Superworm Care and Breeding, a Step by Step Guide

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ajkry2

Gray-bearded Member
Here's my diet for supers/beetles, tell me what you think:

apples, oranges, carrots, and potatoes.

Also I'm using plain ol' oatmeal for the substrate.

Comments appreciated :D
 

goblinsly

Hatchling Member
Soo far everything seems fine with bettles, they lay eggs and i get 100s or even 1000s of tiny supers. But after a few weeks they seem to be dissapearing until only about 5 are left alive. Could it be a moth problem ? I know that bedding is kinda tied together which means there are some moth larva-e. But i notice only a few and i really cant seem to understand how they could be responsible for killing 1000s of tiny superworms. I hope you can help me with this problem. Its been the same for like last 5 generations ( last 5 times that i moved my 100 bettles to another container ), i get many many tiny supers and then after a while most of them just dissapear. :(
 

fresnowitte

BD.org Sicko
If you substate is clumped and string together they yes it probably grain moths. I had the same issues with my first batch and a few since. I now microwave my substrate before using it and instead of using a piece of screen to cover my vent holes I now use a piece of material. This lowers the chances of this happening, but somehow those pesky moths do still sometimes find their way in. Do you see the tiny magot looking larva of the moth escaping your bin? If so then yes they could devour all your 1000's of baby supers...been there done that. :( However on the batches that moths don't find the outcome is great. Keeping them out is challenging if you live where the grain moth is more present.
 

goblinsly

Hatchling Member
I know i have grain moths. I have to keep killing them when they fly around my apartment occasionaly. And while i know they are also in my superworm bedding, i cant see how they could eat supers. They dont seem to be predators and they have plenty of other food and moisture ( daily ) around. Soo why would they eat my supers instead of simply coexist with them...Thats just mean. :(

Btw, i removed about 100 small supers from bedding with moths inside. And after a couple of days they started dying too. Its importaint to know that they have food and moisture avalible and i know they dont need bedding to survive ( i previously grew 100 tiny tiny supers from begining to the end without bedding and none of them died ). Soo i wondered what else could it be. Could it be the fact that i was smoking in same room as i had them in? I stoped smoking like 2 weeks ago but before, i was smoking a lot ( about 20 ciggs a day in the room i share with supers ). I hope you can help me, i hate to see my 100 bettles go to waste...
 

fresnowitte

BD.org Sicko
Superworms are sensitive to smoke an incense too.

However I don't know why or how the grain moth larva kills them nor do I even know if it is actually the larva or the moth or something that they contain or excrete that could cause this. But I do know that a grain moth infested super bin will end up with no supers.

The reason the supers that were removed from the substrate died to is because they had already been affected. Whether it be biten or from however else the grain moth affects them. Don't know why they don't coexist but they just don't.

What type of container are you using? Does it seal with vents? And what do you have over the vents?
It's really hard to hatch and keep alive supers when you have grain moths...I found that when the grain moths are not present I have no problems.
 

goblinsly

Hatchling Member
I didnt cover any of my boxes yet, i didnt know moths were such a problem. They infested my mealworm bins too soo i just put all of those bins into 1 big and there were no traces of moths anymore ( i rarely saw any larva in meal or superworm bin but i saw that bedding was kinda wrapped in type of "spider web" soo i knew there were moths ). It seems that mealworms ate them soo i thought supers will too.

I will move my bettles into a fresh bedding today or tomorrow and i will cover the bin with net that has holes small enough to prevent moths from flying in. I will make bedding from crushed dog food and crushed bread ( thats all i got at home right now ). I hope moths are the reason for deaths.
 

goblinsly

Hatchling Member
Okie, im back. I moved my bettles to a new "moth proff" box. Here is what i did. I cleaned the box with 80% ethanol. I cut the top off and glued a tiny net to it ( too small for moths to fly or climb in ).

I mixed a substrate from different things. Like bread, dog food, flour, some nuts, chocolate cereal, etc. I grinded them to a dust and then put them into oven for about 1 hour at 150C ( 300F ). Then when it cooled down ( being closed and all to prevent moths from climbing right in ) i put in a toilete paper roll ( which was frozen for 20 minutes ) and added my superworm beatles. Then i addded tiny piece of net and put a piece of potato on it ( potato that was in the fridge before ).

I hope this will work. I could still use some info on how moths could kill my supers and how can bettles survive while supers wont. Before i thought soil killed my supers, now i think it might be moths. This time i eliminated both ( as in bedding not containing soil and bin being protected from moths ). If this wont work, then i am lost...

Btw, do u think this substrate will be ok for supers to lay eggs in ? Because its grinded ( its like flour ) and i know they like to lay eggs into cracks ( like cracks in bedding made from oats, wheatbran, etc. ). Any suggestions u have, ur welcome. Here are a few pics of bin i made and offcourse, my black beauties :p .

34j3t3a.jpg


vpw11j.jpg
 

fresnowitte

BD.org Sicko
You know I bred mealworms for fishing and the moths didn't seem to affect them that much. I mean there were moths and larva but they didn't kill the mealworms remember though they do say the the chitins on a mealworm is much harder than that of a super so maybe this is why...I really don't know but I noticed that too. As for with the supers yes the moths will ruin your progress. Rather than net you should try a peice of material. It seems those pesky moths can squeeze thru the holes in small mesh screen as that's what I originally used.

You really need to use more of a grain bedding. Not sure where you are located but if you have a Winco Foods or a grocery store that has a bulk food section you can get it really cheap. I get all my bug substrates and most of the feed from the bulk food section. Bran is only like .40 lb. it takes alot of bran to make a pound. Plus they really seem to like the corn meal or corn grits added to the substrate too. Alot of people buy a corn based chicken mash to use as well.
 

goblinsly

Hatchling Member
Hmm superworm bettles started dying in a new bin, i counted 5 soo far. And they are all slow moving and trying to get out. Usualy they scatter into holes and hide and only 2 out of 100 are walking around, now basicly all of them were walking around trying to get out. I figured something in the substrate was hurting them. Soo i put them out of it, washed them with water, dried them and now they are in an empty bin with toilete paper roll to hide in. I hope they will get better till tomorrow. Why cant they be easy to breed as mealies. Basicly put them in a box, throw a bunch of leftovers and be done with it ? They can go for months without a drop of water, mold and moths wont hurt them, they eat everything...I want 1000s of supers but it just wont work. :(
 

brandice

Member
Seems like a good time to bump this thread. Getting started on my super colony. I have 54 worms in craft boxes with holes in the top. They are stacked under my bathroom sink (big dark and unused space) using wood building blocks to space between for air. They are spaced over a heating pad for heat. Currently fussing with temps to get it just right. Once these morph I'll be moving them to another container so I can start 54 more. I'm sure a few won't make it, but these are pretty healthy looking worms. I'm hoping in the end for at least 70 beetles.

Edit: Question's - Anyone know about how many beetles you can keep in a shoe box sized tote? Also about how many worms? This is what I plan on using once I get to that point but I want to make sure that will work for my numbers.
 

goblinsly

Hatchling Member
My biggest supers are the ones i "saved" from boxes filled with moth stuff. There are about 5 deaths everyday. They look a bit dark, barely move....and funny thing i noticed they barely touch the moisture source ( basicly ANYTHING i give them, potato, carrot, apple, etc. ). They also eat eachother. I hope this is because they used to be in a bin full of moths and also because before, ventilation was poor and few times it was full of condensation and mold. I removed mold and gave them better ventilation but damage was probably done. I am deciding now whether to leave them ( its about 250 of them ) to grow more and die 5 a day or start selecting biggest ones and put them to pupation.

Apart from them, my supers are doing great. I have 3 other boxes full of them + breeding bin. The biggest of those 3 boxes are now equal or bigger then the size of adult mealworms. They devour any vegs i give them, they move a lot, eat a lot, etc. I hope they will live until i can turn them to bettles. Soo its good news here. What i use for substrate is whole oats + some grinded oats in the bottom. I also add some dog food ( non grinded, grinded dog food seems to kill my meals and supers, and im not surprised, it smells awfull ).
 

Momto3boys

Sub-Adult Member
Well I must say this is definately an interesting thread!

I went to open my superworm bin to feed Moose and to my surprise I had 2 pupa's in there :shock: Totally shocked since they are in with my superworms, they were NOT seperated, they have their bedding and potatoes in there for moisture so I definately wasn't expecting those little guys.

They are both whitish and both wiggled when picked up with the tweezers, so I quickly considered breeding them but then soon realized I need more than 2 :lol:

Maybe I'll try it someday but I think sadly these 2 guys will be flushed.
 

h0ndap0w3r

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
oh man, this is still going? kudos to me! hahahaha i hope everyone has benefited from this.

Mods sticky this!
 
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