Bluebirds love mealworms! It has become a common practice of bluebirders everywhere to purchase live mealworms in the spring and have them available for the bluebirds to eat. I have heard stories of early arrival bluebirds pecking on windows to encourage the bird lover to get the mealworms out for them to eat.
Kids love raising mealworms. They are critters that don't need much attention, don't bite, can't get out of the plastic shoe box, and don't make much mess or any noise.
Keep the mealworms in the refrigerator at around 40 degrees. This will keep them dormant and they will not mature. They will stay good in the refrigerator of a couple of months without food, but I usually give them a little oatmeal and a bit of apple.
Offer mealworms to you birds by putting them in a plastic dish with a deep side so they can't crawl out and the wind won't blow them out. Attach the dish to the top of the bird house or place it near your bird feeder. Do not put the dish on the ground. The bird activity will attract cats or other bird predators who will prey on the bluebirds.
If you would like to raise mealworms, take some rolled oats and place it with the mealworms in a plastic shoe box. Include a small piece of apple so they have some moisture. Leave the mealworms out in room temperature. They will grow and develop into a pupa. Within a few weeks, they will come out of the pupa as an adult Darkling beetle. The adults mate and the process starts all over again. From time to time, you will need to clean the fecal matter from the bottom of the box.
Do NOT feed them chick starter. It is medicated and is toxic to mealworms. Rolled oats work just fine. Visit Wikipedia for more information on mealworms, their lifecycle and how to raise them.
Some people use dried mealworms. It helps if you soak them in water before offering them to the birds. Other birds are known to eat them too.
If you are interested in trying dried mealworms, they can be purchased at Darlington Feed and Ag Center or at Farm and Fleet stores (among other places). It takes a while for the bluebird to take to the dried mealworms. It helps if you soak them in water before offering them to the birds. Other birds, besides the Eastern Bluebird will eat them.
In the spring, when the bluebirds are returning, you can put out a tasty treat for them. Here is a recipe:
1 part dried currant or raisins 1 part yellow cornmeal 1 part old-fashioned rolled oatmeal 1 part corn syrup 1 part peanut butter 1 part bacon grease, melted suet or lard Mix well and smear into one-inch holes drilled into a suspended log suet feeder or put in a wire suet feeder. All birds like this recipe. Hang out of the way of raccoons.