How To Raise Mealworms For Lizards

Are you worried about having enough food on hand for your lizard?

Do you want a nutritious meal your lizard will find tasty?

Mealworms might be the answer you are looking for, but you need to learn how to raise mealworms for lizards if you are concerned about having plenty on hand.

After you prepare a bin with the proper substrate, temperature, and some fruit and veggies, purchase and add a starter group of mealworms. Allow the mealworms to go through their life cycle, growing into darkling beetles and reproducing. Once you notice the eggs have hatched, giving you new mealworms, separate the beetles from the newly hatched larvae, continue the process in another bin, and feed the mealworms to your lizards once they have reached the right size. 

Once you have the process down, you will quickly have enough food for your lizard and save yourself a ton of money. 

For more detailed information on raising mealworms, keep reading this article. 

how to raise mealworms for lizards

How To Raise Mealworms For Lizards

Raising mealworms in your home will allow you to not only save some cash but also make sure your lizard is getting the best possible nutrition.

In short, you have more control over your lizard’s diet. 

Raising mealworms is an easy task once you have the right set up and get in a rhythm. 

You must first purchase and set up the bin you plan to house the mealworms through their life cycle.

Typically a plastic bin is used for this process, one about the size of a shoebox.

Some people might use a glass aquarium, and it does work well for raising mealworms. 

The container’s sides need to be at least a few inches high to prevent the mealworms from escaping. 

Drill holes in the top to allow for airflow or, as an alternative, use a screen mesh to prevent other insects from invading. 


Once you have selected the proper container, you need to set it up using the appropriate substrate

Mealworm substrate is available at pet stores, or you might think about making your own by using ground or crushed items you might have in your pantry.

Pantry staples you may decide to use as a substrate include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Corn Meal
  • Bran
  • Wheat Flour
  • Dog Food
  • Breakfast Cereal- Corn Flakes, Wheaties, Cheerios

When putting the substrate down in the container, make sure it is about 2-3″ inches (7.6cm) thick.

Be ready to add more as the mealworms grow and eat it. 

A ground substrate is best, so it will be easier for you to easily separate the mealworms and fully grown insects from the substrate. 

On top of the substrate, add some sliced fruits and vegetables. 

This is an easy way for you to provide water to your mealworms. 

Apple, carrot, potato, and lettuce are great options to add to the container. 

Replace the fruits or veggies as they dry out or start to mold. 

Container Heat

Place the container in a warm, but not hot, area, so avoid direct sun.

The idea temperature for your set up is around 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C). 

Add Mealworm Starters

Once you have set up the container correctly, purchase some starter mealworms to get your farm going.

Place them in the box and wait for them to go through life stages from mealworm, or larvae, to pupae and then to darkling beetle. 

The beetles will mate and produce new eggs, starting the life cycle all over again.

Once the eggs hatch, giving you new larvae, or mealworms, separate the beetles, pupae, and mealworms.

If you do not separate them, the beetles are likely to make a snack out of the mealworms.

Prepare another container and put the beetles into the new box, and start the process all over again.

Feeding And Tracking

Feed mealworms from the original container to your lizard once the mealworms have reached the ideal size. 

When you have multiple containers going, label and date the containers. 

This helps you stay organized.

This also helps you check in on the stages of the growth cycle and if your mealworms are following typical cycles. 

What If I Have Too Many Mealworms And Beetles?

If you find your mealworm farm is producing faster than your lizard eats, place the mealworms and the pupae in the refrigerator to slow down their growth.

Mealworms develop when temperatures are warm, and the refrigerator slows this process down. 

The pupae and mealworms you put in the refrigerator should be taken out and fed for two or three days. 

Then you may opt to return them to the cooler temperatures. 

If you find the number of beetles is too great, let some go outside if possible or dispose of them another way. 

Why Should I Consider Raising Mealworms At Home?

Mealworms are a tasty and nutritious meal for many lizards and other reptiles you might be interested in owning. 

But why is raising them in your home a good idea?

For one thing, buying mealworms is likely to put a big dent in your wallet very quickly.

The costs of buying them at a pet store or online will add up quickly.

These mealworms are often not kept in ideal conditions, leading to a mealworm without the best nutritional value to pass along to your lizard.

Some have also found purchased mealworms are also close to dying because of those poor conditions. 

To prevent these issues, raising mealworms in your home is an excellent alternative. 


Raising mealworms might seem like a challenging process, especially when compared to just stopping somewhere to grab mealworms instead.

Fortunately, you know how to raise mealworms for lizards now. 

But having a mealworm farm will save you in the long run and allows you to build a stock of nutritious mealworms for your pet.

If you enjoyed this article check out why lizards flick their tongues.

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