Tucson, Arizona

Mealworms Are For The Birds!

Many birds eat insects naturally, so feeding mealworms to the birds is a natural thing to do. Plus, you’ll enjoy watching birds such as cactus wrens, flycatchers, phainopeplas, phoebes, towhees, woodpeckers, warblers, thrashers and others devour these mouthwatering morsels! 

The habitat and elevation of your neighborhood will determine the species you will see. Most of the bird types listed above will visit your mealworm feeder anywhere in Tucson. On the other hand, Vermilion flycatchers live only near grassy parks and golf courses or the mesquite bosques along the major washes. They aren't typically located in desert scrub habitats.


Why Feed Mealworms?

  • Enjoy watching birds that aren't attracted by traditional bird feeding methods.
  • Make your habitat more enticing to the birds by providing a source of food for insect-eating birds.
  • Assist incubating females in finding food quickly so they do not have to leave eggs for long periods of time.
  • Provide supplementary food for hungry nestlings.
  • Help birds survive during spells of cold winter and hot summer weather.
  • Watching birds feed is just plain fun!


How Do You Feed Mealworms

Mealworms can be offered to the birds in a tray or dish that has slick sides to prevent the worms from crawling out. They can also be fed in a specialized feeder that only allows small birds to feed. When feeding mealworms, start out with as many worms as the birds will eat (Generally 7-10 worms for each pair of birds-increase as needed). Mealworms that are left uneaten will eventually die and be less desirable to the birds. Make a sound– whistle, clap or ring a bell when you feed to let them know you are there. It won’t be long before they will begin looking for you! 


Did You Know?

Mealworms are the larvae of the beetle Tenebrio molitor. The larvae stage of the beetle typically lasts for 10 weeks. To maintain the larvae in a state of dormancy, they must be refrigerated at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (lower temperatures can kill the larvae). You can keep mealworms for several weeks and they will maintain their dormant state. They are clean, easy to care for, do not carry human diseases and most importantly are a nutritious food supplement readily accepted by many birds.


How To Store Mealworms

Mealworms must be kept in a refrigerator at 40-50°. They can remain dormant at this temperature for up to four weeks. They are sensitive to extreme temperatures-too hot or too cold and they will die. If mealworms are kept longer than four weeks they should be taken out, moved to a larger container, and allowed to warm up for 1-2 hours and fed a few cubes of carrot or potatoes.

After awhile remove the food cubes and return the worms to the refrigerator.

Live Mealworms


Bullocks Oriole


Vermilion Flycatcher


Cactus Wren