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The Best Handling Equipment for Insect Rearing
Posted on July 8, 2022
Sustainability practices are becoming incredibly important to the health of our planet and its people. At a time when the population is increasing by billions over the span of just a few decades, it’s critical to find ways to farm food and meet consumer demands without negatively impacting the environment.
From feeding livestock to replenishing aquatic ecosystems, insect rearing offers numerous benefits that can drastically improve global sustainability efforts. In this post, MFG Tray discusses the practical uses of insect rearing and how high-quality handling equipment can improve growth cycles.
What is Insect Rearing?
Insect rearing is the intentional breeding of insects for use in agriculture, food production, dye-making, protein-rich animal feed, and more. Often referred to as “mini livestock,” insects can be bred in much higher quantities than other animals and are typically produced using far fewer resources than traditional livestock.
Some of the most commonly farmed insects include:
- Black soldier flies
- Buffalo worms
- Cochineal beetles
Unlike other forms of livestock, insects are less susceptible to potentially fatal illnesses and diseases, so farmers don’t spend resources on vaccines and other medical care. Moreover, many insects live in large colonies housed in small spaces, an environment easily replicable in a laboratory setting. Plus, it’s possible to closely replicate ideal mating conditions for a given species by controlling temperature, humidity, and light exposure.
Though you’re probably familiar with some forms of insect rearing, such as farming bees for honey or raising crickets for pet food, there are many other purposes that make it a worthwhile venture, including:
Maintaining Healthy Aquaculture
Aquaculture—the controlled cultivation of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, algae, and other plants—is the fastest growing sector in agriculture. Commercial fisheries give farmers more control over their stock’s size, health, and diets, but feeding fish appropriate diets can be challenging.
Many commercial fisheries are turning to insect rearing companies to produce fish food that is high in both fat and protein, both necessary for the health of aquatic life. And, because fish consume insects in their natural environment, insect feeding helps maintain a natural, healthy ecosystem within the fisheries’ contained environment.
Use in Dye-Making
Cochineal beetles, small oval-shaped bugs with a hard shell, are farmed for the pure red pigment they produce. The shells are removed from the bug’s dried body and ground into what is known as carminic acid, a powder used to color food, paint, textiles, and cosmetics.
A whopping 70,000 bugs are needed to produce just one-fifth of a pound of carminic acid, and the process is hugely labor-intensive. In recent years, many synthetic dyes have made their way to market, largely replacing the use of carminic acid. However, the pure red color is still favored by many and is now most frequently used in art.
Sustainable Food for Livestock, Pets, and Exotics
With recent pushes for more sustainable agriculture practices, many farmers are turning to insects as a practical feed alternative for their animals. Livestock like poultry and pigs need a diet rich in protein, and insect meal can provide the nutrients required to raise healthy animals for human consumption. Additionally, many people with certain exotic pets feed them insects to maintain their natural diets.
For Human Consumption
Though it may seem like an unappetizing practice, insect rearing for human consumption dates back to prehistoric times. In fact, Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations were known to enjoy beetle larvae raised on a diet of flour and wine.
Still today, insect farming for food is widespread in places like Southeast Asia, Latin America, and some parts of Africa. Consumed mainly for their high protein density, it’s becoming more and more common to see some insects like cockroaches and crickets ground into high protein powders and flours.
No matter what you’re farming or why, it’s essential to use high-quality handling materials to improve production and ensure safe handling practices.
Frass—the waste produced by insects—is a rich, nutrient-dense substance that can be packaged and sold as fertilizer. Comprised of excrement, shells, casings, and deceased insects, frass is particularly useful for growing leafy greens like cabbage, leaf lettuce, basil, and some tomato varieties.
High-Quality Insect Rearing Trays and Boxes
Insect rearing is a delicate process that requires careful attention and high-quality handling materials for proper production. MFG Tray’s fiberglass reinforced insect rearing trays and boxes are perfect for all life cycles in the insect farming process.
Our trays and boxes are stackable and inter-lockable, making safe, secure storage simple. Specially designed drop ends increase air circulations, allowing for quicker drying and cooling of larvae, eggs, and pupae.
MFG’s products have a smooth, non-porous surface that is easy to steam clean and powerwash. Additionally, our composite material doesn’t bend or warp with heavy loads, making it more durable than plastic or wood options.
The Best in the Business
MFG Tray’s products have been used in the insect rearing industry for over 40 years. Our customers trust the strength and durability of our products for the safe, efficient production of insects.
If you’d like to learn more about our products, contact an expert in our industry. Alternatively, visit our website to learn more about our insect rearing products and how they can improve your farming practices.