With this bitter cold weather we’ve been having, I’ve started buying mealworms again for my backyard birds. They are a bit pricey at $13 for 1,000 worms from my local birding store, so I decided to order some online from Rainbow Mealworms where you get 5,000 for $20 + shipping.
When they arrive and you open the box, this is what you find.
The bag is filled with crumpled up newspaper with live mealworms all mixed in.
This is 5,000 mealworms.
Rainbow also sells “mealworm bran/bedding” that you can place your mealworms in. I used to mix up my own based on a recipe I found online, but the last time I ordered, I ordered the bran bedding as well. I placed the bran along with the mealworms in a large, rectangular plastic container.
Mealworms can’t crawl up the sides of a container so they are safe to store in a refrigerator at around 38 degrees with the lid slightly ajar so they can get air. The reason you need to store them in the refrigerator is so they will stay in a dormant state and not turn into beetles.
About once a week I take the mealworms out of the refrigerator and leave them out for a few hours so they can eat. I also add a few slices of apple or carrots to the bran at that time. Usually 5,000 mealworms will last around 3-4 weeks, kept in the fridge.
My birds have me well-trained! They LOVE their mealworms, so I’m putting them out 3-5 times a day. The bluebirds are always the very first to arrive when I put them out. They must sit in the trees and wait because I barely get back inside the house before they fly down to the feeder and start chowing down.
It’s so funny watching the other birds try to get in there and grab one while the bluebirds are eating. Eventually, the bluebirds get their fill and leave and the Tufted Titmouses, Chickadees, Mockingbirds, Wrens and House Finches help themselves to the filet mignon on the bird buffet.
I snapped a few pictures in rapid succession right after putting out mealworms today. I was shooting through the glass of my bay window. Here’s a little 20 second slide show of the bluebirds enjoying the mealworms on this freezing February day.
Keep your eye on the little bird on the left. I wonder if she’s the Mom because as soon as she ate a few worms, the other two that had been watching started eating, too. Pssst: Click the little bracket box in the right corner next to words “You Tube” to watch full screen. Click the little half circle in the left corner to replay. Hit “escape” when done.
See bluebirds feeding mealworms to their babies in this post: Bluebirds Feeding Mealworms To Their Babies