THREE INSECTS YOU CAN PROFITABLY REAR
The following is based on information taken from H L Saffell's book: "BENEFICIAL INSECTS - HOW TO MASS-REAR FOR A PROFIT". If you would like a copy for your own, CLICK HERE.
Now I'm going to introduce you to three insects which you can raise. Two of these insects are beneficial and the other one can be raised for selling direct to an eager market. Also the other one is used to help rear one of the beneficials above.
Since this book is admittedly an introductory or beginner's text, I feel that one or two insects is what you should start out with. After you've gained experience and a market for what you rear, you can go further. You'll then find other beneficials to rear.
I mentioned earlier how difficult it is to get information from other producers. But as you succeed, you won't need to worry about them. You can hire someone (an entomologist) who can tell you what to do. If you want to start producing a certain beneficial insect, you can go to him for advice. If necessary you might have him work part-time; it could be a side-line for him. And a life-saver for you.
Why an entomologist? Because he knows the preferred insect's habits, life cycles and needs. Perhaps a new artificial diet needs to be produced. The entomologist can assist you in finding such a diet. Also he usually knows what's going on in the field, or he knows how and where to find the required information. To be truly successful at rearing a new product, you may need all the help you can get. Successful producers have expert help on their staffs. And so should you eventually.
IN THE BEGINNING:
Concentrate your efforts on one or two beneficials, like Green Lacewing or the Trichogramma wasp. Also keep in mind that you can earn a pretty fair living with just meal worms which are discussed further on.
In any case, what I am aiming at in this introductory but very workable book is to give you information you cannot get anywhere else, because it is not available anywhere else. Unless you already own an insectary, your chances of learning anything about beneficials is nil!
Remember one thing: no matter how successful a producer is now he had to start somewhere at some time. And he had to start out just like you - with one or two insects. Some producers who are quite active still only produce one or two insects. They have specialized in a particular niche of the market. Nevertheless, any producer who is successful is one who stuck to it - just like you should do. That's the real secret behind any business. PERSISTENCE!
SOME INCIDENTAL INFORMATION:
Do not overcrowd rearing areas and/or cages. If you do you will get cannibalism as well as fewer and smaller insects. I mentioned before that you should separate different species into different rearing areas or rooms. This is especially true if you're raising two species one of which is the predator and the other the prey. This could be the Green Lacewing and meal worms or the Angoumois grain moth.
If you plan to stay with the rearing of one particular insect, you will need a starting stock which is as large as possible. In this manner you will have a large enough gene pool so your insects won't suffer from inbreeding. Also you should switch suppliers from time to time to vary your stock's gene pool. It is far better to start out with a large enough base so you won't have to pull in outside or wild stock which can bring disease.
SELECT YOUR STARTING STOCK CAREFULLY:
Make sure the producer who supplies you with starter stock raises his stock under the proper conditions. If you live close to him, go by his place and look him over. If the rearing conditions are not right, then move on to another producer. Some of the conditions you should be on the lookout for are:
However in most cases you'll find that established insectaries (producers) run a tight ship.
After you know a little but about what you're doing, you should try to arrange a visit to the nearest producing insectary. Ask as many questions as the owner will permit. Try to see as much as you can. There's a lot of unnecessary secrecy in the producing end of this business. After all you don't see that kind of cloak and dagger around the average greenhouse (hydroponic) operation.
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