fuzzyyellow
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:13 pm
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Help needed: worms

Postby fuzzyyellow » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:46 pm

I finally settled on a project idea on feeding mealworms different diets. These mealworms are going to be in the larvae stage during the experiment, and I'm going to be using about 500-900 worms. The problem is: what do I do with them after the experiment?

MadelineB
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Re: Help needed: worms

Postby MadelineB » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:15 pm

Hi FuzzyYellow,

Sounds like you've got some feeding to do! One thing to do with your well-fed mealworms after your experiment would be to feed them to your local birds. I know that Western Bluebirds love to eat mealworms. I expect that Eastern Bluebirds will eat them too. This would NOT be a good choice if you are feeding any toxic food though, since you wouldn't want to harm the bluebirds! In southern California this time of year, Western Bluebirds can be found in your local parks and maybe in your own yard. If you're not familiar with bluebirds, here's a good link to see what they look like:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Bluebird#

Best of luck with your experiment -- and then enjoy watching the bluebirds!

fuzzyyellow
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:13 pm
Occupation: Student

Re: Help needed: worms

Postby fuzzyyellow » Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:12 pm

Ok, thank you. I do have another question.

As my project is about feeding mealworms different diets and then switching all of them to the same diet- can the gut bacteria in mealworms get used to a certain type of diet, so when they are switched it might take a little longer to adjust to a new diet and therefore consume less of that new diet? If this is true, can you provide sources because I couldn't find any?

Once again, thanks

MadelineB
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Posts: 609
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:42 pm
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Re: Help needed: worms

Postby MadelineB » Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:07 pm

Hello Fuzzy Yellow,
I am not familiar with feeding mealworms, but here's some suggestions for the feeding plan (design) of your experiment:

(1) if possible, have one group that only receives the "standard" food (call this your "control" group). You can monitor the daily food intake for this group as a baseline for comparing with the other groups;

(2) record the amount of food eaten daily (or even more often, if possible). This will let you see if the food intake is lower right after you switch and maybe increases after a few days.

You didn't say how long each group would be on each diet - if possible, I would suggest at least a week for each diet.

Another design would be to have all the groups fed the standard diet for an initial time period (say a week), and then switch each group to their "experimental" diet for another week. With this design, each group would be considered their own control, and you would compare the food intake on each experimental diet with the intake on the standard diet for that group. Again, I think you would want to record the food intake daily to see if it is lower right after you switch and maybe increase after a couple of days.

Be sure to let us know if you have more questions!

fuzzyyellow
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:13 pm
Occupation: Student

Re: Help needed: worms

Postby fuzzyyellow » Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:43 pm

Thanks for all the help! My worms are arriving on Friday, but I need to start the experiment on Monday. What should I do for those two days with the worms?

MadelineB
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Posts: 609
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:42 pm
Occupation: Biostatistician/Data Scientist

Re: Help needed: worms

Postby MadelineB » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:14 pm

Hi Fuzzy Yellow,

You could divide them into the groups you're going to use for the diets and weigh them - as a group - I doubt if you want to measure each worm individually! I'm guessing that you're going to give the food to the group? So you could use the total weight for a group and measure the food intake relative to that group weight. If you divide them up on Friday, they have the weekend to settle down and get used to how you're housing them. These sort of considerations are common precautions in regular animal studies, but I think they will help with your worms too!

You might also be careful to sort of mix up the batches of worms, that is, don't just automatically keep them together as they arrived.

Oh, and take some photos! Photos will be a nice enhancement for your project display at the science fair! Keep us posted on your progress!


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