Mealworms Are for the Birds

Many birds eat insects naturally, so feeding mealworms to the birds is a natural thing to do. Plus, you’ll enjoy watching birds such as chickadees, bluebirds, wrens, towhees, woodpeckers, robins, catbirds, nuthatches, thrashers and others devour these mouthwatering morsels! A Red-breasted Nuthatch was seen taking mealworms from a feeder and caching them at a rate of three per minute.

During nesting season (March-August), mealworms are especially valuable as a protein source.  Birds may visit mealworm feeders more often during this time of the year.  Moisture-rich live mealworms are especially valuable to both adult and young nestling birds as they provide adequate water during dry summers.

What Are They?

Mealworms are the larvae of the beetle Tenebrio molitor. The larvae stage of the beetle typically lasts for 10 weeks. To maintain the live larvae in a state of dormancy, they must be refrigerated at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (lower temperatures can kill the larvae). You can keep mealworms for several weeks and they will maintain their dormant state.

If you'd rather not deal with live mealworms, try our dried mealworms.  They are easy to store and mix with other bird foods or offered alone.  Dried mealworms can also be offered in just about any container without fearing of them escaping.

Tips For Using Live Mealworms

  • Birds typically look for food around the same time each day, so you can place worms in a feeder or tray at the same time the birds regularly visit.
  • Make sure the birds can access the feeder but that the worms can’t crawl out! Use a container that has smooth sides, avoiding texture
  • If you want to "plump up" your worms before feeding them to the birds, bring them up to room temperature and feed them a few slices of carrot, apple, or raw potato.