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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Meal worm saga

My son arrived last night from Austin with 50 meal worms. This is my first experience with them, actually first contact with them, to my recollection. And I'd think I would remember something like that. Not that I had, or will have, any literal "contact" with them.

I had the container ready for them. I topped a kitty litter bin with an old refrigerator tray that I had glued screen onto. Not taking any chances on escapees. I had ordered 1000 meal worms over a week ago, but the company I ordered them from hasn't shipped them yet as far as I can tell. Holidays, I guess.

My son ceremoniously sprinkled the larva (not worms, I keep reminding myself) on top of some meal and stuff, then I added a bit of potato, apple, banana peel, and stuff. So far so good. 

That was last night. This morning it was extremely cold outside. My intent was to put out a few of the larva (not worms) in a container and watch to see what ate them.

Putting the larva into the little plastic bowl was...   well, I can't think of a good word to describe it. I used a spoon to dip one out. It wriggled off the spoon, causing me to scream and drop the spoon. I repeated that performance one more time before I finally got 3 into the bowl. To make a long story short, after I installed the bowl in a little scooped out depression where the thrush eats sunflower seeds, I waited to see what would eat the worms (er, larva).

The thrush foraged on seeds all around the container, but I got so chilled to the bone that I had to leave. When I returned an hour later, the larva were gone. I repeated the whole procedure with the same results, except the second time the bowl had been moved a couple of feet away. I'm pretty sure it was the thrush that ate the meal worms. I know they didn't climb out. Probably were frozen by then anyway. I'll try again later, if I ever thaw out. It was 32° but the wind made it much worse sitting there watching in requisite motionlessness.To be continued....

Hey, I'm two days away from having the longest Varied Thrush visit in the state of Texas! Not that there's a Guinness Book of Texas Bird Records, or anything.

UPDATE: The third is not a charm. Rather, it was a repeat of the second. But tomorrow's another day, and more exciting, there's a good chance of rain.


  1. You're such a good mealworm hostess! They like thin carrot slices, apple slices, scraps of squash and whatever else you have on hand, really.

    This might be too much information, but we'd go through hundreds of them every week when I worked at the zoo (pick one) and it was kind of a weird relaxation to just submerge my hands in them - they're just little twitchy beans. That like apples and potatoes. Running your hands through them is like a weird massage. I guess you don't have enough to submerge your hands in them, but... yeah, fun little creatures!

    Hope the Thrush gets a kick out of the pampering - I know a lot of folks are headed your way to start off 2013 with it!

  2. I've yet to see what is eating the mealworms, but sooner or later I will. But I'll never ever touch one. Sorry.