Actual Size: 12-15mm

Characteristics: Dark brown to black

Legs: Six

Antennae: No

Wings: No

Habitat: dark, damp spaces


  • Also known as “yellow mealworms” or “dark mealworms”
  • Part of the darkling beetle group
  • Females can lay 500 eggs at a time

Mealworms on Long Island

Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle, so they aren’t a true worm, despite the name. They represent the fourth stage in the life cycle of the beetle, between molted worms and pupae. They aren’t just pantry pests, but they’re fond of the grains of your cabinets and can quickly feed off and reproduce in your food supply. 

Mealworm Habitat

In agricultural settings, mealworms may be found invading farm and grain handling facilities. Or, if outdoors, they might choose instead to feed on leaves, dead insects and animal waste. Wherever they go, they will look for places that are dark, cool and moist. This may be under rocks or logs in animal burrows, or it could be in the darkness of your pantry.

Mealworm Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Mealworms, like other pantry pests, are hard to detect until they’ve infested your cabinets. If you ingest the larvae or eggs left inside your food products, it can cause gastrointestinal irritation and general discomfort. So if you notice small holes and bite marks on the exterior packaging of your stored, dry goods, it’s vital you remove the contaminated foodstuffs and any other ones that may be contaminated.

If you are dealing with Mealworms on your property, contact your local exterminators.