Jump to content

Mealworms & Styrofoam Composting


Acro
 Share

Recommended Posts

Are you using Mealworms to compost styrofoam? I have a setup and I was wondering, do mealbeetles eat styrofoam too, or just the mealworms?

Do you have any other tips on styrofoam composting with mealworms?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

From what I've read, yes, they can.  I've started raising some with only styrofoam . . . and they are still alive.  I just mist with water every now and then.  I think the beetles need other foods though, but I'm not totally sure yet.

Check out these links on the scientific study of mealworms and styrofoam from Stanford University:

https://news.stanford.edu/pr/2015/pr-worms-digest-plastics-092915.html

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-12/su-msc121819.php

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I've only supplemented the adult beetles with fruit beetle jelly, but I think the meal beetle also eat styrofoam. 

I'm still testing this, but the mealworms seem to be living and pupating on just the styrofoam. 

Anyone (besides me) working with styrofoam and mealworms????

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You've certainly piqued my interest. I had been trying to reduce styrofoam waste by melting it down in a jar of d-limonene, though this method sounds more up my alley. But mealworms give me hay fever and my last parcel full of packing peanuts were the biodegradable starch kind. Curse these environmentally aware internet sellers!

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

*UPDATE*

I'm on my 2nd generation of mealworms, that have been raised on mostly pure styrofoam, I say "mostly" because I would give small portions of other food every month or so, mainly for the meal beetles that started emerging. I did find that meal beetles will eat some styrofoam, but they don't survive well on it alone and I don't believe that they break it down or compost it, like the mealworms do.

This next time around, I will remove pupa and meal beetles into another container. I plan to feed the meal beetles normal fare (fish food, fruits, and I will attempt at seeing if they will compost leftovers from foods that I eat) while feeding the mealworms only on styrofoam.

I added about 100 more mealworms to the group (yesterday) to try and get 2 generations going at the same time.

Last of all, these links were sent to me, and I will now share them with you. They are about SuperWorms composting styrofoam!
https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/beetle-larvae-can-survive-on-polystyrene-alone-67251
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969719352258

If you are using mealworms or superworms to compost styrofoam, post up your experience!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a tiny experimental setup with yellow mealworms and a substrate consisting of styrofoam and oats. 

The larvae are definitely eating the styrofoam.  About once a week I provide some sort of small chunk of vegetable (mainly carrots) for hydration and for the adult beetles. 

So far so good and they are eating it even in the presence of other, "better" foods. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...