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Live Foods for House Birds and Garden Birds / The Worm Lady

Everyone welcomes wild birds into their gardens.  Not only are they beautiful but they also do a lot of good by eating invertebrates like slugs and snails.  However, they can find life difficult during summer droughts when the ground is hard and worms stay deep underground. This is a time when nestlings and chicks may not get enough high-protein foods, and when even the adults may also be at risk.

Similar problems also arise in winter when the frozen soil prevents birds from digging into the sub-soil to find worms and other small live foods (insects). This can be life threatening for many these birds. 

Birds need high quality sources of protein in their diets so feeding them some live feeders is an effective method in providing them the best protein.

Additionally, some bird species are totally insectivorous, such as, flycatchers, swifts, house martins and swallows.  And others, such as wrens and robins, always prefer livefoods even if these insects are themselves happily enjoying meals of crumbs, etc.  

Conclusively, nearly all birds feed on some live foods throughout their lifespan and LIVE foods are one of the best protein sources for your garden birds. Live foods / insects also have a higher moisture content than seeds and grains which makes them especially valuable for chicks and fledglings that cannot leave the nest to drink, and that is the reason you'll often see adult birds bringing livefoods to the nest to feed their chicks during the breeding season.

Natural livefoods consist of worms, insect larvae and beetles, but in the last two decades their supply has declined dramatically, possibly due to the overuse of pesticides on farms and in gardens. The main problem seems to be the decrease of 'natural habitats' in woodlands and hedgerows, however, what ever the cause is, the lack of normal food supplies is leading to problems for the birds.

Therefore offering live foods at bird tables has become very important for a wide range of birds, from abundant wrens and tits, to the less common visitors, such as woodpeckers, goldcrests, and bramblings.

 Here is the simple answer: supply them with mealworms.   

  Add a new dimension to your Bird Feeding!

      Witness new behavior from your regular visitors.

          Encourage a far wider variety of species into your garden.

              Get robins to feed right from your hand!

It is important to know that almost all the birds, that visit our gardens, feed on insects and invertebrates at some stage during their lives (the only two exceptions are pigeons and doves which are grain and seed eaters exclusively). However, many birds will eat live foods only during the breeding season when their chicks require that additional protein which cannot come from seeds and vegetation. 

mealworms in bulk

Buy mealworms from The Worm Lady (we also carry the mini mealworms) 

 Fat and Juicy Mealworms

For a wide variety of small birds there is no better universal food than mealworms (the larvae of a beetle - ther Tenebrio Molitar -) are white to medium reddish-brown in color, are clean, wiggly and fat.  Though they might look a little like maggots (very often fed on carrion or waste meat- thus unsuitable for any small birds), they are actually very different.  Mealworms are raised on vegetable metter, are protein-rich (50.4% crude protein) and super easy to store.  

Mealworms are an extremely popular livefood for caged birds, and wild birds, as they are a totally safe food source since we raise them on a purely organic diet of wheat bran, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and apple, for nutrients and moisture, all vegetable matter - just like the leaf-munching catterpillars the birds eat in their natural habitats - and are a truly safe way of feeding chicks.  Chicks raised on them don't even need water since mealworms contain adequate moisture for them.

Mealworms are a clean odorless and inexpensive livefood suitable for insectivorous birds, Soft bills, and Finches above Siskin size, and they are readily available all year round from The Worm Lady in neat plastic tubs.  They are very easily kept alive and happy, as larvae, for several weeks in a cool place or, when the weather gets very hot, in the salad drawer of your refrigerator.  When their temperature reaches the required level they morph into an 'alien' which in 8-10 days will pupate into the small black beetle called Tenebrio Molitor.  They are edible at all instars, and phases of their developmenet, and much enjoyed as livefoods by birds and lizards alike.

Mealworms thrive when they have sufficient food and a little moisture ... some ordinary wheat bran, and a slice of carrot or apple once a day will keep them happy and growing.

 Mealworms and Waxworms will attract:

  • Blue Tits
  • Great Tits
  • Coal Tits
  • Marsh Tits
  • Willow Tits
  • Wrens
  • Blackbirds
  • Blackcaps
  • Song Thrushes
  • Pied Wagtails
  • Nuthatches
  • Tree Creepers
  • Warblers
  • Robins
  • House Sparrows and Tree Sparrows have a greater need for livefoods during breeding and moulting.
  • Greater or Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers may also be tempted as well as Green Woodpeckers.
  • Try Mini Mealworms to attract the real "tinies" such as Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests and small Warblers like Chiffchaffs.

Feeding: It’s EASY!

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler 

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

  • Mealworms and Waxworms can be provided by simply placing our small pre-pack tubs onto the bird table and removing the lid. Alternatively you can buy your worms in bulk and simply refill our small pre-pack tub.
  • To feed most species a smooth sided bowl is an ideal feeding device. Place on the bird table, on the ground or under a bush to attract a wider range of species.
  • For Wrens you may need to place a brick or log on top of the bowl to restrict the entrance.
  • Greater or Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers can be tempted if Mealworms or Waxworms are placed in holes drilled into a dead tree trunk or branch.
  • Green Woodpeckers can be enticed by creating an artificial ant hill, boring holes in the top of the mound and then filling the holes with Mealworms.
  • Virtually all insect eating species will eat both Mealworms and Waxworms.
  • Ground Feeding – scattering a few Mealworms on the ground or on sunflower husks under a feeder encourages birds to forage in a natural way.
  • Shallow dishes such as plantpot saucers – "baited" with a few Mealworms and placed near a garden pool will soon attract Wagtails if there are any in the area.
It is now recognised that feeding wild birds in the garden makes a valuable contribution to the conservation of a growing number of species.

When to feed Livefoods!

  • You can feed Livefoods all year round, although they are particularly valuable during the breeding season or during very cold, wet or dry weather.
  • Feed Livefoods at the same time each day
  • In the breeding season offer the food early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
  • Mini Mealworms are perfect in springtime as food for young birds leaning to feed themselves.
  • Carefully monitor the amount of food you provide. If all the food is taken quickly then increase the amount offered. If food is left over reduce the amount.

Many birds quickly recognise food containers and visit gardens regularly, particularly in the winter when natural foods are scarce. 

Some species become tame enough to feed them from your hand.

Note: Some native birds do benefit from livefoods when they are breeding, particularly in early spring cold spells, when natural foods are hard to find and many nestlings die from starvation.  The best livefoods in those difficult times are Mini Mealworms, Waxworms and Crickets.

 Livefoods for Garden and House Birds




We ship products Canada-Wide using mainly FedEx and Canada Post but we reserve the right to use the carrier of our choice. You can estimate your shipping charges at any time before ordering by using "contact us" --> Estimate Shipping.  Replacements of DOA feeders are allowed within 24 hours of receiving products.  Items must be photographed for proof of death and sent by e-mail to: [email protected].  We will issue a replacement product with your next order.  We cannot refund shipping charges.  See our shipping policy and terms of service.

The Worm Lady®

4 Lilac Court, McGregor, Ontario, Canada, N0R 1J0  /  tel; (226) 787-8286


Suppliers/Breeders of high quality live feeders :

ReptiWorms . Silkworms . Hornworms . Butterworms . Waxworms . Superworms . Crickets . Mealworms . Mice & Rats . Repashy Superfoods


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