Mealworms are extremely high in protein, and this makes them an ideal snack for people and pets. Archaeological evidence shows that humans have taken advantage of the nutritional benefits of mealworms for thousands of years, and many contemporary cultures continue to eat mealworms today. The nutritional content of mealworms changes when the worms are dried. Protein is higher in dried worms, and fat and moisture content is higher in live worms. (Live (approx): Protein: 20%, Fat: 13%, Fiber: 2%, Water: 62%, Dried (approx): Protein: 53%, Fat: 28%, Fiber: 6%, Water: 5%). While baked or fried mealworms are now marketed in the U.S. as healthful snack foods and novelty candies, they are more typically used as a pet food for reptiles, fish, sugar gliders, hedgehogs and birds and as fishing bait. Mealworm demand often exceeds supply, and mealworm prices can reach up to $4 per ounce. Fortunately, mealworm colonies are easy to raise in the backyard, porch, or apartment and colony materials are easily purchased at any hardware store.
2015 Pricelist (subject to change)
1000 worm starter colony: $20.00. The starter colonies can be shipped or picked up at the Union Street Farmers Market.
Order on the Square Marketplace
Raising mealworms is a cheap and economical way to produce a high protein snack for pets and people. They can be easily reared in a shallow tray on a medium of fresh oats, wheat bran or grain. The worms are actually the larval stage of the darkling beetle, and the beetle will undergo four lifestages in the medium: egg, larvae, worm, beetle (see education resources below). They are vegetarians and can subsist on foods such as sliced potato, carrots, or apple. To learn how to raise your own mealworm colony, visit How to Raise Mealworms tutorial on BackYardChickens.com
Mealworms for Education
- Darkling Beetles by FOSSWEB Education Resources
- Using Live Insects in the Elementary Classroom by the University of Arizona Center for Insect Science and Education Outreach
For more information (and recipes!) check out the books below: