Home / Pest Library / Beetles / Meal Worms


  • Colour Dark brown to black
  • Size From 12 mm to 15 mm long
  • Also known as Yellow mealworms, Dark mealworms.
  • Description Mealworms are shiny and look like worms, although they are part of the darkling beetle group.
  • Notes Larvae look like tiny yellow caterpillars and can grow up to 30 mm at maturity with very hard shell-like bodies.

Why do I have mealworms

Mealworms like dark, damp spaces, and typically invade farm and grain handling facilities, or homes that are storing packages of processed grains.

These pests feed on decomposing grain that is damp and moldy, as well as meat, dead insects, dried fruit, and are also attracted to oatmeal, flour, and other milled, starchy foods. Mealworms are also reared in pet stores as food.

How worried should I be about mealworms

Mealworm evoke disgust when found in stored foods and can contaminate pantry goods. If the larvae or eggs are ingested with food products, it can cause gastrointestinal irritations.

Flour infested by mealworms sometimes emits a strong odour and contain waste, skins, and other debris that make it inedible. These pests can be a sign of poor sanitation.

Mealworms also reproduce prolifically, with females laying up to 500 eggs at a time. These eggs hatch into larvae in about two weeks and remain in the larval stage for about three months before pupating to become an adult darkling beetle. This beetle can infest food at any stage.

Due to the rate at which mealworms can reproduce, an infestation can soon become extremely serious, particularly for businesses that may lose their reputation, profits, and their ability to operate. Complete removal often requires the help of a professional pest control service.

How can I prevent mealworms invading

Keep food in good condition and moisture free, Inspect stored food products regularly, Check for old milled and mouldy food, Discard spoiled or infested food products, Keep your home clean and sanitary, Vacuum counters, floors, and cabinets

Other pests related to Meal Worms

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