Super Worm Update

When the worms first arrived, seven worms were placed in individual compartments so they would pupate. They must be totally isolated from each other for that process to begin. I gave them each a fresh piece of potato or carrot when I replenished the food for the general population, usually once every couple of days. You can tell when they are beginning to change when they curl themselves into a circle.

It takes them a few days to do this and they don’t all begin to pupate at the same time. Some of them shed their skins first, like snakes do. Then one day, you look to see an alien-like being has replaced the curled up, dead-looking worm. The cream colored pupa has some distinguishable features like legs, head and body. The pupae are removed to a separate container and another super worm is placed in the cell they vacated.

As they mature, the legs and eyes become darker and the beetle it will become is more discernible. The more advanced pupa in the picture below has darker legs. It will become a beetle in the next couple of days. It will be moved to yet another container so when it morphs it won’t feed on the less mature pupae.

The super worms arrived on 3/3/11 and we had our first Darkling Beetle on 4/3. It is about 1″ long which is longer than I expected it would be. There are a couple more pupae that look like they are ready to begin life as beetles very soon.

According the the booklet from Carolina Supply, Darkling beetles can live 3 months to one year. This is good news. You can keep a small breeding population of beetles and not be a slave to monitoring pupae. The beetles are moved to a fresh container every week to prevent them from feeding on the eggs they’ve laid in the bedding.


Super Worm Update — 20 Comments

  1. Thanks for the update – the photos are really great! I am wondering how many different containers you’ll have to use during the stages….like one for incubating, one for the nursery and if you have to move them to keep them from eating their own eggs every week – yikes, that could be quite a few containers!

  2. Dollwood: After they morph into beetles, they are placed together into breeding containers where they will lay eggs.
    Wonderwoman: Good question! I have no idea how many containers it will take. Once the eggs hatch, I think those worms can be combined with worms from previous hatches. That would leave empty containers to move the beetles back into.

  3. The worms are a good protein source to replace the soy in poultry. They aren’t hard to breed for those poultry owners interested in self-sufficiency or those trying to avoid GM soy.

  4. Is it really after 1week to transfer beetles to a new container? And will beetles eat their eggs?how to prevent them from eating their eggs?

  5. I don’t know how many worms there are now. I started with 50 worms, but only isolated 7 at a time. As soon as one became a pupa, I put a new worm in its place.
    My understanding is that moving them to a new container weekly prevents them from eating the eggs. I don’t always move them weekly. There are lots of things I’ve learned and need to make another update to share them.
    Thanks for commenting and asking questions. I wish I could give you better answers.

  6. Is it ok to use the one used in the hamsters cage instead of oats.? The (wood flakes)?

  7. The bedding is also their food source. I don’t know if they can eat wood flakes. Raw oatmeal or wheat bran makes good bedding. I run my oats through the blender to get it fine before adding it to the container.

  8. will the beetles with abnormal wings mate and lay eggs ? i need help thank you!

  9. I’ve had the same thing here and don’t know why that happens. I’ve put them in with the rest of the beetles and they seem to do okay. I think from now on I’ll feed them to the chickens. I don’t know if the problem is genetic or environmental but not something I want to propagate. I had an idea that it might be linked to the superworm not being mature enough when I set it to pupate. I only use large worms now and haven’t had that problem. Of course, that might just be coincidence.