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Mealworm Growth Rates - Does Higher Protein Help?

Entomophagy feeder insects food insects mealworm farm mealworms

Does higher protein equal faster growth of mealworms?


I decided to do a little experiment with my mealworm farm.

They were taking much longer to go from hatch to large then I thought they should have.  In some case it was taking almost 8 months when other people farming mealworms were going from hatch to large in 3 months.

I don’t like to sell my mealworms when they are medium size. I like to sell them when they are as large as possible so my customers get a good value for their money..

I keep my colony at 75-80 so I knew it was not the temperature causing my problem.   So I decided to try a little experiment with different type of feeds.   I was feeding only wheat bran and thought maybe a higher protein would boost the growth rate.

So I  set up three bins with the same size mealworms.  One bin would get fed wheat bran only, one bin wheat bran with flock raiser added and one bin with wheat bran and high protein cat food added. The flock raiser has 20% protein and the cat food has 42% protein.

Mealworm binsMealworm test

I made sure to add food to the bins every other day which now in hindsight was more then I was feeding before the experiment.    I would keep the bins going and see which worms reached 1 inch in size first. 

17 days later and two bins had worms that reached an inch in length.  The first 2 bins with worms that reached an inch were the wheat bran only bin and the wheat bran with flock raiser.

Mealworm 1 inch

The worms in the wheat bran with high protein cat food fell short. I noticed the worms really didn't seem to like it and it didn't disappear as fast as the flock raiser. While they liked the flock raiser the worms did not grow faster then the worms only fed wheat bran. In fact the wheat bran only worms are just a touch bigger. While they liked the flock raiser I would not spend the extra money to add it. So I learned from this that the reason my worms were taking so long to grow was that I was being stingy with the wheat bran and not giving them enough.

It's interesting with more food that it took them only 17 days to grow a quarter inch. So it should take 68 days to go from hatch  to 1 inch.

Hope this helps those of you with questions about higher protein levels and growth rates.  

Gold Coutry Mealworms

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