Re: birdseed moths

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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
bnbjohns@attbi.com


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