How To Raise Your Own Mealworms
by Lisa “Ellie Mae” Bordelon
You say the word “mealworm” to many people and the reaction is slimy, gross, disgusting, yuck, creepy. To a sugar glider, mealworms evoke feelings of yummy, delicious, buffet, nutritious, more please. Sugar gliders eat lots of insects in the wild. Mealworms are a great source of nutrition for sugar gliders, and watching them master the wiggly snacks is amusing as well. If you don’t want to raise your own (they can be a little stinky), you can purchase them pre-cooked and ready to fee to your glider.
Raising mealworms is very easy and very convenient. All you need is a supply of mealworms to start with. You can get them from a pet store or a worm farm. You will want to raise them in a warm spot, preferably not inside of your house because of the smell.
Prepare a plastic container that measures roughly 24 x 18 x 6. If the container has its own lid, drill holes in the top for ventilation. If it doesn’t have a lid, use cheesecloth or burlap to prevent escapees. Fill 2-3 inches of the container with a mixture of half flour and half wheat bran. You can get the bran from a feed store. Mix these two ingredients well and level off the mixture. Add half an apple or half a potato to the mixture for moisture. You will need to replace the apple or potato as it gets dried out or eaten.
Now you can add the mealworms. Leave the tray undisturbed for several weeks to let nature take its course. As the worms move through their life cycle, they will become pupae, and then beetle bugs. The beetles will lay many eggs, which in turn become worms. You may need to refresh the mixture by sprinkling some more bran on it occasionally, and you may want to move the beetles to a second container prepared in the same way. As you see young worms developing, you can move them back to the original tray to let them grow to the desired size.
Your sugar gliders will be so grateful for all of your hard work (we don’t need to tell them just how easy it was).