Feeding Birds Mealworms at Their Feeder

In “Feeding Birds Mealworms at Their Feeder,” the author shares their experience of trying to feed birds mealworms using a feeder. Mealworms, which are the larval form of the yellow mealworm beetle, are commonly used as pet food for reptiles, fish, and birds. Many people choose to feed mealworms to bluebirds and other insect-eating birds. Birds can be fed both live and dried mealworms, with live mealworms needing to be stored in the refrigerator and dried mealworms able to be placed in a bowl or on a platform feeder. The article also emphasizes the importance of protecting the mealworms from larger birds like starlings and crows by using covered feeders. With this information, readers can learn how to attract and nourish various bird species with this specialized food source.

Preparing Live Mealworms

Feeding Birds Mealworms at Their Feeder

Storing live mealworms

When it comes to feeding birds, the freshness of the mealworms is crucial. To ensure the longevity of live mealworms, it is important to store them properly. Live mealworms can be stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for up to two weeks. It is recommended to keep them in a well-ventilated container with plenty of space for air circulation. Additionally, it is advisable to provide a substrate such as bran, oats, or cornmeal for the mealworms to burrow into. This will keep them healthy and prevent them from morphing into adult beetles too quickly.

Warming up the mealworms

Before offering live mealworms to the birds, it is essential to warm them up to room temperature. This can be done by simply allowing the mealworms to sit outside the refrigerator for a while. Alternatively, you can use a shallow dish or a steep-sided bowl and place it in a warm room for approximately 30 minutes. Warming up the mealworms not only makes them more appealing to the birds but also mimics the natural temperature of insects in the wild.

Using a steep-sided bowl

To ensure that the live mealworms are easily accessible to the birds, it is recommended to use a steep-sided bowl or dish. The steep sides prevent the mealworms from crawling out and escaping, while still allowing the birds to easily reach in and grab their desired snack. This method also minimizes the chances of the mealworms scattering all over the feeding area, making it easier for you to clean up afterwards.

Feeding Live Mealworms

Placing the mealworms

After warming up the live mealworms, it’s time to offer them to the hungry birds. Place the steep-sided bowl or dish with the mealworms in an area where birds frequently visit. You can position it on the ground or on a raised platform, depending on the species of birds you aim to attract. It is crucial to ensure that the feeding area is safe and free from any potential predators or disturbances that could scare away the birds.

Observing the birds

Feeding live mealworms provides a unique opportunity to observe the birds up close and personal. Take the time to watch and learn about their behavior. Different bird species may have different feeding patterns and preferences when it comes to the mealworms. Some birds may prefer to snatch them quickly and fly away, while others may stay and eat the mealworms on the spot. By keenly observing the birds, you can gain valuable insights into their feeding habits and preferences.

Providing fresh mealworms

To attract and maintain a regular bird population, it is important to replenish the live mealworms regularly. Birds quickly learn reliable food sources and will return to the same feeding area if they find a steady supply of tasty mealworms. Depending on the number of birds visiting your feeding area, you may need to refill the steep-sided bowl or dish daily or every few days. Providing fresh mealworms not only keeps the birds happy but also ensures that they receive the necessary nutrients from their diet.

Using Dried Mealworms

Preparing dried mealworms

Dried mealworms are an excellent alternative to live mealworms, especially if you prefer a more convenient and long-lasting option. To prepare dried mealworms for bird feeding, simply remove them from their packaging and place them in a bowl or dish. Unlike live mealworms, there is no need to warm up dried mealworms before offering them to the birds. They are ready to be enjoyed right away.

Placement options for dried mealworms

When it comes to offering dried mealworms to the birds, the placement options are versatile. You can place them in a bowl, dish, or shallow tray on the ground or on a raised platform feeder. The choice of placement depends on the bird species you want to attract and the feeding habits of those birds. Providing multiple feeding areas with dried mealworms can also prevent overcrowding and allow more birds to partake in this delicious snack.

Feeding Birds Mealworms at Their Feeder

Advantages of dried mealworms

Dried mealworms offer several advantages over live mealworms. Firstly, they have a much longer shelf life, allowing you to stock up and ensure a constant supply for the birds. This is particularly beneficial during periods when live mealworms may be less readily available. Secondly, dried mealworms are lightweight and easy to handle, making them convenient for both storage and feeding purposes. Finally, dried mealworms are mess-free, eliminating the need to clean up any escaped worms or debris from the feeding area.

Bird Species that Enjoy Mealworms


Bluebirds are well-known mealworm enthusiasts. They have a preference for insects over seeds and readily snatch up live or dried mealworms. Offering mealworms can attract bluebirds to your feeder or nesting boxes, providing you with the opportunity to witness their vibrant colors and melodious songs up close.


Robins are renowned worm hunters, but they also have a palate for mealworms. These thrushes are easily attracted to feeding areas where mealworms are provided. By offering mealworms to robins, you can enjoy their cheerful chirping and observe their hopping, worm-like movements as they search for these tasty treats.


Thrushes, including species such as the American robin and hermit thrush, are insectivorous birds that frequently visit backyard bird feeders. They readily consume mealworms and will appreciate the addition of this protein-rich food source to their diet.

Feeding Birds Mealworms at Their Feeder


Woodpeckers are not picky eaters and will relish the opportunity to feast on mealworms. These charismatic birds can be attracted to feeders by offering both live and dried mealworms. Keep a lookout for their distinctive drumming and listen to their calls as they enjoy their meal.


Thrashers are birds known for their distinctive foraging techniques, often using a “thrashing” motion to uncover hidden insects. They will readily devour mealworms and can be enticed to your feeder or backyard if you provide this enticing food source.


Chickadees are small, lively birds that are always on the lookout for a tasty meal. Offering mealworms to chickadees will undoubtedly pique their interest and keep them coming back for more. Their acrobatic antics and cheerful songs will surely delight any bird enthusiast.


Like their chickadee relatives, titmice are attracted to the protein-rich offerings of mealworms. These small birds will eagerly seize the opportunity to indulge in this delectable snack. Providing titmice with mealworms can create a lively and entertaining atmosphere in your backyard.

Feeding Birds Mealworms at Their Feeder


Wrens, known for their energetic behavior and melodious songs, are also avid insectivores. They will happily devour live mealworms and provide you with delightful displays of their acrobatic skills as they search for more.

Protecting Mealworms from Larger Birds

Importance of protection

Protecting mealworms from larger birds, such as starlings and crows, is crucial to ensure that the intended species can enjoy this food source. Larger birds have a tendency to monopolize feeders and scare away smaller, insect-eating birds. By implementing proper protection measures, you can level the playing field and provide equal opportunities for all avian visitors.

Using covered feeders

One effective method to protect mealworms from larger birds is to use covered feeders. These feeders have small openings or perches that only allow smaller birds to access the mealworms. The design prevents larger birds from being able to reach the mealworms and helps ensure that they are exclusively enjoyed by the intended species.

Other deterrent methods

In addition to covered feeders, there are other deterrent methods that can be implemented to protect mealworms. These include placing the feeders in strategic locations where larger birds are less likely to venture, such as under dense branches or in covered areas. You can also consider using baffles or cages to physically block larger birds from reaching the feeding area. By combining these approaches, you can effectively deter larger birds and create a welcoming space for the birds that specifically enjoy mealworms.

Benefits of Feeding Birds Mealworms

Feeding Birds Mealworms at Their Feeder

Nutritional value

One of the primary benefits of feeding birds mealworms is their high nutritional value. Mealworms are packed with protein and essential nutrients, making them an excellent supplement to a bird’s diet. By offering mealworms, you are ensuring that the birds have access to a well-balanced and healthy food source that supports their overall health and well-being.

Attracting desirable bird species

Feeding birds mealworms can attract a wide variety of desirable bird species to your backyard. These often include insectivorous birds that are not commonly seen at seed-only feeders. By providing mealworms, you can attract colorful, melodious, and interesting bird species that add excitement and beauty to your outdoor space.

Helping birds in winter

During the winter months, many bird species face challenges in finding sufficient food sources. By providing mealworms, you can offer a valuable food supplement that helps sustain the birds during this difficult time. Mealworms provide the necessary energy to keep the birds warm and support their survival through the cold winter days.

Promoting healthy breeding

Mealworms play a crucial role in supporting the breeding efforts of many bird species. During the breeding season, birds require a higher intake of protein to support egg production and raise their young. By offering mealworms, you are providing an abundant and easily accessible food source that aids in successful reproduction and healthy chick development.

Mealworm-Feeding Tips

Providing a water source

In addition to offering mealworms, it is important to provide a water source for the birds. Fresh, clean water is essential for their hydration and bathing needs. Placing a birdbath or a shallow dish of water near the mealworm feeding area encourages the birds to visit and ensures their well-being.

Supplementing with other foods

While mealworms are a nutritious food source, it is beneficial to supplement the birds’ diet with other food options. Offering a variety of seeds, fruits, suet, or nectar can attract a wider range of bird species and provide a well-rounded meal plan. This diversity ensures that the birds receive a balanced diet and have access to the nutrients they need for optimal health.

Monitoring bird behavior

Observing the behavior of the birds that visit your mealworm feeding area is essential. Pay attention to their feeding patterns, preferences, and any interactions between different species. This observation allows you to adjust your feeding strategy accordingly and cater to the specific needs of the birds in your area.

Maintaining cleanliness

Maintaining cleanliness in and around the mealworm feeding area is vital for the health of the birds. Regularly clean the feeding dishes or bowls to prevent the buildup of bacteria or mold. Dispose of any uneaten mealworms promptly to avoid attracting unwanted pests. By ensuring a clean and hygienic environment, you are promoting the overall well-being of the birds.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Dealing with squirrels

Squirrels can pose a challenge when it comes to feeding birds mealworms. These crafty critters are adept at raiding feeders and stealing the mealworms intended for the birds. To deter squirrels, consider using squirrel-proof feeders with mechanisms such as weighted perches or cages that prevent them from accessing the mealworms. Additionally, strategically positioning the feeders away from trees or structures that squirrels can jump from can help minimize their presence.

Controlling insect pests

While mealworms are a desired food source for birds, they can also attract unwanted insect pests such as ants, beetles, or mites. To control these pests, regularly inspect the mealworm storage container and feeding area for any signs of infestation. If necessary, use safe and non-toxic methods such as diatomaceous earth or insect traps to eliminate the pests without harming the birds.

Addressing mold concerns

Mold can be a common issue when storing live mealworms. Excessive moisture or poor ventilation can lead to mold growth, which can be harmful to the mealworms and the birds that consume them. To address mold concerns, ensure proper airflow and ventilation in the storage container. Additionally, provide a substrate such as bran or oats that absorbs excess moisture and prevents mold growth. Regularly inspect the mealworms for any signs of mold and discard any contaminated worms immediately.

Considering Environmental Impact

Sourcing sustainable mealworms

When choosing mealworms for bird feeding, it is important to consider their sourcing and ensure sustainability. Look for suppliers that prioritize ethical and sustainable practices, such as those engaged in insect farming or using organic feed for the mealworms. By supporting responsible suppliers, you contribute to the overall conservation efforts and reduce the environmental impact associated with mealworm production.

Avoiding excessive use

While feeding birds mealworms can be beneficial, it is important to avoid excessive use that could disrupt the birds’ natural foraging behaviors. Mealworms should be offered as a supplement rather than the sole food source. By limiting the quantity of mealworms provided, you encourage the birds to continue foraging for insects in their natural habitat, maintaining their ecological balance.

Minimizing waste

To minimize waste associated with mealworm feeding, it is essential to feed only what the birds can consume. Avoid overfilling the feeding dishes or dispensing excessive amounts of mealworms at once. Regularly monitor the feeding area and adjust the amount of mealworms based on the birds’ consumption rate. By minimizing waste, you can reduce the environmental impact and ensure that the mealworms are efficiently utilized.


Feeding birds mealworms provides a plethora of benefits for both the birds and bird enthusiasts. Whether offering live or dried mealworms, it is important to properly store and prepare them to maximize their appeal and nutritional value for the birds. By attracting a diverse range of bird species to your feeding area, you can create a vibrant and lively atmosphere in your outdoor space. Implementing proper protection measures ensures that the mealworms are enjoyed by the intended bird species and not monopolized by larger birds. Furthermore, feeding birds mealworms contributes to their overall health, supports their breeding efforts, and helps sustain them during challenging seasons. By following mealworm-feeding tips, addressing potential challenges, and considering the environmental impact, you can create a harmonious and sustainable feeding environment for both the birds and the mealworms. So, get ready to welcome colorful visitors and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature with the delightful addition of mealworms to your bird feeding routine.

Birds Of Na

Birds Of NA is the top source for finding; bird news, species info & answers to all your questions about birds.

Recent Posts