Mealworm question

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~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Is it safe to feed live mealworms if the parents take them to their young? I think I read somewhere the mealworms could bite and hang on.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
Ed Pace
Posts: 675
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:31 pm
Location: NY/Jamestown

Ray: Blue birds are one thing they are use to catching their food on the ground and they readly kill a large worm or insects. But in regards to martins I am not sure about the adults but I would never take a chance on letting a baby get a hold of a live meal worm. Especially the giant ones that some people are using. They have very sharp and powerful jaws and can chew through many materials much tougher than a birds stomach lining.

Ed
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6211
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

We have provided live mealworms and zophoba worms for martins and bluebirds, flycatchers, etc. We've watched woodpeckers do quite a pounding job on the large worms before feeding them to young. I would guess the martins do a similar job on them, as they feed them to young that do fine and fledge. I know rehabber Penny has mentioned crushing or removing heads, or simply killing the worms in this thread: http://www.purplemartin.org/forum/viewt ... t=mealworm
You can use heart for both adults and babies. We do add mealworms to the cut meat if they are picking up from a dish. You have to make sure the mealworms are dead due to the fact that the mouth of the mealworm will eat right thru the crop of baby birds.

Adult Martins know how to “crimp” the worm before eating it or feeding to babies. PLEASE NEVER put live mealworms in with babies. They can crawl around and find the babies and actually “EAT” and “FEED” off of the live babies in the nest.

To be able to “quick kill” a large number of mealworms, pour scalding water over them and just as they quit moving quickly pour ice cold water so they will not “cook”.
But note that she is talking about birds being rehabbed, and says adult martins will safely feed live worms to their nestlings.
Wendell Hansen-IA
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:06 am
Location: Iowa / Spirit Lake

Ray
I have been feeding mealworms for years now thanks to my Blue Birds. The parents will crush the worms in there beaks before taking them to the young.

When hand feeding jumpers I always clip the head off the worm just to be safe.
PM Fanatic and proud Landlord. My goal is 100 pairs and 100 landlords.
dcartwright
Posts: 259
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:52 pm
Location: Winchester, Ky.

I don't believe Purple Martin kill the food before feeding it to their young as do Blue Birds and Woodpeckers. I have witnessed many times parents sitting with live food, showing lots of movement, trying to escape from their mouths just before the PM fed it to the young. I would crush the head of the mealworm before feeding it to Purple Martins.
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Another question, can meal worms be frozen same as we do with crickets for future feedings? Thanks for all the replies.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
Wendell Hansen-IA
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:06 am
Location: Iowa / Spirit Lake

I do freeze mine. I have zipplock bags full of mealworms. The thing is that I use my frozen mealworms and crickets for my home made suet.

I don't see why they won't work for the martins, I put out frozen mealworms in the feeder for the Blue jays, nuthatchs, chickadees and all of my woodpeckers and they love it big time.

I only feed my martins live mealworms. The thing is that I have 7-9 batchs of worms going at all times
PM Fanatic and proud Landlord. My goal is 100 pairs and 100 landlords.
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