Jul 18, 2021 - 07:33 AM
First, please let me say how much it warms our hearts to hear that you care about the little critters so much! That is wonderful, and obvious that you care about them (we do too!!)
Secondly, I suspect that the culprit may be the oatmeal. There are two reasons that the oatmeal may be causing the harm:
1. Make sure the ingredients on your oatmeal read "plain all-natural oats" or "whole grain rolled oats." Instant, Quick-Cook, and anything fortified with iron will not be digestible and your mealworms won't have the correct nutrition for growing big enough to properly shed their skins.
2. If you're baking it, be sure it doesn't brown - or even turn tan. This will harden the edges where mealworms chew, causing their digestive tracts to become impacted. When you get your bran or oats, you can bake it in the oven at 175° F for about 20 minutes to kill any mites. Spread it out on a large cookie sheet and place foil over it to prevent browning or hardening. Let it cool completely before adding worms to it.
We use wheat bran to feed our mealworms that we purchase from a grain mill that supplies bakeries. We pay a little more because we are so leery about pesticides or chemicals entering our insect population. We sell the same bran we purchase on our website: http://www.rainbowmealworms.net/mealworm-bran-bedding/ We recommend using organic grain if you can to avoid all pesticides. Next to our bran, the very best top-of-the-line thing you can feed them is Bob's Red Mill wheat bran which is available in most grocery stores. You can find the closest location to you on their website: http://www.bobsredmill.com/dealer_locator.php