Watch out, yellow mealworm- you have competition. A bigger, brawnier cousin could threaten your position as a go-to food for backyard bluebirds, pet parrots, and lizards, and even tree shrews in zoos. By this we are merely implying to super worms.
For those who might not know, super worms are the larvae of darkling beetles. These large worms are quite similar to mealworms and can grow up to 2 inches or longer. They are an ideal source of protein for large reptiles as well as some species of fish and birds.
You don’t have to go through a lot merely because you want to breed super worms. After all, you can start by isolating some larvae in individual containers to promote pupation. Once the mature beetles emerge, you need to put them together in an appropriate breeding habitat and wait for your baby super worms to arrive.
When it comes to pupating larval super worms, you will first have to purchase about 50 to 100 super worms. This is a good starting number for commencing your own super worm colony. You can purchase live super worm larvae online or from a pet supply store in your area. In the event that you want to purchase super worms online, check to make sure that the worms you are buying shipped live.
Next, you need to place each larva in an individual, ventilated container. You can use plastic film canisters, partitioned craft boxes, condiment cups, or empty plastic cosmetic jars for this purpose. Be sure to poke or drill a small hole in the lid of each container so that your super worms can breathe.
It is important to store your pupating super worms in their own containers so that adults and other larvae won’t nibble on them while they mature. Isolating the super worms in dark containers as it ensures it stimulates the pupating process, which could otherwise take up to 5 months to occur naturally.
Be sure to put a little substrate in each container. There is no need to put any additional food in the containers for the super worm larvae. Some breeders recommend against using substrate altogether, since any source of food can slow down the pupating process. In the event that you choose to leave out the substrate, make sure the larvae are already full size before isolating them.