What do Mealworms Eat for Food?

As natural decomposers, the mealworm feeds on anything in a decaying state. They will sometimes feed on living plant matter but that’s mainly to receive their intake of water that is needed in their diet. Their desired habitat is dark areas that are full of dying matter and vegetation. They will commonly feed on dead leaves, grains, oats, feces, dead insects and more. There is an abundance of food for mealworms as you can imagine.

When trying to raise mealworms in a controlled environment, people will commonly use grains or oats as their bedding substrate. This allows them to hide deep within the substrate while also gorging down on one of their favorite foods. Don’t forget that like all other animals though.. they do need water. They don’t drink water like most animals do. Instead consume it through foods that have water within it. Things like living vegetation and carrots are a great source of h2o for them.

mealworms eating

Feeding on a chunk of potato. Foods are given to them that hold some water so that they can absorb their needed amount of H2O.

It’s super common for pet owners to raise mealworms as food for their pets. The reptile industry is huge for needing to feed their pet lizards living mealworms. Others include pet fish, birds, and so forth. They are fairly easy to breed on your own and make for a great meal to a lot of animals and even humans in some parts of the world.

What Do You Think?

Reply from Brandon K:
I’ve saved a lot of money though the years of breeding them myself. I have a couple Oscar fish and they make for a great protein rich snack. I’ve found them to be one of their favorite things for my pet fish to eat. For the price of buying them versus what I can just breed them for.. it’s an easy decision for me. My wife gets a bit freaked out at the though of insects breeding and having a “festation” is the word she uses. I keep them in the basement though and don’t tell her about them most of the time. Things like this really freak out women.

Reply from Christy N:
I always thought they fed on just dirt like most other worms do. But I guess dying debris is essentially dirt when you think about it. So in natural habitat they feed on more of a decaying matter but in a controlled environment when we care for them we feed them oats or chicken feed?.. I’m a bit lost on how that makes sense. Here is a link on moisture

Reply from Kevin M:
I think the idea is to let then feed on nothing but their favorite high protein food when we breed them and that way they will be full of protein and very rich for our pet animals to eat. Do you want to feed your feces just because that’s what they eat in natural habitat? Haha didn’t think so. It seems a bit more humane to feed them that stuff too since giving them what they eat in natural habitat is a bit.. disgusting.

Reply from Christy N:
We try to replicate our pet animals lifestyle and everything they eat so why would we change it up for what insects we are raising? I get what your saying so don’t get me wrong on that matter.. I just think it’s a coincidence how it’s different in this matter. Good read here though and I do enjoy a healthy argument.

Posted by Sarah O:
I’m completely new to raising mealworms and could use some advice or direction to a good article in starting this process up from scratch. I have a lot of pet birds that would really enjoy them as a daily treat. Everyone likes to spoil their pets anyhow right? A good start up guide is needed! Who is up to the challenge to help out some fellow enthusiasts?

Posted by Kevin L:
I’ve been trying to raise these for sometime. I own a cute hedgehog and he can’t live without them. Somewhat of a small little piglet.. but still.. I need to stop buying them from the pet store because they are too expensive. So I’ve been doing research on how to breed them. It’s important to understand what they eat for them to be breeding from my understanding.