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Keepers of amphibian, reptile, bird or fish pets will be familiar especially with the larval form of Tenebrio molitor, known commonly as the yellow mealworm, or just mealworm. These yellow larvae can grow up to about 30 mms in length, and are the immature stage of a shiny black darkling beetle (family Tenebrionidae). Tenebrio molitor larvae are easy to culture (they are often raised on oats, and females lay up to 500 eggs), high in protein, and readily available commercially, so are a good food source for pet owners.

Yellow mealworms are scavengers and often infest stored grain products, especially in damp or decay-promoting conditions. They also will eat dead insects and meat scraps. They are among the largest pests infesting stored products, but they are not terribly serious pests in that they can be removed fairly easily by screening, and populations can usually be controlled with proper sanitation techniques. Although thought to have originated in Europe, they are now common in homes and storage facilities all over the world.

(Grains Canada 2009; Jacobs and Calvin 2009; Wikipedia 2011)


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