While squirrels often eat bird food and seeds from the bird feeders and share a pretty common diet but what about mealworms? Birds eating mealworms is pretty common but are birds only which eat mealworms? Do Squirrels eat mealworms? Here are the answers.
If you ever notice squirrels stealing mealworms from birds, you may be wondering what do squirrels do with mealworms? Do Squirrels eat mealworms or what? Here are the answers.
Do Squirrels Eat Mealworms?
Just like birds, squirrels love to eat live and dry mealworms both. No matter where they find it, like a bird feeder, they will definitely eat it and even steal for its baby. There are many benefits to mealworms high-quality protein, vitamins and amino acids that is equal to meat or fish. Even its safe and nutritious for human consumption.
However, if you would like to feed mealworms to birds, squirrels may become a problem. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep squirrels away from it. You can either find mealworms in your backyard or buy from a pet shop.
What Are Mealworms & What Does It Look Like?
Mealworms are the mealworm beetle’s larval form, scientifically called Tenebrio Molitor. It’s a form of pro nympho that ends up being an adult worm and is the main ingredient for the mealworm’s pet food.
Like the ancient Chinese, some civilizations used mealworms as a food rich in protein available for human use. You can find mealworm soups in Asia as street food since it offers many calories and a protein intake that will be unique compared to other similar foods.
In the western world, mealworms are served as pet food. Birds’ mealworms are sometimes mixed with juvenile hormones to keep the worms in the larval stage and have them grown as much as 2cm long.
Here’s a picture of what mealworms look like.
What Are The Different Types Of Mealworms?
Modern manufacturing has made it easy to produce two types of mealworms:
- Live mealworms: This expensive type of mealworm is live and moving. Birds, squirrels like to eat live mealworms since it’s natural to be predators for these worms, especially when they are in the larval stage before becoming a nympho and fly away.
- Dry mealworms: As live mealworms is pretty expensive, dried mealworms cost only a fraction of the price the live mealworms do. The only drawback of dried mealworms is that they don’t have much water inside. Although dry mealworms have the same protein intake as live mealworms, they are cheaper and not so much appreciated by birds.
Which Type of Mealworms Do Squirrels Eat?
There are mainly two types of mealworms, live and dry but there are definitely different kinds of worms other than just meal-ones. As squirrels aren’t picky, they will eat any of the worms they find first. In addition to mealworms, squirrels enjoy eating earthworms, cutworms, grub worms, wireworms, and caterpillars.
Like raccoons, squirrels love to find easy meals so if worms are available in the bird feeder, its pretty easy to see squirrels raiding it. However, sometimes when food isn’t available, its also common to see squirrels digging for worms and whichever type of worms they find, they will chew it.
Why Do Squirrels Like Mealworms?
Like birds, squirrels like to eat either live or dry mealworms from the bird feeders. They usually try to find the source of mealworms and even break their containers to reach that strange, delicious product.
While omnivores, squirrels like to eat fruits like mushrooms, nuts, pine cones and meat like mealworms. Mealworms are full of protein and other minerals and have concentrated energy that squirrels like to feed themselves and their families.
If you leave some mealworms in your backyard unattended or in the bird feeder that is easy to reach, chances are that squirrels eat a good portion of them. Not only that, but if squirrels find humans waste or food like popcorn, or even chocolate, squirrels will eat it without thinking.
Are Mealworms Good Food For Squirrels?
Mealworms are good for squirrels since they contain many proteins, vitamins, carbs, and minerals. Don’t forget that mealworms are actually worms in their first state of development. That’s why they are rich in everything a squirrel would need to feed itself and feed the younger parts of their families.
Female squirrels in the pregnancy state also prefer to eat mealworms when they find them in your backyard. Live mealworms are a great source of water that covers part of the squirrels’ needs to rehydrate effectively.
How To Prevent Squirrels From Eating Mealworms?
If you are willing to feed mealworms to birds but squirrels steal it, you can definitely keep squirrels away from it.
There are several ways to prevent squirrels from eating mealworms to feed your birds. Here are some of the cheap or even freeways that may cost nothing and potential make the chance to leave the mealworms unattended for birds to have when they feel like:
- Remove Bird Feeders From Common Site
It’s easy to remove the bird feeders from the squirrels’ site. The most effective way would be to hand the feeders to high points that squirrels are unable to reach. If you use a rod, you need to make it smooth enough to reduce the friction and discourage any squirrel from jumping to reach the mealworm’s feeder.
- Spread Cayenne Pepper Close To The Bird Feeder
We all know that cayenne pepper is so disturbing to squirrels. If you spread some cayenne pepper close to the place, keeping the mealworms will be a good solution to keep squirrels away from it without disrupting the birds who have no smell of cayenne pepper and could eat their mealworms freely.
- Give Squirrels A Food They Like More Than Mealworms
If you want squirrels to stop eating your mealworms, then it’s better to start offering them the delicious food they mostly like. You can feed free access to feeders and fruits like strawberries, and nuts that are natural diets for squirrels. That way, your birds would have the chance to feed themselves with the mealworms without competing with squirrels.
- Use a bird feeder that has an integrated cage
Such bird feeders contain mealworms and are only open when a bird sits on them. However, whenever a squirrel tries to ascend and eat the mealworms, they close and take the shape of a cage due to the higher squirrel weight. It’s a smart way to keep the mealworms for your birds and avoid the squirrels’ raid.
Which Other Animals Eat Mealworms?
There are many animals that enjoy eating mealworms. These animals are rodents like mice and rats. They also like live protein food like squirrels and compete with them when finding a mealworm feeder.
Other animals that are like squirrels are birds. They like to eat both live and dry mealworms since they represent the worms in their early stage and make a delicious delight for them. Birds like to bite separately each worm from the mealworms using their beaks and being ready to spend much time feeding themselves there.
If you are looking for other animals ready to eat mealworms when they find them, these are raccoons, cockroaches, and snakes. As they like to sneak during the night and steal the mealworms, keeping the bird feeders with mealworms locked during the night is always recommended.
What Are The Most Frequent Places To Find Mealworms in Your Yard?
Most people buy mealworms from pet shops but there is always a chance to find mealworms in your backyard. The most frequent places would be tree canopies and rotten leaves where you can find many insects being reproduced.
Don’t forget that mealworms are the pro nympho for the dark beetle and when you find their nest; you are most likely to have a mealworm quantity somewhere close.
There is also the chance to find mealworms near or inside your compost. Foods that are decomposing are more likely to attract the dark beetle and leave their eggs there. These eggs are the primary place for mealworms’ creation. You need to be fast since mealworms are only in the worm phase for a couple of days, and after that, they try to get to the nympho phase and fly away.
Do Birds Eat Mealworms?
Birds are the primary mealworms eaters. However, if live mealworms are not available, birds will eat dry mealworms combined with grains and rice.
As nutritious as they are, mealworms are rich in proteins, minerals, and fibres. Pigeons or hawks, mealworms comes under every bird’s diet. You can feed mealworms through a bird feeder and keep high enough for birds that squirrels and other rodents are impossible to reach and steal.