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Have you created many insect farms?
05-26-2012, 03:06 PM,
#1
Mantis Offline
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Have you created many insect farms?
I haven't got any insects or reptiles of my own yet until I find my own place, but for future reference, I'm curious about how many of you have created your own farms. I'm also wondering what level of expertise it would require, how much room your farms have taken up, various other titbits.

Obviously, the usual reason for building a farm in the west is to use the insects as feeder food which would be my intention if I got a lizard or a praying mantis, but I do of course hear of kids getting ant farms because they are fascinating.

What are the pros and cons of farms for food over buying insects from retailers? Also, if I got my first mantis, at what point (if at all) should I consider a farm, and what kind of farm would you recommend?

As an additional question, I mentioned western culture above. But in eastern culture, insect farming for food for humans is common. What do you think of that? Tongue
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05-29-2012, 01:36 PM,
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The CatDog Offline
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
Personally I haven't had a insect farm or even the ant farm most every kid gets at some point in their life. I do know that most crickets prefer a warm environment the is relatively dry. Sorry couldn't have been more of a help here but I'm sure another member will be along shortly to provide some great information.
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05-29-2012, 03:28 PM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
Insect breeding is actually fairly easy. Some, like mealworms, crickets, and dubias, are quite easy. Others, like waxworms, superworms, and silkworms, take a bit more work. The pros of breeding your own bugs is saving money, and always having the availability at your home. The cons are the work, cleaning, etc... And depending on the bug and the amount you are breeding, the smell. Most don't smell as bad as breeding rodents, but it has an odor. Also, not over producing can be a problem sometimes. If you get too many, you have to raise some all the way up so you have the next group of adult breeders. Doing the math on this can be a pain at first, so you don't run out and you don't have an over abundance. The worms you can slow down in a stasis in a fridge are easier to manage, mealworms and waxworms.

I have no idea about keeping a mantis, the nutritional needs, and amount of food necessary. Or i fit is healthy to feed all one kind of insect, or if it is beneficial to have a larger variety. If you hunt down some care sheets and feeding information, I can help you figure out if it is worth it or not.
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05-29-2012, 04:04 PM,
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Mantis Offline
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
Thank you, guys. That clears things up a lot. Mantids love crickets, although I'm sure you know that much. So I guess I'll consider them as a possibility. I find it interesting that you can actually "slow down" types of worms. I bought a small book about how to care for a mantis, but I think if I can find a good e-book that will help. (I haven't found any proper paperbacks aside from the one I own on UK sites.)
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05-29-2012, 07:20 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-29-2012, 07:37 PM by Ram.)
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
(05-26-2012, 03:06 PM)Mantis Wrote: I haven't got any insects or reptiles of my own yet until I find my own place, but for future reference, I'm curious about how many of you have created your own farms. I'm also wondering what level of expertise it would require, how much room your farms have taken up, various other titbits.

Obviously, the usual reason for building a farm in the west is to use the insects as feeder food which would be my intention if I got a lizard or a praying mantis, but I do of course hear of kids getting ant farms because they are fascinating.

What are the pros and cons of farms for food over buying insects from retailers? Also, if I got my first mantis, at what point (if at all) should I consider a farm, and what kind of farm would you recommend?

As an additional question, I mentioned western culture above. But in eastern culture, insect farming for food for humans is common. What do you think of that? Tongue

Aside silkworms, I never really had any insect farm. I did keep grasshoppers as a kid for about two months before releasing them back to the wild.
Keeping Ants was another project I did for a few days for fun back in the old days.

To have your own insect colony as a food source for your other pets can obviously cut down the cost, and also provide the most fresh food.
It comes with more responsibilities and more work. Although I think keep worms are quite simple, since they won't jump around or fly away. Silkworm is extremely easy to keep.
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05-29-2012, 07:31 PM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
For mantis, they'd eat any insect. From worms to house fry, everything.

(05-26-2012, 03:06 PM)Mantis Wrote: As an additional question, I mentioned western culture above. But in eastern culture, insect farming for food for humans is common. What do you think of that? Tongue

I do not think insect is "common in eastern culture" for human consumption.

I've been here (Shanghai, China) for the last 8 months. I haven't seen any insect as food for human. I visit different restaurants every day, but not once there is any insect on the menu. Nor I have even heard of anyone eat it. If it is indeed common, I think I'd see people eating it as they walk on the street. Apparently ice cream and candy bars are what I see people eating as they pass by. Tongue
I had also been to food markets and supermarkets. Not once I have seen any insect there. The only time I saw insect for sale (silkworms to be exactly) was at a pet market as bird feed.

Once on TV back in the U.S. however, I saw an old Indonesian lady was selling BBQ spiders.
One of the American TV crews bought one and was eating it. Eek
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05-30-2012, 02:34 PM,
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Mantis Offline
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
Not necessary. I've read some insects really aren't suitable (and harmful) for a praying mantis. So it would be a bad idea to feed it anything without prior research. Sorry, I meant to say in some Eastern nations, not all.

Yeah, I'm going to eat fried spider or baked tarantula in future.
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05-30-2012, 11:13 PM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
if you start with enough, and have the time for it, its a great way to save money. my bug breeding projects take up my room, i have a tub of breeding roaches, and a tub for crickets, but i transfer the cricket eggs to a ten gallon to hatch, silkworms do not take much room, i use a cake container XD id like to get into mealworms soon, but it takes them months to grow to a size they can be fed off...so it all depends how many animals you have. if you have one or two, buying from a retailer isnt bad, but if you have more, id say breed Wink
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05-31-2012, 01:55 AM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
(05-30-2012, 02:34 PM)Mantis Wrote: Not necessary. I've read some insects really aren't suitable (and harmful) for a praying mantis. So it would be a bad idea to feed it anything without prior research. Sorry, I meant to say in some Eastern nations, not all.

Yeah, I'm going to eat fried spider or baked tarantula in future.
Looks like you are quite open on what you eat. Tongue
I am not "brave" enough to eat any insect. No offense to those who are brave enough though. Wink

Back when I was in high school, we had a large hand sized tarantula in our biology lab. I saw half eaten crickets in the tank.

What insects aren't suitable for mantis? I thought they'd jump onto the chance of eating anything they can catch. Once I saw a type of bee (not honey bee) on TV, 30 of them wiped out a colony of over 30,000 honey bees. A mantis tried to catch one of those "bees", it caught it, but that "bee" fought back and chew the head off the mantis and took it back to its hive as food. Eek Forgot what it was called, but the scenes were shot in Japan.



(05-30-2012, 11:13 PM)amanda509 Wrote: if you start with enough, and have the time for it, its a great way to save money. my bug breeding projects take up my room, i have a tub of breeding roaches, and a tub for crickets, but i transfer the cricket eggs to a ten gallon to hatch, silkworms do not take much room, i use a cake container XD id like to get into mealworms soon, but it takes them months to grow to a size they can be fed off...so it all depends how many animals you have. if you have one or two, buying from a retailer isnt bad, but if you have more, id say breed Wink

Silkworms indeed do not take much room. All you need is a small paper box.
What roaches are you speaking of? Cockroaches gross me out.
I used to play with crickets when I was a kid.

What do you feed mealworms? I am curious. Smile
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05-31-2012, 01:59 AM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
(05-31-2012, 01:55 AM)Ram8349 Wrote: Silkworms indeed do not take much room. All you need is a small paper box.
What roaches are you speaking of? Cockroaches gross me out.
I used to play with crickets when I was a kid.

What do you feed mealworms? I am curious. Smile

i have b.dubia roaches, they breed like crazy and are very nutritious for reptiles Smile much healthier than others. the babies look like roly-pollies, but the adults are kind of scary :p and ill be getting leopard geckos here soon, so im planning on using mealworms as their main diet with roaches and crickets mixed in.
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05-31-2012, 02:07 AM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
What I meant was what you feed to mealworms? Not what you feed the mealworms to. Wink
I have heard about these worms amongst fish hobbyists, but never bothered to learn how to raise these worms. Although, I heard they are not such a good feed for fish.
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05-31-2012, 02:20 AM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
(05-31-2012, 02:07 AM)Ram8349 Wrote: What I meant was what you feed to mealworms? Not what you feed the mealworms to. Wink
I have heard about these worms amongst fish hobbyists, but never bothered to learn how to raise these worms. Although, I heard they are not such a good feed for fish.

ahh, haha, sorry about that :p i feed mine dried oatmeal Big Grin lol. i can get it in bulk at the grocery store, or sometimes even amish farms. superworms are a different species and get much larger, but they eat the same thing too Smile
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05-31-2012, 03:23 AM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
(05-31-2012, 01:59 AM)amanda509 Wrote: i have b.dubia roaches, they breed like crazy and are very nutritious for reptiles Smile much healthier than others. the babies look like roly-pollies, but the adults are kind of scary :p and ill be getting leopard geckos here soon, so im planning on using mealworms as their main diet with roaches and crickets mixed in.

See, she thinks just like I do Big Grin I have been debating getting some dubias, they are illegal here in FL, but I really don't think I can propagate a roach species, I just don't like the damn things. When I was a kid, and playing with all the wild anoles that run around here, my mother told me to make sure I was nice to them, they ate bugs, like the damn palmetto bugs. I've loved the little things ever since Big Grin I have heard very good things using the dubias as feeders for leos.

Just as a thought, I don't feed any of my adults mealies. It started because I keep a male and two females together. They get along well, but the male is a garbage disposal, so I have to feed them individually, and it was easier to use larger feeders. The supers work well as a staple for breeding females, and keeps them at a good weight through the breeding season. 1 of my dams, Medusa, likes supers and the other doesn't. And Medusa has kept much better weight on all season, never dropping much below 45 grams, where my other dam got all the way down to 33 grams at one point, even though they both started between 55 - 60 grams.

I do start all of my babies on mealies, and add and supplement other insects from there. Crickets, butterworms, waxworms, etc... They are cheap, last forever, and I figure it is a good thing to get them started on early as many people who end up with them may use them as a staple feeder.
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05-31-2012, 02:24 PM,
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Mantis Offline
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
(05-31-2012, 01:55 AM)Ram8349 Wrote: What insects aren't suitable for mantis? I thought they'd jump onto the chance of eating anything they can catch. Once I saw a type of bee (not honey bee) on TV, 30 of them wiped out a colony of over 30,000 honey bees. A mantis tried to catch one of those "bees", it caught it, but that "bee" fought back and chew the head off the mantis and took it back to its hive as food. Eek Forgot what it was called, but the scenes were shot in Japan.

You must mean this video. I've already seen it and it's very interesting.





Mantids prefer live food. It is generally recommended that a mantis isn't made to face spiders or bees/wasps, since they can be formidable opponents. Whilst a mantis can hold its own against a black widow spider for instance, often it can't and in the second video, well, you'll see the outcome:









Of course, you could feed dead them dead insects/arachnids, but obviously anything poisonous is a risk, so it's best not to go for bees/wasps/spiders altogether. A website I read actually recommends against feeding many meal worms, and instead, only doing so in a small amount.

Quote:You can feed meal worms to your pet insects, however they are not staple food. They contain too much fat and not enough other substances to keep your pets healthy.
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05-31-2012, 04:35 PM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
The first video is indeed what I saw. I watched it on TV though. I think it was on Animal Planet.
Those Hornets have such armor that make them immune to bee stings. It's funny how in the video they call it "Asian invaders" massacring "European" bees. Big Grin

I was surprised by the second video. That Black Widow spider was dumb not to bite the mantis from the rear when it had the chance. The mantis was caught in the web, which made it a sitting duck. I really thought the spider was going to win, consider a single bite from black widow could have killed a human.

Third video surprised me too. Are you sure it's a honey bee? Mantis is the predator here, but it seems the honey bee kept on biting.
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05-31-2012, 11:25 PM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
Those little [/align]guys will eat anything they can catch, bugs, rodents, birds, etc....







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06-01-2012, 03:51 AM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
Yeah, they (mantis) will try to catch everything they come across, but they don't always succeed.
Sometimes they get killed by their prey as we can see from one of the videos.
I don't know if mammal meat is good for them. The protein structure is quite different compare to insects.
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02-25-2013, 06:20 AM,
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RE: Have you created many insect farms?
My younger brother had an ant farm for awhile until he accidently dropped it on the floor on day and the ants escaped in his bedroom. He fed them ant food from pet store.

For fun we used to keep native ladybugs in fine net enclosers temporarily during the winter and early spring. We set houseplants in the area with them so they could keep them free of aphids, plus give them a way to drink water when we misted the plant leaves. We would feed them moistened raisins and other non-acid fruit. Then we let them go to have a normal life.

I don't think I would want to raise crickets in the house. Ever been to a pet shop that raises or sells them, the escapies are all over the place. Course if you have pet lizards running free that would solve that problem. lol

I think the insect that gets eaten the most is grasshoppers and locust. In Mexico, I have heard they deep-fry them and somewhere there is a company that makes chocolate covered grasshoppers. I am not that hungry.
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