Mealworms......the true story!
What are mealworms? Mealworms are the larvae of the Mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor. From an egg, this larvae stage typically lasts for 10 weeks before it pupates to eventually become an adult beetle.
Birds in our area that enjoy mealworms include Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, several woodpeckers and nuthatches and especially Eastern Bluebirds. Because mealworms can crawl, it is best to place them in a feeder where they cannot crawl out. Eastern Bluebird on Mealworm Feeder
A bluebird feeder (shown below) works well for feeding mealworms to smaller birds. Any feeder that has smooth sides and can be easily accessed by the birds can be used as a mealworm feeder. Birds typically look for food around the same time each day, so worms can be placed in a tray daily around that time.
Mealworms can be purchased and kept for weeks at 40 - 50 degrees F. For longer storage they should be placed in bran flakes, wheat bran or corn meal in a container having air holes. A potato, carrot or apple slice should be kept in the container for the worms to use as a moisture source.
Chickadee having a mealworm snackSo if you want to keep your bluebirds around your property, mealworms are your best bet. The best way is to put up a small dish feeder, add a handful of live mealworms, whistle to attract the bluebirds attention and keep this up on a daily basis basis.
We carry live mealworms (you keep them in your refrigerator and give them apple or carrot snacks from time to time) in 500's and 2500's. Recently we have started to carry dried mealworms that you don't have to keep with your food in your refrigerator!!! Somehow people seem to like this aspect of them........
One more thing- there is a shortage of mealworms this summer, so please be patient if we don't have any in stock. They are very popular! But we now have found a great local supplier for roasted mealworms- yes, I know that they have a somewhat roasted nutty smell, but they don't need to be kept in the refrigerator and last longer than the live worms! They are also cheaper and are available packaged (see below) or in bulk.