The price of feeders such as superworms are going up year after year. Sometimes, they are even hard to find, so why not learn how to breed superworms yourself? This easy method will show you how you can set up a superworm breeding colony with just a few superworms, supplies, and days.
- A lot of superworms
- Bins to separate superworms and beetles
- Wheat Bran or Uncooked Oatmeal / Fresh Veggies
- Fish tackle box or any other type of divider
To get started, you should prepare your bins for the superworms and different stages of superworms that are going to come. You may choose to use a superworm breeding rack system like in the picture below or by just using shoe box sized sterilite bins. Either way is fine, but from experience, I suggest using the rack system. It saves a lot of time when transferring and cleaning the bins and it also helps keep your colony stay organized.
Having multiple bins will help you separate all your different types of superworms (babies, adults, beetles, pupae, and feeders). You can arrange the bins in any order that you would like and use as many as you would like. The organization and method of breeding superworms is all up to you. Below is just a mock up of how to breed superworms one way.
If you would like to make a more advanced superworm colony setup using an automated system, you can cut the bottom out and add screen to the bottom of the beetle bin to allow the eggs to drop into the bin underneath automatically. This is for the people who don’t have the time to separate and sift the beetles from the eggs.
Once you have your superworm bins ready, you may then add your bedding. The bedding will act as the substrate and food for your superworms. They will burrow in it, eat it, and live in it. Having this in mind, you will be wanting to clean it out once it starts smelling bad. Wheat bran and uncooked oatmeal is what most people use as the bedding, but you may make up your own blend if you want too. There are plenty of diy superworm beddings out there, just make sure to pick a safe one. Once you have your bedding, add it to at least 4 bins (babies, adults, beetles, and feeder bins). It is very important that you separate your breeding colony of superworms from your feeder colony.If you start picking superworms from different stages to feed to your reptiles and other small animals, you may not have such a successful colony. So make sure to separate the two superworm colonies from one another.
When making your bedding, make sure you crush it up in a blender until it looks like a fine powder. I did the mistake of not doing that, and it was almost impossible to sift all my superworms and beetles from the bedding when I had to.
After your setup is established, it’s time to add the superworms. If you have a small colony of reptiles and small animals, I would suggest starting off with about 1,000 – 3,000 superworms. If you have a large collection, start with about 5,000 superworms. These amounts will allow you to use some for breeding and feeding without running out like what some people might do.
Superworm Life Cycle
It is very important that you get familiar with the superworm life cycle so you know what to expect and when to expect it.
Eggs: 1-2 weeks
Mealworms: Approximately 10 weeks
Pupae: 1-2 weeks
Beetles: 2-3 months
When breeding superworms, it is very important that you separate your superworms according to their stage of life (pupae, beetles, and eggs). If you don’t, one will eat the other as a food source. Depending on how many bins you have set up, you should separate your colony as follows:
The top bin should contain your beetles. During the beetle stage, eggs will start to drop into the bin. After about a month, you will start to see baby superworms. Sometimes it may even take longer, but usually it takes about 4 weeks to start seeing new life. Once you stat to see baby superworms, sift the eggs, superworms, and bedding into the last bottom bin. It is very important that you keep all the frass and bedding in that last bin, because there is probably hundreds of eggs in there that you do not see still waiting to hatch. Make sure to add fresh bedding to the last bin and beetle bin.
The second bin should contain nothing but superworm pupae. If you see pupae, you will recognize it immediately because they will look like little white aliens. Pupae will not bite, fly, crawl, or eat. It will only wiggle when you touch or grab it. Having this in mind, you don’t need to have any bedding or food with the pupae. Only put a little bit of food in one corner of the bin for the newly hatched beetles to eat. Once you see a beetle in the bin, make sure to remove it immediately into the beetle bin.
The third bin should contain your adult superworms. The adult superworms are the worms closest to becoming pupae.
At this stage, you should have a tackle box or any other type of divider ready to be used. One by one, grab a superworm and put them into a divider separately. This is the fastest way to get them to pupae.
After a few days (maybe a week), you will see them turn into the letter “C” as illustrated in the above and below picture. This is them getting ready to pupae.
The fourth bin should contain all your baby superworms. Once all your eggs hatch out, you can sift all the baby superworms from the bottom bin and transfer the new generation of superworms into the above baby superworm bin. You will most likely have thousands of baby superworms at this point. It might not seem much at this point because of their size, but once they start growing, you may need more bins to house them.
Eggs and Sifted Frass
The last bin should contain the frass from the beetle bin, hundreds of eggs, and a bunch a tiny microscopic baby superworms. It is very important you keep the bedding and frass from the beetle bin, because this is where all the eggs are located. I know I said this already, but it’s because it is very important. Most people throw the frass and bedding away, missing out on hundreds of superworms. Eggs are about 2 mm in size, which is very hard to see for some people. Eggs will fall through the sifter without a doubt, which is why you should not throw away the bedding. Once all your eggs hatch and you can see a lot of baby superworms, you can then move them up to the next bin with fresh bedding.
What do Superworms Eat?
Superworms will eat a variety of foods consisting of uncooked oatmeal, wheat bran, collared greens, turnip greens, and other fresh vegetables. Their diet will consist mainly of whatever you use as their bedding. The vegetables are only used to help hydrate your worms and beetles. Only use vegetables that are safe to feed to your animals. You need to remember, whatever you feed to your superworms will be what you feed to your animal, so make sure it is safe.