KEEPING IT SIMPLE
The following material has been taken from H L Saffell's book: "Beneficial Insects: How to Mass-Rear and Make a Profit". If you would like a copy for your own, CLICK HERE.
Raising and selling beneficial insects is gaining more attention these days because of the following: many insects are acquiring more immunity to the usual insecticides and people are more sensitive to how their food is grown. Beneficial insects are notably quite efficient in destroying destructive insect pests. You don't have to worry about pest immunity when you use beneficial insects for pest control.
With markets becoming more stabilized over the years, a real need for this kind of "livestock" is in order. To begin this type of "farming" you need just a little space. Your cash investment can also be quite low. The best way is to start out small. Though elaborate equipment and more thorough know-how will come in due course, it's best to start out as cheaply as you can. After you have gained a firm hold on the basics, you will find many different avenues to pursue. This book will help you get a good start and stay with you as you sort out the possibilities you will encounter.
The rewards can be quite large. One, there's the real possibility of making some good money, at the least a comfortable living. Two, if you're a believer in doing things which are environmentally sound, then this can be what you're looking for. BUT FIRST you need to know what you're doing. Even after you do know what you're doing, you should remember to experiment now and then on how to raise your "livestock" and also on how to market the final product.
Some of today's producers have been either professionally trained or have worked in established insectaries. Others, like you, have started out with one or two insects and learned all they could about them, raising and selling them along the way. The point is it doesn't matter where you start. What matters is what conviction you bring to the job. The same could most likely be said for any other business.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
No matter how you start out, it's still a good idea to keep everything as simple as possible. Eventually you will be able to control large facilities and equipment. You will have complete knowledge of insects life cycles, biology and behavior, proper rearing conditions and a suitable laboratory host or artificial diet. The secret is to start out with one insect, raise and market it to the hilt, and then start branching out with other insects.
Always keep in mind: what you have to do to learn this business is exactly what you'd have to do to learn any business.
The requirements for success include knowing everything you can about the insect you plan to rear, a well rounded knowledge of different prey and predator species as well as the various host plants, and a well equipped and clean facility. When you grow large enough you can afford to hire professionals including adequately trained personnel. A future like that is some ways off. What you need to do now is to start with the first step - you and a simple no-frills setup.
The entire philosophy which underlies the rearing of beneficial insects is that you are dealing primarily with predator and parasite varieties. Normally the predator species which you sell will implant their eggs inside the target insect or its eggs. The eggs implanted from the predatory species become parasites and live inside the target insects which have become paralyzed but remain alive as a food source. However some predator species such as the common lady bug can consume large amounts of aphids and other pest insects.
Lady bugs do not implant - they lay their eggs in clusters attached to the bottom side of leaves. When the eggs hatch out they too consume large amounts of host insects. Some, like the Green Lacewing, do not eat other insects when they are in the adult stage. They only lay eggs which when hatched do the necessary work.
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