Tallahassee, Florida

GOT MEALWORMS?

3 Eastern Bluebirds

What are mealworms?

Mealworms are the larvae of the beetle Tenebrio molitor. This larvae stage typically lasts for 10 weeks.

Why feed worms to the birds?

Because so many birds eat insects naturally, feeding mealworms to the birds seems like a natural thing to do. Birds such as bluebirds, chickadees, wrens and woodpeckers will eat mealworms if they are placed in a feeder accessible to the birds. Because mealworms can crawl, it is best to place them in a feeder where they cannot crawl out.

Bluebird feeders work well for feeding mealworms to smaller birds. Any feeder that has smooth sides and can be easily accessed by the birds can be used as a mealworm feeder. A simple tray or platform can also be used as a mealworm feeder, but it is possible that the mealworms can crawl out. Placing the worms in a shallow bowl in the middle of a tray may help. Birds typically look for food around the same time of day, so worms can be placed in a tray daily around that time.

Storing mealworms.

Mealworms can be kept for weeks at 40 - 50 degrees F. For longer storage they should be placed in bran flakes, wheat bran or corn meal in a container having air holes. If mealworms are kept for a longer period than a few weeks, it is a good idea to feed them. Take them out of the refridgerator for 6-8 hours and allow them to feed on a potato, banana or carrot.

You can get a lot of enjoyment from watching birds eat mealworms, and the mealworms are quite a treat for the birds!