StyroFarm – a habitat for styrofoam eating mealworms. It all started by accident…
I am a professional worm farmer. Our farm BioSoil Farm located in Glenville, NY breeds and raises cultured nightcrawlers on a special diet of what would otherwise be considered waste. We then sell our worm castings to farms to use as organic fertilizer. We also sell our Worm Castings to VermaGro Products, Inc. which then brews the worm castings and makes them into a super Liquid Organic Fertilizer for golf courses and farms.
We had a bunch of mealworms in the farm for feeding to our pet free-range turtles and frogs. One day a bunch of the mealworms escaped their “holding pen” and ended up in a Styrofoam container that was holding their pen.
It was several days before I realized that the mealworms had tipped over and were living in the Styrofoam outer container. They were burrowing in and seemed to be fine. So, curiosity got the better of me and left those mealworms in the Styrofoam container. Over a month later, the mealworms had gone through their whole lifecycle. They were eating, drinking, mating…. all as if they were in their normal grain bedding. But they weren’t.
I posted this finding on facebook just as a curiosity. Then my facebook exploded… Not only did people think it was cool or weird, but several people found that their were teams of scientists exploring this phenomenon and they sent me the research info.
This got me started on a series of tests to see if temperature affected their eating habits, to see if the mealworms did better on a grain diet, a styrofoam diet or if they were equal, and trying to determine if they could eat Styrofoam right away or if they needed a transitional diet.