Choosing Mealworm Trays for Commercial Production

Tray Considerations

As outlined in the “Choosing Mealworm Trays” Section, there are the following considerations when choosing a tray:

  • Durability
  • Cost
  • Ventilation
  • Cleaning

Below we discuss the trays we use for commercial mealworm breeding and their pros and conds. We provide the specifications of the trays which will be important when working out mealworm densities and volume of frass and substrate:

photo of a blue mealworm breeding tray on cement to build a mealworm farm

Trays we Use

Our trays were obtained from a asthma pump importer. They were technically second hand, however they were virtually brand new and much cheaper than buying new. Our Trays have the following Specifications which will come useful in the commercial section to work out mealworm densities and volume of frass/bran you need:

Measurement

Dimensions:

Surface Area:

Volume per 1 inch or 2.5cm depth:

Metric

60cm long, 40cm wide, 12cm high

2400 cm2 or 0.24 m2

6000cm2 , 6L

Imperial (US)

23.6 by 15.7 by 4.7 inches

372 sq in or 2.6 sq ft

366 cubic in, 0.21cu ft

How Many Trays Fit into a Space

Approximately 90-100 trays are housed in a 3m by 3m space in the caravan (half). The caravan has a wheel arch which prevents a bottom layer for trays (cross beam is approximately 30 cm from floor). Spacing between each tray is 5cm on one side and 3cm on the other (4cm average). If the same space was used in a shipping container or room/shed you would fit 100 trays. In addition to the trays you use for breeding and grow out, you need an additional 10 spare trays which allows you to do replace old trays without having to immediately clean them. 

Transport Considerations

One consideration most people fail to factor in is transport. A tray can appear cheap, however be sure to factor in cost/tray for transport. The larger the quantities the cheaper the transport/container cost. For instance when we order 110 trays at a time, it costs $250/shipment or $2.27/tray (110 fits on one pallet….only just- see photo). If we order 50 trays for a client the shipment cost is the same so the cost per tray is $5 or more than double.

Cost

Cost of trays with GST it was around $3.80 each plus transport. Delivery of 110 trays cost $250 ($2.27/tray). This makes the total cost $6.07/tray with delivery. Other options for similar trays is approximately $15 plus delivery per tray ($17.27). Going with this second hand option not only uses a waste product but is also 65% cheaper.