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Re: Large Meal Worms

> Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2001 19:28:53 -0400
> From: david lim <funkadelic at dog_com>
> Hello all,
> I'm having trouble maturing my large meal worms into their beetle forms. I 
> have the meal worms in a large tupperware tub and give them oatmeal to eat and 
> potatoes for moisture. Is there anything I am doing wrong? I just leave them 
> there and change the potatoes when they're through with them and change the 
> cage out about once a month, but the worms have just been getting longer and 
> longer. I've had the culture running for at least 5-6 months now. Any advice 
> would be greatly appreciated, and isn't it supposedly not hard to get a stable 
> culture of these guys? Anyway, my big cichlids love em to death. Thanks again 
> for all the help,

You may have the insects sometimes called 'superworms', Zophobas morio.
This is a tropical beetle related to the 'regular' mealworms, Tenebrio
molitor.  The larvae get to be several inches long, are much more active
than regular mealworms, and have a dark band on each segment.  They are
often sold for feeding to lizards.

The trick in getting these larvae to pupate is to isolate them.  Get a
bunch of small containers, like pill vials, film containers or whatever,
and put one larva in each.  If they are of mature size, they will curl up
into a C shape and pupate shortly afterward.

This species is really cannibalistic.  Larvae that pupate in the general
bin will be eaten by the other larvae.  Beetles will eat pupae.  Keep 
them in the vials until they not only emerge as beetles, but darken to
at least dark brown if not black.   Start a new bin for the beetles, and
give them some pieces of cardboard egg carton to crawl around and lay eggs
on.  Separate them from the bedding every week or two for good production,
since the larvae will eat the eggs.

Superworms need a lot more heat than regular mealworms.  Refrigeration
will kill them.  The whole life cycle slows to a crawl in the winter
for me, but now that we are having weather in the 85F+ (30C+) range, 
my superworms are growing really fast.