About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tips to keep your mealworms alive when it’s hot outside

Baltimore Oriole male and baby eating
BirdBerry jelly and mealworms
Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) are used widely as a live food source for wild birds like bluebirds, orioles, chickadees, wrens, robins and woodpeckers. High in protein and fat, they bring a lot of the bug eating birds up close.

Mealworms hibernate at temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees, so they can be  stored easily in your refrigerator for lengthy periods of time if you bring them out and feed them a mixed salad every couple weeks.

Right now several customers are feeding mealworms to entice the bug eating birds to bring their babies up close. The problem is the heat! It’s so hot outside the mealworms can die before the birds find them.
Baby Eastern Bluebirds and Poppa feeding them mealworms

Some tips to keep your mealworms at their best:
  1. Mealworms don’t like a drastic temperature changes. If it is very hot outside, leave your mealworms at room temperature. Then when you place them in the feeder they don’t go into shock.
  2. Feed mealworms at the same time. Get your birds into a routine of breakfast and dinner feeding so they know when to come and gobble up your offerings.
  3. Shade your feeder. Place your feeder in the shade or add a weather shade over the feeder to protect the mealworms from the sun.
  4. Protect the worms. Chop up some room temperature apples and place them in your feeder with the mealworms. The apples give the mealworms water and help them hide from the sun. Most birds also enjoy chopped fruit.
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