Although a lot of small pets are fed lab blocks and other pre-manufactured food, most small pets will enjoy mealworms and superworms as well. Not only are superworms and mealworms fresh treats for your pets, but they are also rich in nutrients that can help fatten picky pets that do not like the taste of run of the mill lab blocks. Though these worms can be purchased in pet shops, you can also raise them yourself. Here’s how.
Starter worms. You will need to purchase your starter set of mealworms and superworms. Most pet shops will carry their own worms, but you can also buy the worms from the internet. If you are purchasing the worms from the internet, make sure that you deal with sellers who will provide you with living worms. Some will freeze or dry the worms. These worms are only good for direct feeding, but will not be useful in creating worm cultures.
Container. Next, select a container where you will place the mealworms and the superworms. The simplest container is an old shoebox with a lid. Apart from the shoebox, however, you can also use plastic containers that come with sealable lids. The lid is important because many small animals will prey on the tasty little worms, such as cats and even house rats. If you are using plastic containers, however, make sure that you punch several small holes into the lid so that the worms will be able to breathe.
Setting up the container. To set up the container, you need to add two to three inches of bran on the bottom of the container floor. This will act as the primary food source for the worms. Because worms do not drink from water bottles and because dishes filled with water will only drown the worms, you need to include the water source it the food. You can do this by adding water-rich fruits and vegetables such as celery and tubers like potatoes. Some people will spray some water on the container, but this can damage the paper board in shoe boxes, and can hasten the growth of molds. Keep in mind, however, that molds will naturally grow after some time. Simply change the bran covering to keep the molds away.
Superworms. Superworms, if not fed to your pet immediately, will grow to become beetles. These should be separated from the rest of the worms once they start to undergo metamorphosis, since the beetles will feed on the other worms. Both superworms and mealworms will eventually become beetles, however, which is why they need to be fed to the pets before they develop shells that most pets will not be able to digest. Be sure to keep several beetles alive, however, so that you can use these to create a second batch of superworms and mealworms. Usually, it will take two weeks or so for the worms to mature into beetles.
Do not purchase giant mealworms, since these have been genetically modified to keep them from reaching adulthood. These worms will not allow you to have new sets of worms for your pets. You can place your mealworms in the refrigerator without harming the insects. Superworms, however, will die from low heat.