Caring for Live Superworms
How to care for superworms
Place a layer of 1-2 inches of bran, oats, wheat middlings, or crushed cheerios in a well-ventilated, smooth plastic tub. The tub should be at least 6" high, with a target density of 2-10 worms per square inch. The optimal worm-per-square-inch ratio will depend on the size of the worm and your experience in growing them. It is generally safer to rear worms at a lower density, as over-crowded worms can overheat, experience stunted growth, or become cannibalistic. Add slices of fresh cucumber, melon, or potatoes for hydration. Keep superworms between 70-85 F.
1. What's the best container for superworms?
Many types of plastic containers can be turned into excellent superworm habitats. For example, you can use a bus pan, under bed storage bin, or wash basin. The container should be at least 200 square inches and at least 6-8 inches high. The tub should be smooth so the worms can't crawl out.
We recommend leaving the tub open, but if you must keep a lid on your superworm container (maybe due to interference by pets or small children) then make sure it's well-ventilated. Check the inside of your container regularly for condensation. Excess moisture can lead to mold and bacterial growth, which are bad for the worms.
2. What's the best superworm bedding material?
Here at the Ovipost farm, we use bran as bedding. You can also use wheat middlings, ground up oats, or crushed cheerios. Do not use flavored or instant oatmeal. The bedding serves as a food source and should be layered 1-2” thick.
Superworm poop is called frass. It comes in the form of small, dry, odorless granules, and looks similar to bread yeast. When you notice an abundance of frass in the container, add more bedding so the superworms have enough to eat.
Tip for gardeners: Superworm frass makes an excellent fertilizer. See here for more info.
3. How do you give water to superworms?
The easiest way to provide hydration is with fresh slices of fruits and veggies. We prefer cucumbers and melons for their high water content and softness, which makes it easy for superworms to chew. Zucchini, apples, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes are also good choices.
Use thinly sliced fruits and veggies for worms that are one inch or smaller. Do not feed citrus, tomatoes, or other acidic foods. Avoid spicy foods like onions, garlic, and jalepenos.
Replace every two days, or if you see signs of mold/rot.
4. What temperature is best for live superworms?
The ideal temperature is 78 F, but an acceptable temperature range is 68 - 88 degrees. Humidity should be below 50%.
It’s a common practice to refrigerate live mealworms, but you should never refrigerate superworms.
5. What causes superworms to die?
Common causes of die-off include excess moisture, heat, and extreme cold.
Moisture. If there are too many worms in a bin and not enough ventilation, you may see condensation along the walls of your container or see signs of mold in the substrate. Replace the substrate and move the worms to a container with better ventilation.
Heat. The worms can overheat if the substrate is too deep or if there are too many worms in a container. Avoid placing your superworm container in a window with direct sunlight, especially if the container produces a greenhouse effect. When the worms are stressed due to overheating, they will become very active and may look like they are trying to escape. They may also curl into a C shape and flick back and forth.
Cold. If the worms are too cold, they will become inactive. They may burrow deep into the substrate in an effort to stay warm. Sometimes cold worms will appear dead, but they may spring back to life after a few hours when properly warmed.
Dead. If a superworm is actually dead, it will quickly turn dark in color. Remove dead worms immediately to prevent bad odors and the spread of bacteria.