Want to breed your own insects? Check out our YouTube Channel for video tutorials.

The Optimal Mealworm Diet for Optimal Mealworm Health

Posted by Feeder Crickets on

Table of Contents

mealworms for sale

The Optimal Diet for Your Mealworms Health

You don't need a rainbow mealworms coupon. 

If you’ve begun the easy task of breeding your own mealworms, you might be wondering how to keep them as healthy as possible. After all, healthier mealworms are better for the things that eat them and your pets can benefit greatly from having these already nutritious worms in peak health before they get eaten. Let’s take a look at some of the best things that you can feed your worms, ensuring they go beyond just being a healthy snack and can take your pet’s health to the next level.

The Substrate

Mealworms are called such because in the “wild” they often show up in grains. These make something of an ideal substrate, and if you don’t have a feed store near where you live you can even consider something like oatmeal.

Quite a few people actually use ground up food for domestic pets like dogs and cats as well, these are higher in proteins which can help your mealworms grow up bigger and stronger. A lot of more experienced keepers blend a variety of grains, powdered milk, pet foods, or other things in order to try and make the optimal mixture for their arthropods. They’re fairly hardy, so if you intend on keeping them for an extended period you might want to experiment a bit yourself.

You’ll want to keep the substrate dry, to ensure that you’re not adding any fungus or mold as well. These can be quite dangerous to your mealworms, and possibly the animals that eat them depending on the variety.

Moisture from Fruits and Vegetables

Your mealworms will get most of their hydration from fruits and vegetables. The larvae and beetles aren’t particularly adept swimmers, so adding a water dish is just going to kill them. Instead, you’ll want to add vegetables and fruits which are high in water content. There're two varieties here that you’ll want to consider. Whatever you choose to use, though, make sure that you place them on some paper to ensure that you don’t wet the substrate.

The first are sweet, softer fruits like berries. These will be readily accepted, and might even cause a bit of a commotion when placed in. Don’t use too much, you still want to avoid rot, but mealworms have a hefty appetite and these foods should be readily devoured but you’ll want to check on these foods at least once a day to make sure they’re not decaying.

There are also hardier fruits and vegetables which can provide moisture for extended periods without molding or going to rot as quickly. The favorites are usually apples, potatoes, and carrots, they’re cheap and will last for some time. You still need to check on them regularly to ensure they’re not decaying, but every other day should be sufficient for these tougher plants.

One food that comes highly recommended is kiwi with most of the fruit scraped out. A couple of keepers have found that they increased the length and size of their mealworms substantially over just using the substrate.

Another thing to consider is using commercial cricket “quenching gels”, it’ll allow for adequate moisture with no risk of wetting down your substrate.

The important thing is to feed a varied diet, just like us a varied diet will help to provide a wide variety of the numerous important minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients and help to make your worms and beetles healthier.

Measuring Your Results

If you’re analytically minded, you might want to consider running some experiments to determine what works best. There're a couple of simple methods you can use to obtain some verifiable results.

The easiest way is to raise your mealworms on a certain type of diet, count out twenty to fifty of them and weigh them. Divide the weight by the number of worms, and you’ll have a good idea of the average mass of your worms.

You might also want to consider measuring the length of several dozen worms on a certain type of diet and averaging it out in order to determine if they’re truly bigger. It can be a bit tedious, but being able to obtain solid information is nearly priceless. Be sure to share with other keepers if you carry out experimentation, you can make your own contribution to science this way.


Mealworms are remarkably easy to feed, and a varied diet is sure to keep them healthy. With a little bit of extra work, you can even start to figure out what works best. The health of your mealworms can help to keep your pets healthy as well, and it doesn’t take much effort to provide them with a diet that’s absolutely optimal.


  • Hi, I feed my meal worms the leftovers from my birds, which includes; ground up seeds of varies kinds, sprouted seeds grains and legumes , pellets, powdered green supplements, bee pollen, fruits and veggies, ect…,
    I try to feed as varied a diet to my birds as possible, and as the are the re-seeders of the the world, they also waste much, which leaves much for my insect colonies to finish up on a daily basis.
    The dry seed hulls and powders become the bedding (i blow off the extra hulls from time to time), and i add news paper or paper towles for the moist stuff to go on top.
    I do try and limit the moist food to how much they can eat before it molds, and pull out any that is left over,
    Having a larger colony really helps with this .

    Loretta on

  • My mealworm colony started in the soil substrate of a lizard tank. I bought a leopard gecko for my daughter and we quickly upgraded its tank size and started using reptile carpet instead of soil. I noticed that the old tank still had some mealworms in it and wondered if they might be able to reproduce. Of course, they did! Today, about 6 months later, the tank is teeming with life and we have an abundant supply of food for our reptiles.
    I know that many people use grain for substrate, but I find that having soil has been great because everything decomposes beautifully. I have never had to clean out the tank (save for removing some vegetables that got moldy) and as weird as this sounds, I think it smells great! Very earthy and not at all gross.

    Daisy on

  • Finally! Someone giving advice that didn’t learn to raise their insects poorly on utube. Your advice is correct.

    They do need a varied diet. People raising theirs on just 1 grain (like oats) and some carrots will find the size and quality are lacking. They will also notice more and more deformed beetles as they will be lacking essential nutrients normally found by their varied diets in the wild.

    We use our laying hens, “feed crumbles” ground up. Its complete and its already with the nutrients we want to impart to their mealworms. Although carrots are always avail to them, we like to add other moist foods too like, pumpkin or watermelon in season (pumpkin is very wet though so letting them ooze out some moisture on paper towels for a bit 1st helps keep the substrate from getting wet, clumpy and moldy. Other options they like are celery and leafy greens.

    Remember, nothing can thrive on just 1 food alone (except the koala). Layer (chicken) feed is always an option. We also add a tiny amount of rolled oats, golden flax, and wheat bran too the grains in the grinder bowls and grind together.

    Healthy & balanced. The quality and size will reflect this healthy meal plan if you stick to it.

    Carol on

  • Can they eat pear? Mine are not eating it

    Fu Ting on

  • this advice is very very useful i am sharing it to my friends

    haward teo on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published