How to Use Mealworms as Bird Food
Mealworms – What are the benefits?
Birds love insects, and adding meal worms to your feeder is simpler than you think. Whether live or dried mealworms, these insects will be a nutritious snack that will be adored by hungry nestlings and breeding birds.
By feeding them as a bird food source you will be unleashing an entirely new method of attracting different birds to your garden. Mealworms for birds can provide a whole host of nutritious value to your garden and help birds to find important nutrients when natural supplies may be low.
What are Mealworms?
Our mealworms for wild birds are the larvae of the flour beetle, a native British beetle. They are scientifically known as Tribolium confusum, or darkling beetles. The larvae itself can be referred to as golden grubs, probably because they are absolute gold for birds to eat. Our range includes:
These insects are a rich source of protein, fiber and fats that are key for muscle development in birds. The live mealworms, in particular, are juicy and birds find them extremely tasty, especially finches, siskins, blackbirds and robins. It’s always a good idea to leave a few extra out for these birds
However, meal worms can be low in calcium and should not be the only food you leave out in your garden. Dried mealworms for birds work well when they are combined with mixed bird seed.
See also our Mealworm blend bird food.
What birds eat mealworms?
Any insectivorous (soft-billed) bird will love them.The majority of passerines (perching birds) will enjoy them too, especially when they are feeding their young. The protein is essential for their growth. Birds you will likely find enjoying them in your garden include;
Blue and great tits
Any other birds you find regularly visiting your feeders may also indulge in a meal worm snack if they find them available.
How to feed mealworms
They can be fed in live or dried form. Live insects are of course much preferred, being much juicier and tastier. The movements of the mealworm will also help attract birds.
As well as using a mealworm feeder, live mealworms should be offered in a shallow dish with smooth, straight sides, such as glass or a plastic container. With rough containers, the larvae can climb out. Containers should have smooth sides at least 2 inches deep so they cannot escape.
Dried meal worms can be stored much longer in separate containers. They can even be mixed in with other seed, fruit or suet pellets for a more balanced diet
Mealworms, although nutritional, are not complete. It’s best to offer in limited quantities. Filling a dish once a day can provide the right amount to treat your garden birds without leaving leftovers that can attract pests.
Live mealworms for birds should be kept in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area. Their rate of growth depends on temperature. 8-10C is ideal, and with adequate food, they can be kept for several months. At 8 C it would take several weeks them to grow. Temperatures below 5C will kill them.
Dried mealworms should be stored in a dry, cool well-ventilated area.
Making mealworms easy to find
When offering meal worms to birds, make sure they are in an easy to reach position. This means making them visible so all birds, of all sizes, can enjoy them. Leaving them near perches or near your regular bird feeder can help birds find them.
Patience is key
It may take a little longer than you expected for birds to realise that your garden is their new favourite spot and that dried mealworms are a food source. Be patient, lure birds in with live mealworms and leave dried ones nearby. All it takes is for one bird to realise that they are edible and the others will soon flock over.
Kennedy is one of the leading online retailers for the cheapest dried mealworms. These essential sources of nutrition can be very expensive, but you’re guaranteed to get a great deal with Kennedy Wild Bird Food!