close up of a group of mealworms on a white background

Mealworm Production Rates

How Many Mealworms Can I Produce…You May Be Surprised How Little Space you Need

close up photo of five blue trays side by side full of yellow mealworms with no substrate.

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.

Things that Affect Production Rates

Many Factors affect mealworm production rates mentioned above. For many years we kept doing things similar and then we changed just one factor and we doubled production. It wasn’t at first obvious…so learning from other peoples experience will save you years in trial and error. Below are some of the main considerations which affect production rates:

  • Stocking Densities and Risk Profile- Higher densities (High Risk Profile) will produce more mealworms but may require more maintenance and have a higher risk of disease and pests.
  • Conversely running a lower density (Low Risk Profile) will require lower maintenance, lower production rates but a lower risk of disease and pests.
  • Breeding Method- Having the right methods and processes affect maintenance and production rates.
  • Set up– Every farm will have a unique climate, container setup, temperature management and operator skill level.
  • Temperature- is one of the main environmental factors which affects mealworm production. Mealworms like higher temperatures however they can easily go into excessive temperatures which lower pupa development and production rates.
  • Breeding Stock- Around 10% of the stock you produce is used as breeding stock to create the next generation. The space this occupies is often overlooked when calculating production rates from a area.
  • Food- High quality food with the right balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates will affect production rates. Regular feeding of wet foods can double your production…but you need to remove excess food quickly or this benefit can turn into a mold and pest issue.
  • Tips and Tricks!- We have streamlined all processes from start to end.

If you need help to set up a commercial insect farm which accounts for the above factors then visit our Commercial Insect Breeding section. We have Consultancy and Partnership programs to help people set up insect farms.

Commercial Cricket Breeding Services and Information

We have been breeding insects to Zoos, Wildlife carers, pet stores and the public for over 14 years.  We have articles, books, videos, consultancy and Partnership programs. For Information and advice on commercial production, click Here. Our Cricket Breeding Manual (see below) is the most comprehensive private and commercial breeding guide available.

We can show you how to build a profitable insect business. See below how you can follow our latest project converting a 20 foot (6m) caravan into a profitable insect business.

The Worlds most Comprehensive Mealworm Breeding Guide and Videos

With around 160 pages and 240 color photos our insect breeding book series set the benchmark for insect breeding. To see why our book is the most comprehensive book you can buy on the topic, click Here  or to purchase click Here. In this link we will provide you with:

  • A Book sample with includes the books contents. 
  • 50 techniques our books will provide you to save time and effort.
  • How to access free videos when you purchase the books
  • How to breed crickets and cockroaches using the same materials.  

New Low Maintenance Cricket Breeding Methods Are Now Available

Innovative methods now mean you can breed crickets that:

  • Needs no active management (No spraying, no rotating crickets etc);
  • Collects waste for you;
  • Only requires one container  (not 7 like conventional methods);
  • Food/ water dispensers  which attends to your insects for 7-14 days or more;
  • Requires only 3 minutes maintenance every 7-14 days (less time than standing in line at the pet store)
  • Each 20 Gallon (70 L) breeding container can produce one container of adult crickets from a pet store each week.
  • The average 2 child family can produce enough scrap vegies to feed 4 breeding containers, which is enough crickets to feed 4-12 bearded dragons (depending of feeding rate). That’s around $1400/year (Au) you are currently throwing away!!.

For more details click Here.

Free Cricket Breeding Course

For more information on how to breed crickets, get your free 9  lesson  today.  This training course has videos and lots of useful information which covers:

  • How a conventional cricket breeding system works
  • How our proprietary cricket breeding system works
  • Cricket biology
  • Container design
  • Feeding, gut loading
  • Heating
  • Pest management and lots more…

We are Converting a Caravan into a Profitable Insect Business..

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