What Is the Life Cycle of Mealworms?


The knowledge of the mealworm growing process is the basis for most of the barley worm/mealworms breeders. Therefore, even though you owned the best mealworm machines, such as mealworm separating machines, you may not produce good commodity worms if you are ignorant of the necessary mealworm knowledge and breeding skills.

The growth cycle of the mealworm/Tenebrio Molitor

  • Eggs: The eggs laid by the yellow meal beetle are small, about 1 mm long and about 0.5 mm in diameter. They are oval, milky white, and have thin eggshells. Larvae can hatch at about 28 ° C in about 7 days.
  • Larvae: The larva, also known as Tenebrio Molitor or mealworms, has a small body when it just hatched, about 2 mm long, and its body is milky white. After 1 day, the body color gradually turned yellow. The larva is yellow in color with 13 somites, soft and shiny, brownish-yellow at both ends, and golden-yellow in the middle.
Barley Worms Breeding With Shuliy Machines
Barley Worms Breeding With Shuliy Machines

Tenebrio larvae have a cylindrical shape with a thicker middle. The first section is the head, which is relatively flat and the mouth flat. There is a mouthpiece, which consists of the upper jaw, lower jaw, lower lip, and tongue. There are two short beards on the left and right of the lower jaw. Sections 2 to 4 are chests and 3 pairs of feet each with 1 pair each. Sections 5 to 12 are abdomen. The lower part of section 13 is the drainage hole, which is called the anus and has a convex shape.

The growth and development of mealworm larvae are carried out by molting, which occurs once every 7 to 10 days. The larva was semi-dormant during molting, and it could not move without food. First, a slit was split from the head, the head was drilled from the slit, and it gradually shed to the tail. The newly shed larvae are all milky white, tender-skinned, and inactive or sluggish. Later, his body color turned yellow and his activities continued to strengthen. Larvae are gregarious. After 7 times of molting, it grows to about 60 days, and it begins to turn when it is about 2.5 cm long.

How To Raise The Mealworms
How to raise the mealworms
  • Pupae: The pupa is 1.2 cm long, with a large head and a thin tail. The pupae chest has two thin feathers, which are close to the breast. The head has basically formed an adult appearance. The pupa is milky white in the early stage, the body is soft, and then gradually turns yellow and begins to harden. There are jagged edges on both sides of the body. The pupae don’t eat or move but can breathe normally, which are fragile and have no defense ability. Larvae have the habit of eating pupae, so after the larvae become pupae, they should be picked out in time. Farmers can use special Tenebrio worms sifting machines for large-scale sorting.
  • Adult insects: The pupa emerged as an adult after about 7 days. Adults are called beetles, with a milky white color on the head and a pale yellow head. The two Coleoptera are thin and soft. It turned light red after 2 days and turned dark brown after 5 days. The elytra also became thick and hard and began to eat. Although adults have wings, they cannot fly, mainly crawling. At this point, the adults are fully mature, and the male and female adults begin to mate and lay eggs, entering the breeding period. Each female adult lays about 20 eggs per day, with a period of up to 5 months and a peak of about 100 days of spawning. Female adults lay 2,000 to 3,000 eggs in a lifetime.

Notices for the mealworm breeders

Mealworm Sorting Machine Manufacturer
mealworm sorting machine manufacturer

During the whole process of raising the mealworms, the breeders should sort and screen their worms for many times, about 7-10 days once. The main purpose of separating the worms with the mealworm separator machine is to remove the feed debris, worm skins, and droppings and sort out these mealworms with the bid worms and small worms. The big worms sieved out of the bulks of mealworms are the commodity worms for selling. The multi-functional mealworm separating machine can realize many screening functions of the mealworms so that it is welcomed by many mealworm farmers.

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