Raising Your Own Mealworm Farm

  • Mealworms are an excellent food source for all kinds of critters!  Here at Rose Shadow Ranch, we raise them to help feed our chickens, ducks and quail.  Starting your own mealworm farm is easy!
  • Here it is in a nutshell:
  • You’ll first want to purchase your mealworms.  They can be purchased at feed stores, pet stores, and bait stores.  We buy ours at a local pet store.  We started with 100 which cost us $3.
  • Place mealworms in a shallow plastic container (I recycle plastic lunch meat containers and these are perfect). Poke small holes in the top for ventilation.
  • Add 1-3″ of bedding/food: wheat bran, and/or oatmeal I have found work best!
  • mealworm 2For moisture, add a small wedge of an apple, a carrot or half a potato.  The mealworms will also drink from this.
  • Ideally keep at around 80°F (room temperature is fine too) and around 70% relative humidity.
  • Periodically (about every 1 to 2 weeks) sift out beetles from bedding whichwill contain the eggs/tiny worms. Once worms are big enough, sift the waste and bedding out once a month, dispose of in garden, wash and dry container, return worms and add new food.mealworm 3
  • Timetable and Life cycle:  Mealworms have an egg, larva, pupa and beetle stage. Depending on food and temperature, it takes about 100 or more days for them to complete their life cycle. Therefore, if you want worms in the spring, start your colony in November or December. For every 20 beetles, you should get about 300-350 adult mealworms in about 200 days.
  • Stage Time*
    Egg Incubation 4-20 days.
    Larva 10 weeks. Visible after about a week
    Pupa 6-20 days
    Beetle and Egg Laying 8-12 weeks (followed by death). Egg laying starts 4-20 days after emergence 
  • Eggs hatch into larva.
  • Larvae burrow below the surface of the grain and undergo a series of molts (10-20), shedding their exoskeleton.
  • The last molt occurs about 3 months after the egg stage. Newly molted worms are white, and the exoskeleton has not hardened.
  • The fully grown larvae (worms) are golden brown and 0.98-1.50 inches long.
  • The larvae come to the surface. They turn soft and plump, stop moving, curl into a “C” shape, and then transform into naked white pupae that turn yellowish brown after a day. The pupae don’t eat or move much.
  • Adult darkling beetleAfter 6 -20 days, the pupae turn into beetles. At first the beetle is white/light beige with a soft shell, and then it darkens and hardens to red, brown, and finally turns dark brown/black after about 2-8 days. The beetle is about a 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long and slightly flat. Males and females are indistinguishable. They can not fly, but they can move very quickly.
  • Beetles lay their eggs 9-20 days after emergence. They lay for 2 to 3 months, and then die. Each female beetle lays about 250-275 tiny, bean-shaped white eggs – about 40 per day. The eggs are seldom seen because they are sticky and rapidly become coated in substrate.
  • Egg incubation takes 4-20 days.
  • The cycle begins again as the eggs hatch into tiny whitish larvae, which may not be easy to see for several weeks.
  • In 4-6 weeks they will be about 0.5″ long.

That’s it in a nutshell!

Making Homemade Laundry Soap

Making my own homemade laundry soap is something I’ve been wanting to start doing for a long time, and I FINALLY got around to doing it!  It’s very easy and not as time consuming as you might think!  The cost can’t be beat!  This is another fantastic way to help my family live a more self reliant/self sufficient lifestyle.

Here’s what you’ll need: (** Note: all ingredients can be found in the laundry aisle of any retail store such as Meijer)

~1 bar Fels Naptha soap

~1 cup Borax

~1 cup Washing Soda (not to be confused with baking soda)

~ Essential oil of choice (optional)

~5 gallon bucket with lid


soap 3

Step 1:  Grate bar of Fels Naptha soap, I use a hand held cheese grater.

Step 2:  Fill 5 gallon bucket half full with HOT water.

Step 3:  Add grated soap to saucepan and add 4 cups of HOT water.  Simmer over low heat stirring constantly until soap flakes are dissolved.

soap 2

Step 4:  Once Dissolved, add to 5 gallon bucket along with 1 cup Borax and 1 cup Washing Soda.  Fill bucket the rest of the way with more HOT water and stir until Borax and Washing Soda are dissolved.

Step 5:  Let set overnight (about 24 hours) it will gel up. *** if you choose to add an essential oil of choice, wait until mixture has cooled but not set, then add 10-15 drops per 2 gallons***

soap 1

Step 6:  After it has set, stir well (you will notice clumpiness, this is normal) and divide into clean, empty laundry bottles.  Upon using, shake bottle well and use 1/2 cup per load.  **NOTE this is very low sudsing soap, soap suds are not what cleans your laundry, so don’t be alarmed if you do not see any suds, I promise your laundry is getting cleaned.

Let me know what you think, I personally will NEVER buy commercial laundry soap again!