Below we outline the production rates for mealworms using both large scale (commercial) and small scale production (hobbyist):
Large Scale Mealworm Production (Commercial)
- The production system we have developed uses 60 cm by 40 cm by 12 cm trays (24 by 16 by 5 inches). A high density production rate is 1.5-2 kg (3.3-4.4 lb) per tray. This production rate is high density using a climatically controlled environment. This is the upper end of weights which have slower or reduced growth rates.
- Medium densities have faster grown rates and range from 0.8-1.5kg (1.76-3.3 lb) which have medium growth rates. A lower density will produce faster growth but takes up more space. The medium density described above provides a good balance between growth rates and space efficiency.
- A ten trays/per week system using medium density will generate around 4-7.5 kg/week. This occupies approximately 2m wide by 3m long by 2m high space (6.6 by 9.8 by 6.6 feet). In this space you can fit approximately 100 trays of which 15 trays are non production and related to the breeding cycle (15%).
- We have used a 3m long space as this is a common room size or half a 6m (20 foot) caravan. A 6m (20 foot) shipping container will produce more as it is higher (2.6m high). Our latest project involves converting a 6m (20foot) caravan into a mealworm, cricket and cockroach farm. We have bench marked its production and costs and are now developing a detailed webinar and book series for breeding mealworms (click Here to register).
Small Scale Mealworm Production Rates (Hobbyist)
Small Scale production rates are less than the amounts mentioned above and is dependent on the system in place. Small scale production is highly variable both in setup, temperature and user skill.
Using 60 cm by 40 cm by 12 cm trays (24 by 16 by 5 inches) trays without climate control and moderate temperatures (spring and autumn) in a warm temperate environment could expect approximately 0.4 – 0.5 kg (0.9 – 1.1 lb) per tray. Temperatures in winter and summer without climate control are likely to result in lower production rates.
Temperature is the main issue which will reduce production rates, and the other issue is mould which is very common. The main reason for mold is that the temperature falls below the dew point due to no heating, which creates moist conditions which encourages mold development.