Insect Experiments

Creepy Bloodworms

Kids can make their own creepy bloodworms in this insect experiment. Just grow some mealworms, feed them red food, and watch what happens!

What You'll Need:

  • Mealworms
  • Red food coloring
  • Small and large bowls
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon
  • Wheat bran or other cereal
  • Cookie sheet
  • Plastic or glass container
  • Apple or potato
  • Plastic knife

How to Make Creepy Bloodworms:

Step 1: Obtain mealworms from a pet store or from a biological supply company.


Step 2: Make red mealworm chow. In a small bowl, mix red food coloring with 1/2 cup water until it is very red. Then pour 1/2 cup bran in a big bowl. Stir in the red dye solution, and mix until the red color is uniform.

Step 3: Spread the red bran on a cookie sheet to dry. (Keep this sheet indoors so other insects don't invade.) If you live in a very humid area, place it in the oven on the "warm" setting (around 200-250 degrees) for about 20 minutes.

Step 4: Place the dried red bran in a plastic container, and add some young mealworms. Every few days cut a thin slice of apple or potato, add a drop of food coloring to each side, and put the slice into the mealworm container.

Step 5: Set up a comparison group. Add young mealworms to regular bran. Every few days, cut a thin slice of apple or potato without food coloring and place it in the not-red mealworm container.

Step 6: Compare the mealworms every few days to see if the mealworms that have eaten red food turn red themselves.

Safety Tip: Kids should use the oven only with adult assistance, and have an adult help cut the apple or potato slices.

What Happened?

The diet of the red mealworms contained red dye. This was absorbed into the body of the mealworms, making them red.

Watch mealworms change their shape in the next experiment.

For more crafty fun and animal-related activities: