Do you want to start an insect farming business and you need ideas on the most profitable insects? If YES, here are 5 best insects you can raise for profits. Insect farming is simply the agricultural process of breeding insects intentionally for a large purpose. This might include human consumption, pet food, or even textile production (as with silkworms).
According to reports, the demand for farm-raised insects has grown massively in the past two years, partly because an increase in the popularity of bug-eating reptiles as pets, and because it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to add edible insects to our diets.
Insect farming is growing in popularity, and the benefits are impressive even for casual cultivators. It doesn’t take much money to establish a bug-based farm, and when managed correctly, you can transform it into a steady source of side income.
To start, one of the first things to do is estimate how many insects you could breed in your spare shed, garage or room. It might surprise you to realize you can fit 12 containers (70L or 18.5 gallon) in a 13.12 square foot or 1.2 m2 area. The next thing to do is work out which species you want to breed and consider your markets efficiently.
What are the Best Insects to Breed For Profit?
There are so many insects you can raise for profit, so it’s normal to be confused about where to start. Below are some common insect varieties you can begin breeding for profit.
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Crickets are an ideal form of insect livestock for both pet stores and human consumption due to their high protein. Most caged reptiles regularly eat crickets, which means a home-raised supply can be in high demand. You can also process them to get cricket flour and powder. Though this insect is notoriously difficult to breed for non-experts, you can learn the secrets for success with resources like Cricket Breeding Made Easy and setting up a cricket breeding habitat for the magic to take place.
2. Soldier Fly Larvae
The unbelievable king of fly larvae whose faeces make great compost is the black soldier fly. Unlike house flies, soldier flies aren’t attracted to houses (and are notoriously slow-moving and easy to catch if they do get inside) and their larvae actually out-compete housefly larvae in piles of organic waste.
To further market their business, black soldier fly farmers do mention that their bugs don’t transmit pathogens like house flies, and their larvae actually render compost piles odourless – even compost piles containing meat. Additionally, they are self-harvesting.
When the larvae have had their fill and are ready to pupate, they have an instinctual impulse to crawl up and away from the compost pile. Soldier fly farmers raise the larvae in special containers that direct the climbers straight into a pit from which they can’t escape, where they await their fate as food for fish, swine, chickens and a host of other livestock.
Otherwise referred to as woodies, home-raised cockroaches are a convenient treat for all insect-eating pets, and they are a hardy species to start with. As long as you can keep your roaches in a consistently dark, humid location, they should thrive and provide you with a consistent supply of offspring to use or sell.
Cochineal doesn’t produce fabric; rather, squishing the little bugs makes a deep red dye, also known as carmine, that is used to colour everything from wool sweaters to lipstick.
Cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas since antiquity, it was elevated to a global commodity in the 17th century by the Spanish, who exported nearly as much cochineal from the New World as they did silver. It went as far away as india to dye silk saris and the British used it for the infamous ‘redcoats’ worn by their soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
According to reports, production declined as artificial colorants were developed in the 19th century, though in recent years there has been a growing demand for cosmetics and food dye, as some of the artificial red colouring agents were found to be carcinogenic.
Silkworms are one farmed bug whose product definitely is always in demand. They are the larval stage of the silk moth which was first domesticated in China over 5000 years ago and, not unlike heirloom tomatoes or apple trees, have since been bred into over 1000 unique strains that produce silks of varying qualities.
In this modern age, silk farming remains a predominantly cottage-style industry employing the rural poor in many Asian countries. It is synonymous with mulberry plantations, as the leaves of the white mulberry tree are the sole food source of the silk worm.
Note there have been some attempts to tinker with silkworm genes, including the introduction of spider DNA into silkworms in hopes of engineering a stronger silk for industrial applications, such as airbags and bullet-proof vests (spider silk is stronger than steel, but arachnids are tough to domesticate).
Other Types of Insect You Can Breed for Profit Include:
Mealworms, Darkling Beetle, Banded Cricket, Grasshoppers, Ladybugs.
5 Tips to Ensure Profit from Raising Insects
Although breeding insects as livestock is quite straightforward compared to other animal varieties, there are still some tips to help you get started.
Start Small and Grow
These insects are tiny by nature, so there’s no reason to scale up your operation before you’re ready. As an insect farmer, you can master the basics and get bigger over time.
Watch out for Diseases
Have it in mind that bugs often attack other bugs, and the wrong infestation can wipe out your operation. Watch out for fruit flies, and keep your operation undercover (literally) to prevent outside species from contaminating them.
Research your Market
Don’t forget to pay attention to the insect needs in your area, and you can choose the variety that makes sense for you. After all, the last thing you want if you’re the owner of thousands of crickets is to hear that your local pet store is turning down suppliers and that your region’s gardeners are desperate for more ladybugs.
Be Innovative and Experiment
Note that one advantage that insects have over other livestock is their short life spans, which means that you can try something new with each generation and continuously hone your technique. This will help you achieve better results over time.
Leverage Your Local Market
Have it in mind that if people don’t know about your bug supply, they won’t think to purchase them from you. Advertise as much as you can: on Facebook, in pet stores, Craigslist, and your local newspaper. The more you get the word out, the faster you’ll move your stock along.
Raising insects can benefit your diet, your wallet, and the environment. Take your time to understand the world of invertebrates, and you might be surprised at how easy the breeding process can be.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Best Insects To Breed For Profit?
Here are some of the insects you can breed for profit;
- Red Wigglers (Worm Castings)
- Soldier Fly Larvae.
How Much Profit Can An Insect Farm Make?
Despite the fact that many insect farmers choose to remain small, limiting their service to the local community, the sky’s the limit when it comes to potential profit. The five leading insect farming companies report profits upwards of $2 million annually.
How Does Insect Farming Work?
Insect farming is the practice of raising and breeding insects as livestock, also referred to as mini livestock or micro stock. Insects may be farmed for the commodities they produce (like silk, honey, lac or insect tea), or for them themselves; to be used as food, as feed, as a dye, and otherwise.
What Are Some Insider Tips For Jump Starting A Insect Farm?
- Create business brand for your insect farm
- Leverage on up-takers
- Develop a strategic business plan, organizational structure, and operational support systems.
- Avoid common mistakes most insect farmers make.
- Become connected to the community and insect exporters.
- Put your employees first.
- Don’t just acquire customers, retain them.
- Get organized.
What Is The Easiest Feeder Insect To Breed?
- Dubia roaches
Who Are The Leading Insect Farming Startups?
- Ÿnsect (France)
- AgriProtein (UK)
- Innovafeed (France)
- Protix Biosystems (Netherlands)
- nextProtein (France)
- Protifarm (Netherlands)
- Nextalim (France)
- Nasekomo (Bulgaria)
- Hexafly (Ireland)
- Entocycle (UK)
- AgriProtein (South Africa)
Which Insect Is The Easiest To Breed?
The easiest insect to breed is Cricket and it takes 30 days to breed them.
What Are The Costs Involved In Opening An Insect Farm?
- The cost of securing the required business license and permits
- The cost of securing farming land
- The cost of constructions of insect cages and boxes
- The cost of purchase of the first set of insects
- The cost of hiring and paying of employees
- The cost of paying of utility bills
- The cost of purchase of distribution trucks and vans.
What Are Some Skills And Experiences That Will Help You Build A Successful Insect Farm?
- Insect breeding and farming skills
- Business Management skills
- Bargaining skills
- Marketing and sales skills
- Customer service skills
- Basic accounting and Bookkeeping skills
What Is The Growth Potential For A Insect Farm?
Insect farming has rapidly grown over the last decade, and now is a multimillion dollar industry. Pound for pound, insects are the most efficient way to produce animal protein for humans. This presents new markets and a good opportunity for people to earn income from your garage or shed.
How Can You Make Your Business More Profitable?
- Cut operational cost
- Increase your market shares by reaching out to more customers
- Expand your business
How Much Does It Cost To Start An Insect Farm?
Cricket farms are expensive to set up. 10,000 square feet can cost $100,000 dollars to set up.
How Do I Start My Own Insect Farm?
When first starting your farm, you will need to set aside time each day to clean, feed, and breed your insects. Depending upon the insect you decide to breed, this could include spraying eggs, separating the bugs, and topping off food and water containers.
What Is The Easiest Feeder Insect To Breed?
When considering maturation and gestation time combined with the difficulty to breed and care for, dubia roaches are the easiest to breed as a feeder insect.
How Do You Save Money On Feeder Insects?
One of the best ways to save money on your feeder insects is to breed them yourself. Crickets and mealworms are reasonably easy to breed and raise up to feeding size. Crickets are a bit more difficult than mealworms.
Why Grow Your Own Mealworms?
Mealworms are a healthy, nutritious snack full of protein that helps your hens lay lots of eggs. Fortunately, you can grow your own mealworms for a fraction of the cost and provide your birds with healthy snacks all year round.
What Happens During A Typical Day At An Insect Farm?
The average day in an insect farm starts with checking the insects to be sure they are ok, checking the temperature in the cage, feeding the insect and harvesting matured insects for sale.
Why Do People Raise Mealworms?
Raising mealworms is a wonderfully easy way to produce a high-protein food for your poultry (or for adventuresome humans). Mealworms also turn food scraps (or even styrofoam!) into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that’s great for your garden or potted plants.
Why Is It Illegal To Feed Chickens Mealworms?
Well, aside from the fact that mealworms are not good for chicken, they do not need it and it is illegal in most countries.
How To Start A Mealworm Farm?
Step 1: Find a Container.
Step 2: Prepare Your Container.
Step 3: Add Your Substrate.
Step 4: Add Mealworms to Your Farm.
Step 5: Feed Them and Let Them Grow.
Step 6: Collect Your Mealworms.
How Is Insect Farming Good For The Economy?
Insect farming is good for the economy because insect farming is a more efficient alternative to raising livestock, because insects take up less space and require less food and water than large farm animals. These small scale insect farms can help families in developing countries raise protein-rich food.
Who Is Your Target Market?
If you are into insect farming, then your target market will be people who are into poultry farming, people who are into livestock farming and also people who eat insects.
How Much Do Crickets Sell For?
Crickets make great bait for fishing and are frequently purchased by reptile owners as snack food. Crickets are also easy to breed and can sell for up to $12 for 250.
How Many Crickets Can I Keep In A 10 Gallon Tank?
What Is The Best Temperature To Keep Crickets Alive?
The optimum temperature range for crickets should be 70°-75°F during the day and at night. This is necessary for the crickets’ metabolisms and immune systems to function properly.
How Long Will Crickets Live In A Cage?
If you do everything correctly, your crickets can live to be 8-10 weeks old!
How Big Of A Container Do You Need For 500 Crickets?
Crickets ½” and larger need to be kept in an 18-20 gallon container that is at least 15″ tall. You’ll need a container that’s slick enough on the inside to prevent the crickets from climbing out. Also, crickets require a good amount of ventilation.
How Do You Keep A Locust Colony?
Locusts can be housed in plastic enclosures such as a cricket keeper. This will give them the space they require to live and will also give them the ventilation they require. If you want to grow the locusts to a very large size when they have wings then a larger enclosure may be needed.
How Can You Tell If A Hornworm Is Male Or Female?
Examine the ventral tip of the abdomen with a hand lens. Males exhibit 2 small bumps on segment 9, the next to last segment. Segment 9 is smooth on females, and there is a thin groove on segment 8.