Fisherman’s Guide to Building a Mealworm Farm

Many anglers like to use mealworms as bait. Some will buy live mealworms and store them in the refrigerator until they are ready to go fishing. The cool temperature inside the refrigerator tends to put the mealworms in a suspended state and keeps them from reproducing. Personally, I find the idea of storing mealworms in the fridge unappealing. Therefore, I opt to maintain a mealworm farm in the basement instead. It is easy and inexpensive to do. The mealworms’ habitat will take you less than 15 minutes to make. Here’s how to build one:

Housing Supplies

In order to complete this project you will need to pick up a few supplies. You’ll need a flat bottomed, clear plastic tote ($40) as well as a roll of fine mesh window screen ($50), a large rubber band and an empty margarine tub to make the mealworms’ habitat.

Bedding Supplies

For the bedding you will need a mixture of wheat bran and corn meal. Some folks also opt to use old fashioned oatmeal, chicken feed or dry cat food instead. It is really up to you. I like using a wheat bran and corn meal mixture. You can typically buy three pound bags of the stuff for $6 or less depending on the retailer.

Starter Mealworms

You will also need to buy a pack of starter mealworms through your local bait shop, pet store or online dealer. A container of 1,000 mealworms will generally cost you $8.

Food Supplies

Even though the mealworms will eat the bedding material, you’ll also need to add other food as well. Some superlative options are kiwi peels, cabbage and apple wedges.

How to Build the Mealworm Habitat

Start by placing a layer of mesh in the bottom of the tote. The mesh should be big enough to cover the bottom of the tote and extend half way up the tote’s sides. The reason for extending the mesh up the tote’s sidewalls is so you can grab a hold of the mesh and pull up on it when it comes time to clean the mealworms’ habitat. Ideally, at cleaning time, the bedding will slip through the mesh and leave the mealworms on top of the screen and ready for transfer while you clean house.

Place the mealworms’ bedding on top of the mesh and spread it around. Once that is done, place the empty margarine lid and the margarine tub on top of the bedding. The lid is where you’ll place the mealworms’ food and the tub is where you will place a hunk of wet cabbage or a sponge in order to give the mealworms some moisture. Using the margarine container helps to keep the bedding free of mold.

Continue by placing the mealworms into their new habitat. Next, cover the top of the tote with a piece of mesh window screen. You can secure it into place with a large rubber band. Doing so will keep the air circulating properly and prevent the mealworms from escaping. It will also keep other bugs out of the mealworms’ habitat.

Routine Care and Feeding

Store your mealworms in an area that is kept at a constant 70 to 80 degrees and has high humidity. If you do not have an area that naturally meets those requirements, you may need to invest in a heat lamp and a humidifier. In addition, you’ll need to clean the cage as well as replace the bedding and food once a week.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys fishing with her family and has traveled extensively.

More from this contributor:

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How to Make a Portable Fish Cleaning Station

How to Build a Jug Fishing Float in 3 Easy Steps

Angler’s Guide to Bass Fishing in Mays Landing, NJ

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