Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mealworm CRISIS

During my game of telephone with different pet stores, I found out some interesting information from The Animal Company pet store in Noe Valley. Apparently, there is a nationwide MEALWORM CRISIS.

For the past several months or so, pet stores have been short or completely out of mealworms. Pet stores are affected because they usually buy their live feed through major and/or independent distributors. Some independent companies are feeling the pinch too because they depend on the major distributors as well.

I was told that some major distributor tested their batch of mealworms, found traces of pesticides in it, and had to throw out the whole batch. There could be other reasons for the shortage, such as mold. In any case, the demand is definitely larger than its supply.Right now, most shops only have king or superworms available. These are slightly harder to raise since larvae needs to be forced to turn into a pupa. This requires more effort because each larvae needs to be isolated in their own space (see picture above). After the larvae turns into a pupa, it then turns into beetle. The beetle then lays eggs and starts the cycle again. See the process and cycle here for a better visual.

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