are dried mealworms a waste of money?

jiggreenDecember 3, 2009

Live mealworms give me the creeps, so I purchased a couple of bags of "dried mealworms and fruit", but I think it's been a waste of money. I googled dried mealworms and there was a suggestion to toss the mealworms with a little bit of cold press extra virgin, which I have done, but still nobody seems interested in the now slimy and shiny, dried mealworms.....has anybody had any luck with the birds eating this stuff?

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I've never used them, but if birds won't eat them, they are a waste of money anyhow. Maybe when it gets colder the birds will be less picky?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 10:20PM
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No, I haven't tried it. Dry meal worms are fed to pets all the time, but I am guessing that wild birds are not used to it. Why the extra virgin olive oil by the way? Do we have gourmet or Italian birds in the area :-)?

Like Rachel said, as the temperature drops, they may get less picky.

If you want to feed them worms, a better way may be to start a compost pile in a part of the yard. This will generate a good supply of worms on its own. Birds can pick at it.

In addition, keep your lawn pesticide free and there'll be a million earthworms.

Of course, none of this helps in the winter.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 8:24AM
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I've never had any luck with dried mealworms myself. Really though, live ones aren't that gross, once you get used to them. I've had chickadees eat them out of my hand. Also the really bring in the orioles like nothing else I've tried. While composting and avoiding pesticides in your yard are good ideas in general, I'm not sure about whether they will bring in birds for earthworms (not all compost uses worms anyway.)

Liz in Bloomington, MN
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    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 10:15AM
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They are a waste offered by themselves. But since you already bought them if you mix them into a home-made suet mix they will get consumed.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 10:57AM
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I like compost_hugger_nancy's idea. Mixing them into home-made suet sounds like it would work so you don't waste them. I also agree with gymell that once you get used to them, they don't seem so gross. I was pretty grossed out when I first started raising mealworms for the Blues. But I'd do anything for the Bluebirds, so I raised them anyway. At this point it doesn't bother me in the least to stick my bare hand right into the mealworm bin. Over time I've come to find them a fascinating hobby, and it sure is cheaper than buying them every few weeks.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 5:55PM
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So glad you asked! :-D

I've ordered live meal worms on line and purchased them at wild bird stores for 7 years. I even went so far as to "farm" my own for three (miserable) years. Due to the economy, I decided I had to cut out the mealworms. I am in the south and the birds in my area really do fine in the winter but I liked putting them out to draw the bluebirds (other species, too) closer so that I could enjoy watching them.

A few weeks ago someone on the bluebird forum said that she was having great success with DRIED mealworms but the reason the birds were finally eating them was because she soaked them in very HOT water and left them in water over-night. That makes them soft and apparently that matters to the birds. I ordered some on-line and soaked them several times in hot water and YES, the bluebirds are eating them every time I put them out. I forgot to soak them a few days ago but saw several bluebirds in my yard so I poured boiling water on them and within minutes they were soft enough to serve. I drain them and pat them dry before taking them out to my meal worm feeder.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 8:23PM
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I ordered a container of mealworms for the orioles and I'm going to use janie_may's hot water idea. I thought I would put them out with the jam and see what happens. I have a feeling they'll be disappearing just like the jam does. I hope so anyway.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 4:51PM
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I have great success with rehydrated dried mealworms in the Fall. I do want to try this Summer but just haven't yet. I may have been the person Janie May was talking about, I put very hot water on them and soak them overnight but then during the day just soak them about 20 min or so until they are soft and put them out. I fed Bluebirds these for the entire month of October last year. My sister gives them some in the Summer months too. My Blues this year are a little persnickity so I am not sure if they will go for them or not. I will try after fledging though to offer them along with the live ones and see how it goes. I can get the tub of 5,000 dried mealworms here in town for $7. I went through at least eight of these last Fall!

I never knew Orioles liked mealworms, maybe I should add some to their jelly!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 7:26PM
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donald lucius

the only time they worked for me was a couple springs ago.
there was snow and ice way up into may. and when the storms moved out temps dropped and everything froze or frosted way up to june. all the fruit trees bloomed out and froze the blooms and most early flowers did not make it. there were few blooms or necter for the birds in the wild and the necter feeders here would frost or freeze at night. and live mealworms turned to ice if the birds did not get to them right away.
i would bring the necter feeders in at night and put out
the dried mealworms during the day. and with hardly any natural foods the robins especially ate the dried ones. and i would also shred litle pieces of leftover roast or pork and put out too.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Well, I soaked them in hot water and put them out in the tray of a hummingbird feeder without the top, and they were all gone this morning. I don't know who ate them though. I also put some in the jelly and they were gone too. I bought a tub of them, but I didn't get such a good deal. $33! Can you imagine? But I'm an empty nester now, so the birds are taking the place of my kids.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 11:00AM
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I bought some dried mealworms and a feeder for my Dad in NY to feed to bluebirds. He is having great success with them, although the birds didn't take to them immediately. They are now feeding them to their young in a nest box in my Dad's yard. He is so excited!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 11:47PM
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We don't have bluebirds here. I wish we did. The catbirds and the orioles are eating up the mealworms.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 11:01AM
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I soak dried mealworms in boiling water for an hour and put them in a shallow
pan. Didn't expect much. Looked out a half hour later, all gone. Who eat them? Put more out and watched. Red Winged Blackbirds and Robins.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 5:17PM
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This is what I recommend. Buy dried mealworms. Soak overnight in distilled water. Allow to dry in a colander. Saute in first cold press olive oil on medium heat for 40 seconds. Take the pan off the fire and squeeze two whole key limes over the top. Add a slight sprinkle of saffron. Serve to the birds with a slightly sweet wine from Alsace. A nice touch is to put the mealy worms in an ice cream cone, then when they are done eating the worms the birds can peck the cone, or you can eat it yourself.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 10:30PM
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I don't have time for all those soaking manipulations so I just filling small dish with water and have dried mealworms floating in it. Wrens and mockingbirds eating them just fine. I don't feed bluebirds, but probably they would do too if I'll let them.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 3:34PM
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