Mealworms .. how do you serve yours ?

I wonder if anyone caught the Autumnwatch Christmas Special ..always enjoy the series full of interesting features and facts and Chris Packham a mine of fascinatingly useless information.

Toward the end of it Kate Humble announced there was a large internet debate about dehyrated mealworms and whether they should be re – hydrated before feeding to the birds.

She generally felt this to be unnecessary and even suggested that they would be likely to freeze if placed out wet in this weather.

No harm in having them dry and better still buy live mealworms she said.

Bit surprised by this as have always soaked dried mealworms in warm water esp during Spring when young being fed.

This fella often couldn t wait for them and would sit outside back door ready to hop in and collect them.

As fledglings developed they were quite partial too and read that young are dependant on moisture from grubs for fluids before leaving the nest ..how could a parent bird collect enough dried ones ?

Even during the depths of winter when water may be frozen surely re – hydrating helps they are never around long enough to freeze and even if they did this doesnt seem to prevent eating frozen seed or windfall apples.

As for live ones well yes they ll be eaten but a) they are not cheap and b) how do you store them? Is there a way to prevent them hatching into small bugs esp when buying in bulk .

I once bought some and found after a while they had developed into little black bugs ..sorry but soaking them first makes sense unless anyone found a better way?

Comments

6 Jan, 2011
Wren_nest_building_edited_2
littlewren said:

brilliant photos BB and that young robin on your hand.....oh my.....
As for your debate......I have never had a lot of success with mealworms....Have tried the live ones but not much wanted to take them.....they even use to crawl out of the feeder so I gave up.
this winter I bought some and re-hydrated them and they went as did everything else I put out.....
I have also put them out dry and they went too....So I am sitting on the fence with this one........I did read that there was just as much protein in both.....

6 Jan, 2011
001_1_
janette said:

Lovely photos Bonkers
I did catch the christmas special ,I re-hydrated my meal worms and they were eaten long before they got a chance to freeze ,like Littlewren I,ve put them out dry and they still get eaten so I dont think it really matters much which way you decide to serve them in winter ...but come spring time I think it,s wise to re-hydrate ......

6 Jan, 2011
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Thanks LW ..photo taken last year .Always re -hydrated them and throw them out loose or mix in fat feeds.We have a wren that pops in and out of tree hollows so we drop some in for her.

Thanks Janette ..live mealworms are pricey and always wondered how would anyone store them when bought in bulk ..saw the price you found for the dried ones £7.99 for a tub that must be a record.

6 Jan, 2011
001_1_
janette said:

Dont mind dry ones BB ,but not to keen on live ones would the live ones be like maggots and have to be stored in an old fridge like the angler have for their bait .....
oh no even the thought of them wriggling gives me the shivers ....Couldnt believe the cost of the meal worm and this was in poundstrechers .
I left them on the shelf I only went to see if I could find peanut,s and seen them ....
this might seem like a daft question . I have a lot of shelled nut,s left over from christmas ,not peanuts but hazel nuts and things could I give them to the birds I,d take them out of the shells first

6 Jan, 2011
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Yes Janette they must surely have to be kept chilled and its possible to by them by the sack load ..and no dont fancy a large fridge full of them either.

Think many would leave at that price sometimes think retailers take huge advantage of our concern ..

Nuts should be fine Janette , we often peel out monkey nuts ..reminds me of shelling peas as a kid . We use a blender to crush nuts and add to bird food to ensure the smaller birds can get some too.

6 Jan, 2011
Wren_nest_building_edited_2
littlewren said:

agree with BB as long as the nuts aren't salted they're fine.....will go down a treat

6 Jan, 2011
001_1_
janette said:

Aye I have a name for those retailers but I,m a lady so I wont say what lol ......thank for the nut imfo ... I,ll shell a few for tomorrows breakfast rush ......

6 Jan, 2011
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Lol Janette I m no Lady but wont say either .. good point about the salted one s LW .

7 Jan, 2011
015
aster said:

I saw the programme BB and immediately thought of you when Kate mentioned not soaking the mealworms due to possible freezing. Dried or frozen,surely they are still hard and as you say they must eat other food which is frozen! I agree with you, frozen they will get moisture too, needed when water supplies can also be frozen solid.
Maybe come Springwatch she'll advise soaking for the chicks :/ ! Wouldn't be surprised as they really do need the moisture. Hopefully by then there should be more plentiful supplies of their normal grubs etc.
Re the bulk mealworms, I should think it only worth buying in bulk if you have large flocks of birds or aviaries, then they won't be around long enough to turn into adults :)

7 Jan, 2011
P1020700
lily said:

Very interested to read this as I have a very friendly robin who I want to encourage. I knew mealworms were the way to their hearts so I bought some dried ones which were firmly rejected. I then soaked some overnight but these were also ignored! I put these rejects out for general bird consumption and they did get eaten....eventually. I was trying to pluck up courage for the live ones but having read this I think I'll give them a miss. Perhaps they'll be more interested if the weather turns bad again or maybe the birds around here are just too well fed......

8 Jan, 2011
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Thanks Aster ..was surprised to hear this and then wondered how to store the amount of live mealworms our visitors would get through.We dont have a seperate fridge for them and if not used fast enough they do hatch into those tiny little beetles.

As you say think the advice will change come spring so why confuse many who dont have the capacity to afford or store live mealworms?

Can really only speak from personal experience Lily and the re -hydrated ones never been a problem as think the pictures show.

If your Robins raise a brood nearby late spring / early summer as with many birds the pressure of supplying constant food to fledglings often overcomes their understandable suspicion of us .

The fledgling Robin observed the parent feeding from hand so tried it too .. obviously not all will ever be bold enough to do this , thankfully not every blackbird bounds into our kitchen either lol.

8 Jan, 2011
P1020700
lily said:

Strange how some are so bold and others so timid isn't it Bb. This one seems to have taken over a newly cleared area and has been very bold from the outset. I have plastic compost bins and worms collect on the inside of the lids. I leave them upturned for him sometimes but he shows very little interest in these worms either! I hope we do have them nesting again this year, I shall certainly try again with the mealworms if they do. :o)

10 Jan, 2011
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Aye it is Lily at least when the weather s warmer its nicer to sit out a while surprising what will approach when sat .. mealworms certainly appreciated with young mouths to feed.

18 Jan, 2011
Dscf1248

I did see the Christmas Special Bb which i really enjoyed...i buy
Mealworms regularly ~ i usually mix them with suet pieces & raisins....i have never re-hydrated them!! As soon as i fill their
dishes with this mix it has gone in no time at all!!
I would, think re-hydrating benefits fledglings softer, for them to swallow & digest...
Really loved the pics Bb especially the little bird with such a mouthful...lol You really seem to have gained the little Robin's
trust eating from your hand, how wonderful!!
Very interesting blog Bb, great talking point...enjoyed reading all the comments from other members...

19 Jan, 2011
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Thanks FP .. as you say think advice will change come Spring .
Sure its not essential either way but was surprised that this had caused such a debate and Autumnwatch had picked up on it.

Think they were missing the point that however mealworms are served they are purchased by those with a genuine care and concern for birds.

20 Jan, 2011
Dscf1248

Quite right too Bb...i totally agree with you!!

20 Jan, 2011
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Thanks FP .. will be interested to see what they say come Springwatch.Surprised they d recommend anything dry and crusty ..got rid of Bill Oddie didnt they ?

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