Yesterday was the first step on the journey toward growing protein for the birds. I called PetSmart to see what resources are available through them. No duckweed, but they do sell meal worms and super worms. I did not know what a super worm was. The clerk thought they were very large meal worms. Back to the Internet to search for info on this new finding. There are super worms (Zophobas morio) that are a different genus than meal worms (Tenebrio). They are raised a little differently than meal worms and are a lot more expensive. The super worms can reach sizes of 1 1/2 – 2 inches…much bigger than meal worms. There are also giant meal worms that are sometimes referred to as super worms. They are not the same thing at all. Giant meal worms are regular meal worms that have been treated with a hormone to cause superior growth. They are usually sterile. I decided to eliminate pet stores as a resource since it would be hard to determine exactly what I was buying.
Biological supply companies are probably the best resource as far as one-stop-shopping. I contacted Carolina Biological Supply Company and spoke with a knowledgeable rep who helped me with my order. On Thursday, 50 super worms and 300 – 400 duckweed plants should be delivered to the door. It required an investment of just under $50. Not too bad if all goes as planned and they proliferate as expected.
The super worms can be raised in oatmeal with slices of potato, celery or carrots to supply moisture and food. The container with oatmeal is in the utility closet where it is nice and cozy for warmth loving super worms. A pond or fish aquarium is the ideal setup for growing duckweed. We have neither so are using some of the cat litter boxes that are use to start plants. They will be filled with water that contains a little sheep manure tea and set under the lights on the plant stand. Hopefully, the duckweed will be happy there.
Canned and dried meal and super worms can be purchased from Haocheng Meal Worm Inc. They also process meal worm powder as a nutritious addition to baked goods. The canned meal worms are reminiscent of chow mein noodles… Will you be brave enough to sample your own worms?
If you decide to order through Carolina there is a word of caution. The super worm breeding kit does not contain beetles as you might expect from the description. Instead, they are probably mature worms that are ready to pupate.