That is what my other post is about, the trial of trying to order online right now. Basically it is too hot for any to be shipped.
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1269401/
koshki
Grosse Pointe Shores, MI
(Zone 6a)

July 5, 2012
1:12 PM

Post #9194191

Chillybean, I buy the dried meal worms at Lowes too. Everybody here eats them. I even put some in a covered bell with the top pushed way down so the chickadees can have them to themselves, while the larger birds eat them off a tray feeder up on my feeding pole. I'd give the dried ones a try first, just to see what happens. The dried worms are usually the first thing they deplete when I refill my feeders.

BTW, robins around here are stealing my blueberries. They're not even close to being ripe, but the robins are gobbling them down!

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

July 5, 2012
3:06 PM

Post #9194360

About the dried I have some, but hesitate to use them this time of year because of what minnesippi said above about the dried being merely shells. Is that enough nutrition for growing robins if the parents use this for feeding?

TheHackster

TheHackster
Columbus, GA
(Zone 8a)

August 6, 2012
10:45 AM

Post #9231707

I used to successfully keep mealworms, not sure why i stopped.

Thinking back, what I did was to get a couple tupperware-like containers and drilled some holes in their tops. I placed oatmeal (not instant), and I think a potato slice or a carrot slice, in the container with the mealworms for them to eat. I glued a piece of sponge to the underside of the "holey" top. I kept the sponge moist, but not dripping wet, and kept the whole thing in the fridge - that retarded the growth to maturity of the mealworms. I'd buy several thousand at a time. Now, and then, I'd leave it out on the kitchen counter so the mealies could get their "exercise", then put it back in the fridge.

Hack

Lily_love

Lily_love
Central, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 6, 2012
11:47 AM

Post #9231797

If the "dried ones" are indeed just the skeletal form of mealworms. I don't think there is any nutritional value for the birds. Chillybean. Hack, I'm keeping mealworms successfully currently. Getting them started is a slow process indeed.

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 6, 2012
12:09 PM

Post #9231820

[quote="Lily_love"]If the "dried ones" are indeed just the skeletal form of mealworms. I don't think there is any nutritional value for the birds. Chillybean. [/quote]

While the parents were feeding the babies, and I couldn't order any mealworms online, I went to the bait shop and got some juicy nightcrawlers for the Robins. That was a blast to watch. The adults would come and beat up the worm and at times it appeared the adults shared because two robins would each take some, but yet there was no fighting or anything between them.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 22, 2013
11:00 AM

Post #9393736

I purchased dried mealworms for the first time this winter. It took bluebirds about an hour to find them!

I would like to raise mealworms myself, but don't know of a good place to buy "starter worms" - anyone have a good source?
minnesippi
Oakdale, MN
(Zone 4a)

January 22, 2013
11:15 AM

Post #9393750

You can pick up a small tub of them at your local pet store - Petco, Petsmart, etc. Maybe even Walmart - or a bait shop.
They stink after a while, and I recommend keeping them in something screened. Because when they turn into flies...YUK! They are HUGE! BUT..keeping them in the fridge will slow down their growth rate.
duckmother
North Little Rock, AR
(Zone 7b)

January 24, 2013
7:32 AM

Post #9395839

My mealies turn in to beetles. There are many websites that can help you with all kinds of "raising" info. I keep mine in a plastic tube with cornmeal, oatmeal etc. I add small slivers of potato, carrot (or whatever veggie I may be cooking for dinner,) so they can have a little water. I do keep them in the garage in a closet. The dark and cooler temps slow down the process of changing into beetles. I have grown them for years, so you know it must be easy ;o) Good Luck!
minnesippi
Oakdale, MN
(Zone 4a)

January 24, 2013
7:37 AM

Post #9395843

We must not have had the "right one's" if ours turned into flies. We had lizards and would feed them mealies. Come to think of it, we fed them something else too - that is probably where the flies came from. Sorry - my mind hasnt been cooperating with me lately.
They do still stink though. In my opinion.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 24, 2013
7:40 AM

Post #9395847

This is the first time I've read that they smell bad. YUCK! I live in a small house, I don't want anything stinky!
flowerpot8
Danbury, WI

February 4, 2013
6:23 AM

Post #9407858

have had great luck with dried meal worms, looked at mine and didnt find many "skins", my neighbor has a tuna can nailed to post of her blue bird houses and puts a few in them each day, they are gobbled up, especially when birds have little ones. I mix dried ones right in with my Prime bird food mix I make myself and birds love them, also squirrels will gobble them up. Try re-hydrating them (a few at a time) when first putting them out until birds get used to them, then watch out, they will eat them , my grandson threw some in the heated water bath and I thought ICK but blue jays ate them before they were in the water but a few minutes so not a pollution problem. I think birds can be finicky but so fun.
and may take some time before excepting anything new to them.

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

February 4, 2013
7:00 AM

Post #9407898

I've been finding this discussion interesting.

I bought live meal worms this summer, kept them in the fridge. It was a small container with oats. It didn't have a smell, but then I was not trying to raise any. What did smell bad was the can of moist (dead) meal worms. Ugh. Whatever preservative stank! I think the birds recognized something wrong with them too. ;)

flowerpot, I enjoy "experimenting" with the birds, trying different things. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. You gave some good suggestions.
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

February 7, 2013
2:30 PM

Post #9411401

I have never had luck with dried mealworms, The birds have no interest at all in them here. I do raise live mealworms as my bluebirds are here almost year round and at nesting time I usually have 2-3 cutches of bluebirds and also, Other birds eat the mealyworms .. Wrens, Mockingbirds ect. ... I usually put out 2-300 worms at a feeding and they are usually gone within an hour! Seeing as I get a lot of birds here that eat the worms during the year ( Especially the bluebirds and hatchlings) I need to have a good supply of worms on hand. I do not have a problem with ordor from the worms, They have to be maintained, Kept clean, Otherwise, You most likely will get an odor. They are definately not hard to raise, and for me, They do multiply quickly, But, You do need to maintain them ( Clean the bedding, clean the casultys .. You will get casultys.. The adults only live and breed for so long, A major concern is mold from food you give them so you have to be carefull of what you use for bedding and what food you put in. There are many many video's on raising them, Just go to google and type in raising mealyworms and you will have plenty of info/video's to choose from ( I suggest that you look at more then a few of the video's as everyone has there own way of how they raise there worms, Though most break down to the same way. ... Keep in mind, There is a major difference in mealyworms and superworms ( They usually sell both at the pet centers, If you plan on raising to feed birds .. Make sure you pick mealyworms!) In my opinion, They don't smell, They are not hard to raise, But, They definately need to be maintained ( cleaning, feeding, seperating, ect.) To me, It's Well Worth It, The birds here LOVE the mealyworms!!
http://www.pbase.com/irislynx/image/145717973
http://www.pbase.com/irislynx/image/145698181
grits74571
Talihina, OK

March 9, 2013
6:13 PM

Post #9444298

I just today ordered mealworms for the first time ordered from www. unclejimswormfarm.com but I looked at Amazon and the choices were just overwhelming for a newbie the shipping was included in the price I guess I will find out soon if I made the right choice My Robins have lots of nightcrawlers to eat and it is a lot of fun watching a male robin teaching his offspring to hunt..I only recently found out that the males help with the rearing of the babbies Always figured he did the deed then left but I have misjudged him LOL
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

March 10, 2013
6:54 AM

Post #9444579

grits74571, Did you order them to feed the robins or to raise them? Robins absolutely love mealie worms! It takes them a little while to discover them, but once they do, They tend to guard them from other birds.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 10, 2013
7:38 AM

Post #9444623

I purchase dried mealworms from W*Mart. They have the cheapest price that I've found so far.
grits74571
Talihina, OK

March 10, 2013
4:52 PM

Post #9445115

actually I ordered them for the bluebirds they don't seem to have much to feed on this time of year but speaking of the robins yesterday they were having a terrible ruckus with some other bird as well as each other ..There was a large poplar tree nearby and they all seemed to want whatevere there was there to eat the tree had some large swollen buds and I don't know if that was cause for war or maybe just territorial..
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

March 10, 2013
5:20 PM

Post #9445140

HoneybeeNC, I tried the dried worms once, The birds wouldt eat them, I brought them back and got my money back.

74571, That's great! My Bluebirds, Robins and Wrens are here eating the mealie worms every day. They all have other things to eat as they all eat bugs and worms ( Though I do see the bluebirds at the feeders quite a bit eating something, Though they are not suppose to eat seeds) But, When I put the mealies out, They all come around.
I've noticed many many times that when there is something around ~ snake, lizard, cat, ect. The birds gather round and really make a ruckus and let it be known that somethings there! Maybe thats what was going on with your robins? ~ Last year, I heard a huge bird ruckus and I saw something that I will probably never see again in my life ( Wish I had gotten a picture of it!!) There were all kinds of birds ( cardnals, titmouse, bluebird, thrush, chickadee ECT.) All lined up almost side by side across the top of a fence, All screeching, What they were all upset about was a big racer snake was in the grass below them, It had allready gotten something because I could tell it had just recently eatin, Never have I ever seen the different birds lined up in a row like that and probably never will again, What a sight that was!!

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 20, 2014
12:24 PM

Post #9817183

I found this old thread of mine.

On a whim, I bought a big bag of the dried mealworms after not using any for a long time. This year, we had some interesting partakers of this. I put some out after a cold night and knew some of our birds would have trouble foraging for worms and grubs.

Western Meadowlarks, Rusty Blackbirds and Killdeer. I really could not believe the Killdeer would even try this. It did look at it for a time and pick one up and drop it again. Maybe because the bugs it usually eats are living, squirmy things?? Well, it finally gave them a try and gobbled them up.

TheHackster

TheHackster
Columbus, GA
(Zone 8a)

June 13, 2014
10:47 PM

Post #9867488

I revisited this thread and read of the odor of raising mealworms. I do not remember them smelling at all. Mine did not turn into flies, they ended up as beetles. You'll be able to easily recognize the form they take prior of emerging as beetles.

Now, the cans of dried mealies had a definite unpleasant odor, I'll never go in that direction again. But I may do the live mealworm thing again. My most frequent partaker was my Carolina Wrens. If I do, I'll try to find me some kind of cage to keep out the larger things - like starlings and squirrels.

I never tried feeding the beetles to my birds, anyone else tried that?

Hack

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

June 16, 2014
11:38 AM

Post #9869377

Hack, did you ever have any birds that ate the canned meal worms? We sure didn't and I can still remember that smell!

Robins, Brown Thrashers, Bluebirds and Chipping Sparrows are the most recent birds to eat and/or take them to young. So far, it seems balanced as we see those same birds catching live bugs for their babies. Maybe they just get tired now and again.
Neugartner
Winston-Salem, NC

June 17, 2014
12:49 PM

Post #9870326

We had the dried mealworms out for a few weeks before the Carolina Wrens starting eating them up. They are the only birds that visit our yard who eat them in abundance.

This message was edited Jun 19, 2014 2:10 PM

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

June 18, 2014
7:40 PM

Post #9871451

I don't know how you would keep the live beetles in the feeder ?

TheHackster

TheHackster
Columbus, GA
(Zone 8a)

July 1, 2014
8:51 PM

Post #9883223

Chilly, the canned meal worms were never eaten - I ended up throwing them out. Right now I have a batch of live mealworm larvae in the fridge (the fridge keeps them dormant) and have only put out one hand-full for a feeding a few days ago. I put in a few slices of carrots and the mealworms are still alive outside, but I did see a few pupae (the stage before the beetle emerges.) I bought a blue colored mealworm feeder (with the blue glass bowl inside).

pollengarden, I was thinking the beetles would not be able to climb up the sides of the glass bowl. But haven't tried it yet - no beetles have emerged yet, but it shouldn't be too much longer. I have a tupperware container in my den and see lots pupae in it already. When I get beetles, I'll transfer them to another container, where they'll lay lots of eggs. It is after they have layer their eggs that I planned to use those live beetles for bird food. I'm used plain ole Winn Dixie brand rolled oats (like you'd use to fix oatmeal for breakfast) and things are going well in the den.

Here's a pic of the feeder I use for the mealworms.

Hack

Thumbnail by TheHackster
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

July 2, 2014
7:27 AM

Post #9883613

At this stage in life, we are just not going to deal with live meal worms. We have so many live bugs around the place and I thrill when I see any bird take a cabbage worm.

We still set out the dried meal worms and I just happened to catch Papa Bluebird as he got one. :)

Thumbnail by Chillybean
Click the image for an enlarged view.

TheHackster

TheHackster
Columbus, GA
(Zone 8a)

July 2, 2014
8:47 AM

Post #9883677

Chilly, I understand not wanting to deal with live mealworms. I probably ought to tell you that, by trade, I am a biologist (taught it in high school for 30 yrs before retiring), so fooling around with these little critters is no problem for me - in fact, it is kinda fun to see them go through their life cycle.

I guess you know the mealworms are not really "worms" at all, just insect larvae prior to becoming pupae. Pupae go on to become beetles.

Hack

Chillybean

Chillybean
Near Central, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 6, 2014
4:36 PM

Post #9911892

Yep, I knew that. :) Are you still feeding live now?

I had a bit of a surprise when my husband brought home the latest batch of dried mealworms. I wanted the big bags from Lowe's as I have found them to be the most reasonably priced. They only had one left, so he got two jumbo blocks of dried mealworms/sunflower chips, as well.

I noticed a little surprise in one of the blocks. (Picture one) It's in the middle of the circle. How it escaped the drying process I don't know. It looked as if it was eating off the sunflower chips.

I decided to open it outside to put in the cage feeder. And right away this fellow started moving. It got up the side of the platform and I left it to its fate.

Unless I am unable to find dried mealworms, I probably won't get these blocks again. They are getting eaten well enough by a good variety, so that's not the problem. We've had a steady rain today and this has caused much of the block to break off and land on the ground. At least the birds are eating that up, but we also have ground squirrels and other things that are less desirable.



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