Mealworms in your bird feeder make a handy snack for wild birds who need plenty of fuel for flying, breeding and just staying warm. A bird can require up to a whopping 10,000 calories a day, according to the National Wildlife Federation. That’s equivalent to a human consuming 155,000 calories a day!
Birds don’t have time for empty calories; they need foods with high nutritional content. Mealworms are a great supplemental food for birds because they pack a good amount of protein and fat, which are important parts of their diet. Adults also feed these high-quality foods to their growing babies.
You may think that mealworms are a treat just for bluebirds, but many other birds like them, too. Birds that you might be able to attract to your feeder with mealworms include:
- American Robin
- Tufted titmouse
Mealworms aren’t worms; they’re more like caterpillars. Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and mealworms are the larvae of a species of darkling beetle.
There are two ways to get mealworms: live or dried.
Birds prefer live mealworms over dried mealworms. Live mealworms require some care, but it’s easy.
For the mealworms’ home, get a plastic container about the size of a shoebox. Punch very small air holes in the lid. For food, add some wheat bran, small slices of potato and orange rind. Make sure there is plenty of room between your mealworms and lid to discourage escapes. Place your live mealworms in the container.
Live mealworms will stay in the larval state longer (that is, they won’t turn into beetles as quickly) if you keep them cool. Depending on moisture, food and temperature, they can actually last nine months. A refrigerator provides the perfect temperature. Make sure the lid is on tight and set the plastic container in the fridge.
Some people prefer dried mealworms over live mealworms because dried mealworms are easier to store. Dried mealworms aren’t alive, so you don’t have to feed them or closely manage the temperature. Dried mealworms are less expensive, too.
To make them more appealing to birds, you can rub oil on the mealworms or moisten them with water. Once one bird discovers the mealworms, its friends will follow.
Mealworms from Uncle Jim’s
Our mealworms are free of pesticides and chemicals, so they will not harm the birds that eat them. Live mealworms are guaranteed to arrive alive year-round or we will re-send them.
Learn more about feeding mealworms to birds here.