Since we have had birds for years (Australian grass 'keets now, but in the past we've had our share of budgies, various finches, cockatiels, and even a conure) we have periodic battles with the moth pests. If anyone wants any, I probably have some now. They generally will attack any meal like starchy food- not only seed, but flower, nuts, pasta, cereal and grains, even some herbs (for some reason, they liked the dried chives...) We've gotten in the habit of storing everything we know they like in glass jars with the clamp down lids to protect them as best we can, but if the lid isn't tight enough even this isn't enough. Nuts are often in the freezer to kill them off. My 'keets (a pair of Bourke's Parakeets, and a male Scarlet Chested) will eat the moths if they can catch them, wich unfortunately they ar not very good at. This is interesting to me since these are very vegetarian birds for the most part. They seem to prefer the broccoli, lettuce and other veggies to the dry seed. Yet a flittering moth will get them hunting too. BTW, I have seen offered on ocassion larger "meal worms" which IIRC were a carabid beetle larvae. I first noticed them because other bird fanciers warned people not to use them to feed baby birds. As predatory beetles, these will supposedly actually chew their way out of the bird's stomach if they aren't killed first. My brother used them with some finches he was raising, and it was fascinating to watch the parents "chew" on the grubs, running them back and forth in their bill till it was a limp sausage of juicy stuff in the middle, but the skin still intact. And yes, if you refresh the meal they are living in, you can keep the darkling beetle meal worms indefinitely. Some folks who raise them for birds cut an apple in half and put it cut side down on top of the meal. That will apparently provide them with all the moisture that they need to keep the colony going strong. It may also provide other nutrients they wouldn't get from the meal. A college proffessor of mine had a colony he said was over five years old. But then, this is the same proffessor that collected beetles off of a porcupine road kill to start a colony to clean his collected bones :) Brett Johnson Green Man Gardens firstname.lastname@example.org
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