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Life Cycle of a Meal Worm

Stage 1: Egg

Stage 2: Larva (this is the stage we begin our observations with)

Stage 3: Pupa

Stage 4: Beetle




Segmented body (looks striped)
Six legs up front
Tail has a spike
2 antennae
jumpy, crawling, very active
center part of body is the fattest


dormant (resting—going through metamorphosis)
fat head
pointy tail
turn upside down and you can see the six legs


long and skinny
dark brown
move very quickly


Mealworms (Tenebrio)


Fresh bran mixed with high protein baby cereal, alfalfa flakes (or crushed alfalfa hay), chicken egg layer mash.  Mix in reptile multivitamin and calcium supplements


Slices of fruit or vegetables


To keep from metamorphosizing into pupae and beetles, keep in the refrigerator. You can keep in the original container,replacing the fruit daily and bran/vitamins as needed. To promote metamorphosis, you need to keep them at room temperature and house in a larger container. Buy a larger than usual batch of meal worms (you can get right from breeder at far less expense than buying from pet store), then, instead of refrigerating them, leave them out a room temperature. Put in a plastic or glass covered enclosure (like a small critter tank or Pet Pal), adding extra bran, some slices of fruit. Cover with a couple of layers of paper towel or cloth, and keep it moist (not wet). They will crowd under and go through their metamorphosis, from larva to pupae (which may also be eaten) to beetle within a matter of days. Leave some beetles in to breed to get more larvae.


Sift out the worms, pupae and larve monthly and replace the food/bedding and fruit. Replace the paper towel as needed or replace cloth with freshly laundered one.


Meal Worm Links

The best page I’ve found for discussing the care of mealworms

Keeping and breeding mealworms

Caring for mealworms

Is there something wrong with using mealworms as food?

Read about their uses. This page is under construction.

Iowa State University’s Insect Recipes—Are you brave enough?

Anyplace Wild TV—these people ate mealworms—read all about their "Grubby Adventures."

Micke Grove Zoo—they use mealworms to feed their animals

Spike the Hedgehog’s Page—he enjoys mealworms too.

They serve crunchy worms!

Taking care of invertebrate prey.




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