The Great Meal Worm Debacle

10 Jul

My ability to grow things is the stuff of legend.

I can’t.

My sister and my eldest daughter could grow cactus in a swamp. I can hardly grow weeds. I have killed snake plant and Wandering Jew. I can make plastic flowers wither.

The Squire and I both enjoy feeding and watching the birds and squirrels in the garden. We’ve always wanted to attract blue birds, but the surest way to do that is with live meal worms. I’ve purchased small quantities from time to time, and set them out along the edge of the main feeder, but only the grackles and the squirrels are interested in them. Sometimes, I’d leave the container of live worms in the fridge too long, and they’d die and make a stink.

As would The Squire. Make a stink, I mean. Not die.

I mentioned this to a friend and he told me growing your own is very simple – and it is. A flat plastic container, an inch or so of chicken mash, a few carrots for moisture and about 100 meal worms, and you’re all set. Put on the lid, but don’t make it airtight, and let nature take its course.  Voila! Something I could actually grow.

And we were off! I was surprised at how quickly the critters multiplied. Cue the music for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I still wasn’t getting any blue birds, but by gum, we had meal worms! My friend said that because the worms like the dark, he often put a piece of folded newspaper on top of the chicken mash. The worms would crawl in between the sheets of paper, and could be shaken into the bird feeder or lifted off very easily.

Well, I did exactly that, except because my paper was more than twice the width of the plastic box, I had an extra “flap”. The phone rang while I was in the middle of this, and I walked off with the flap up – and the lid  off. (Don’t give me anything complicated to do. I’m easily distracted.) The worms don’t travel fast, but they can make some real headway if you leave them overnight.

I found the top of the dryer covered with the silly things the next morning. I scooped them all up, shook a few out of the inside of a pair of gardening gloves, turned the newspaper folded side down, and made sure the lid was secure on two corners.

Well, last night, The Squire was fixing dinner (he’s well trained that way) and he discovered several meal worms had made their way into a bag of potatoes and had had a high old time. Do you know how bad rotten potatoes smell? Lordy!  I think even skunk is easier on the nose – and your not apt to put your thumb into a skunk, either. (Oh, there’s a picture for you.)

Let’s just say he was not pleased.

Anybody want a meal worm farm?


One Response to “The Great Meal Worm Debacle”

  1. ReverendRef July 16, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

    Life is never dull around your place, is it?

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