Mealworms Lesson for Kids: Facts & Life Cycle

Instructor: Michelle Faerber

Michelle taught elementary school for five years, then taught in the Education department at the university level for three years.

Have you ever wondered what a baby beetle looks like? It actually does not look anything like a beetle in its baby stage. It looks just like a worm! In this lesson you will learn about mealworms, how they live, and how they grow to become a beetle.

What Is a Mealworm?

The mealworm is not actually a worm, it's an insect! It is the larva, or baby stage, of the beetle family, sometimes called the yellow mealworm beetle. The mealworm is called a grub or larva at this stage of its life, and it looks a bit like a caterpillar.

full grown mealworms

The Life Cycle

The story of this creature's life begins with an egg. A mother darkling beetle digs a hole into the soft, wet dirt and lays hundreds of eggs. That's a lot of brothers and sisters! After a week or two, these little eggs hatch and a new baby mealworm is born. They look like worms, but are actually quite different because they have six tiny legs to crawl around with. They are also different from worms because they still have some special growing to do before they become adults. This special growing is called metamorphosis. Lots of other insects, such as butterflies and moths, also go through metamorphosis to change their bodies.

When a mealworm is ready to change its body into a full-grown beetle, it transforms into a pupa. The pupa is surrounded by a hard case, which gives the mealworm protection and time to transform. During the next few weeks, the mealworm's body dramatically changes as it undergoes metamorphosis. After a couple weeks, the mealworm has completely transformed into a brand new creature! It breaks out of its shell as an adult darkling beetle, ready to have adventures and start a new family.

adult darkling beetle
darkling beetle

A Day In The Life Of A Mealworm

Being a mealworm is easy! All they have to do is eat and grow, and they do a lot of both. Mealworms are known to be voracious eaters. They aren't picky, either. They are known to gobble down grains like wheat, rice, oats, and barley. They will also chew up leaves and roots. Scientists have found that mealworms can even eat Styrofoam! And they don't even need to drink water; they get all the moisture they need from their food.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account