What is a Superworm?
Superworms are the larvae of darkling beetles.
Superworms have a hard exoskeleton, so they should only be fed to animals who can chew through and digest it. They have a high protein and fat content, so they are great for bulking up. They have 10.8 grams of calcium per 100 grams.
Superworms are pretty easy to house as they do not climb like most other feeder insects. Any plastic container will do as long as you give enough space for the amount of worms you are raising. Make sure the container is ventilated. Create a substrate of powdered bran, wheat bran, or oatmeal. This will act as food as well as bedding. Keep in a dry area, too much moisture can kill off your worms.
Never refrigerate Superworms, they will die. Keep them in a temperature between 70-80 degrees F. They can live in a temperature slightly lower than that, but it may stunt their growth.
If you want to breed superworms you need to isolate worms, as they will only pupate when isolated. You can place them in small ventilated cups on their own. Once they transform into a pupae you should put them into a separate but similar container as the worms (including the substrate and fresh food) until they turn into beetles. The worms and beetles will eat the pupae if kept in the same container.
Add the beetles to a breeding container. This should be just like the other containers, but should have some kind of hide for the beetles to mate, like pieces of an egg carton. The beetles and worms can live together in the same container, but they should be separated from the eggs and babies.
Superworms are nocturnal, so they should be fed at night. On top of eating their substrate, you should also feed them fresh fruits and vegetables for proper nutrients. Food high in moisture like potatoes, apples, carrots and greens are great, because this is how they get their moisture. Superworms do not need any additional moisture, do not mist or add water to their habitat.
You can gutload the worms you plan to feed to your animals 24-48 hours beforehand to give them a boost of nutrients.
The darkling beetles will feed on the same substrate and fruit & vegetable diet as the worms, but make sure you feed them enough because they will eat their eggs if they get hungry.
It takes superworms about 6 months to reach adulthood before they are ready to pupate. Superworms can stay in the larval stage for 6 months up to a year. You must isolate them before they will develop. They will start to curl up into a “c” or “e” shape when they start to pupate in isolation. This process takes about 1 - 2 weeks.
The time for the pupae to turn into a beetle is about another 1-2 weeks. The darkling beetles can live 3-15 years! The beetles will breed and lay eggs. The eggs will sit for at least 2 months before they hatch into baby superworms.