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Breeding Super Worms

Getting Started
You will need containers for the worms in the different life stages. For the worms them self, I use something called a Kricket Keeper. It has tubes they crawl up in and I can feed them without touching them. For the beetles, I use a plastic container the size of a sweater box with holes for air. Mine has a lid on it but they don’t seem to be able to climb out. I add empty toilet paper roles for the beetles to climb on. The pupating chambers should have small compartments so each worm is separate. Plastic bead boxes from craft stores are an inexpensive choice. For the ones who have pupated, I use a plastic container the size of a margarine container with air holes.

In the pupating stages you can use bran or oatmeal for bedding. For the beetles and worms, you can use a mixture of 2 or more of the following: wheat bran, wheat germ, corn grits, oat bran or oatmeal. I also add powdered milk to increase the nutritional value. You can add laying mash to the mixture too. Some people add calcium or powdered vitamins.

Depending on how many animals you will be feeding will decide how many containers you start out with. It takes a while to go through the life stages, so you might want to start with room for at least 50 worms.

You will also need to have a source for the breeding stock. You can purchase from stores that carry reptile supplies or order from a company like Grubco, www.grubco.com . Before putting the worms in the pupating chambers, feed them for a week or so. They do not eat again until they are beetles and they will die in the pupating chambers if they are not well nourished going in.

Pupating
Make sure whatever you use has holes drilled for air. You can use either wheat bran or oatmeal for their bedding. Put one worm in each section, close the top and place the pupating chamber in a dark room or a closet. It takes two to three weeks for the worm to pupate. They must be kept in darkness and not have much space to move around. When you notice they are starting to curl up, they are about to pupate. Pull out dead worms as needed and replace with new ones.



Pupae
As the worms turn into pupae, move them to a separate container about the size of a margarine container. Make sure there are air holes. Use wheat bran or oatmeal as bedding. Pupae must be kept in a dark room or closet. It takes about 2 weeks for the pupae to turn into beetles. As the time gets closer, the pupae will darken and grow legs. They are about to turn into beetles at that stage.


Beetles When your beetle emerges, it will be hungry. Move the beetles to the beetle container. The beetle container should have at least an inch of the bedding material. Once a day add a small amount of raw vegetables. Start small, too much will not be eaten and may turn bad. The beetles will lay eggs everywhere and you don’t want to throw out the baby worms with the rotten food. I have read each female beetle will lay 500 eggs. I have no idea if this is true. Notice they get right to business breeding. You won’t see the eggs at all. Do not change the bedding at this time.

After a month, move the beetles into a container with fresh bedding. The eggs laid by the female beetles will grow into baby worms.


Baby Worms By now you will have a container that looks like nothing is inside it. Have faith. You will have to feed the babies every day. After 2 or 3 weeks, you will see them moving around. They will continue to grow into an adult super worm. It will take 4 to 6 weeks for them to be big enough to feed. At that time, I move them to the Kricket Keeper with fresh bedding and clean the old cage to start over.

I have noticed that a higher number of worms complete the pupating life cycle from my own stock than from the worms I have bought.


Helpful Tips When choosing your containers, get ones that won’t shatter when the air holes are drilled. Some people use the canisters film comes in for pupating chambers.
It is important to remember that the worms will not pupate unless they are in a dark room. Pupae also. Beetles and super worms should be housed in a room with natural sunlight.
The bedding you provide serves a double purpose, they eat it also. The more nutritious the bedding, the more nutrition the worms will provide when fed.
By using the Kricket Keeper, I never have to touch the worms. It is also an easy way to serve them as I have a number of skunks . I use a plastic fork to move them around in the other life stages. When I move the worms to the Kricket Keeper, I wait until they are a decent size and use a tool for scooping litter boxes. Again, I do not have to touch them.

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