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 to Breed Mealworms

We have bench marked  production and costs from a 6m (20 foot) caravan and nearly finished the very comprehensive “The Complete Mealworm Manual “.  (click Here to register).

Below we outline the production rates for mealworms using both large scale (commercial) and small scale production (hobbyist):

Large Scale Mealworm Production (Commercial)

Below is an estimate of yellow and giant mealworm production rates for a 100 tray system.

  • Our farm uses 60 cm by 40 cm by 12 cm trays (24 by 16 by 5 inches), in a climatically controlled environment.
  • For benchmarking purposes we will describe the production rate from 2.4m wide by 3m long by 2m high space (7.8 by 9.8 by 6.6 feet) . We have used this size as the example as its; a common  room size; or half a 6m (20 foot) caravan; or half a shipping container (shipping container is higher).  In this space you can fit approximately 100 trays of which  trays are non production and related to the breeding cycle (10-15%).
  • Production from a tray is variable and dependent on: worm density, when you harvest (medium/large or  overcooked worms), temperature and diet. For instance worms in high density may obtain more biomass in a tray for a given time period, however it will take longer for those worms to mature (due to stress and resource availability).


  •  When using a very high Densities with climate control you can achieve between 1.3-1.6 kg (2.9-3.5 lb) per tray. This is the upper end of weights which have slower or reduced growth rates.
  • High densities have faster grown rates (but takes up more space) and range from 1.1- 1.2kg (2.4-2.6 lb). The High density described above provides a good balance between growth rates and space efficiency.

So the 1.3- 1.6kg is what each tray would get when you had 1 tray of very high density beetles.  So lets say you had 5 trays of high density beetles running, they would generate 5 trays of eggs/substrate per week (using the filtering method outlined in our mealworm book). Some 10-12 weeks later this would generate 5 trays of mealworms with 1.3-1.6kg in each tray.

Note the kg/tray you get per tray increase with age (hence why the range). So at week 10 you might get 1.2kg, at week 12 you get 1.5kg,  and week 14 you get 1.8kg. If demand is strong you could sell them at week 12 for 1.5kg but if you have a quiet period and you keep them for a few extra weeks they keep growing in weight and will get to say 1.8kg. Now the 1.8kg rate is at the very high end with very high beetle densities (with young beetle demographics), so to start with aim for a bit lower in the 1.2kg side of things.

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

Consistent Production is about Getting the Right Information

Many people struggle to keep pupae and beetles alive to obtain beetle densities necessary for productive growth. We have learnt first hand what does and doesn’t work. Even when you get densities right, the other issue that prevents productive rates is managing pests that can devastate production.

Our comprehensive mealworm book which covers all the aspects of productive breeding (20 chapters, 100 chapters, hundreds of photos). The commercial version of the book has an section “consistent commercial mealworm production” which outlines the key factors for productive growth.  The book can be purchased from here.

Small Scale Mealworm Production Rates (Hobbyist)

Production rates from small scale hobbyists is highly variable and dependent on 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 outside of optimal ranges (ie in winter and hot 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 mold and mites 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.

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

Our books set the benchmark for insect breeding with hundreds of photos and diagrams. To see why our mealworm book is the most comprehensive book you can buy on the topic, click Here.

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);
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  • 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…

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