How to grow a wax worm farm

Things You’ll Need

3-to-5 gallon container

20-gauge wire mesh screen

Gerber mixed-grain baby cereal

Warnings

Exercise extreme caution when you open the jar or you may find yourself with a housewide infestation.

For additional escape prevention, a piece of muslin or cheesecloth can be placed beneath the screen prior to taping it down.

Wax worm colonies thrive at room temperature or slightly warmer conditions.

To make a simple worm food, mix 7 cups of dry dog food with 1 cup of water. Wait 5 minutes for the food to soften slightly, then add 1 to 2 cups of honey to the mix. Let stand for 24 hours before using.

Wax worms are a popular source of protein, fat and calcium for amphibian and reptile pets. They are also a common choice of live bait for fishermen. The worms can be raised easily in your home and will provide a source of worms to meet your needs all year long. To raise wax worms, simply follow the steps in the guidelines below.

Find a small set of starter worms from the local pet store or bait shop. Begin with 24 to 36 worms. If you know anyone who keeps bees, check with them as well. Wax worm larvae wreak havoc on established hives and beekeepers are more than happy to get rid of them.

Set up a holding container. Wash a 3-to-5 gallon bucket, can or jar and allow it to air dry. Make sure you choose a container made from glass, metal or hard plastic as the wax worms are able to gnaw their way through softer materials such as wood or pliable plastic. Cover the opening of the container with mesh screening, 20-gauge or smaller.

Prepare the worm food. Combine one box of Gerber mixed-grain baby cereal with 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup glycerin. Stir the ingredients together until the cereal is moist. Add water if necessary, 1 tbsp. at a time. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 of this mixture on the bottom of the big container you’ve chosen. Store the extra in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Add the wax worms and a few sheets of slightly wadded-up waxed paper. Cover the opening of the jar and secure the screen by connecting it to the jar with duct tape.

Observe the colony. Every 4 to 5 weeks, add more food. In addition to the cereal/honey mixture, wax worms eat leafy greens and slices of apples or oranges. If your colony is successful, the worms will begin to spin cocoons. Moths will break out of their cocoons in approximately 2 weeks.

Remove the sheets of waxed paper when the adult moths die and place them individually into newly prepared jars. The waxed paper will contain the eggs, which hatch into new worms.

Things You’ll Need

3-to-5 gallon container

20-gauge wire mesh screen

Gerber mixed-grain baby cereal

Warnings

Exercise extreme caution when you open the jar or you may find yourself with a housewide infestation.

For additional escape prevention, a piece of muslin or cheesecloth can be placed beneath the screen prior to taping it down.

Wax worm colonies thrive at room temperature or slightly warmer conditions.

To make a simple worm food, mix 7 cups of dry dog food with 1 cup of water. Wait 5 minutes for the food to soften slightly, then add 1 to 2 cups of honey to the mix. Let stand for 24 hours before using.

Wax worms are a popular source of protein, fat and calcium for amphibian and reptile pets. They are also a common choice of live bait for fishermen. The worms can be raised easily in your home and will provide a source of worms to meet your needs all year long. To raise wax worms, simply follow the steps in the guidelines below.

Find a small set of starter worms from the local pet store or bait shop. Begin with 24 to 36 worms. If you know anyone who keeps bees, check with them as well. Wax worm larvae wreak havoc on established hives and beekeepers are more than happy to get rid of them.

Set up a holding container. Wash a 3-to-5 gallon bucket, can or jar and allow it to air dry. Make sure you choose a container made from glass, metal or hard plastic as the wax worms are able to gnaw their way through softer materials such as wood or pliable plastic. Cover the opening of the container with mesh screening, 20-gauge or smaller.

Prepare the worm food. Combine one box of Gerber mixed-grain baby cereal with 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup glycerin. Stir the ingredients together until the cereal is moist. Add water if necessary, 1 tbsp. at a time. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 of this mixture on the bottom of the big container you’ve chosen. Store the extra in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Add the wax worms and a few sheets of slightly wadded-up waxed paper. Cover the opening of the jar and secure the screen by connecting it to the jar with duct tape.

Observe the colony. Every 4 to 5 weeks, add more food. In addition to the cereal/honey mixture, wax worms eat leafy greens and slices of apples or oranges. If your colony is successful, the worms will begin to spin cocoons. Moths will break out of their cocoons in approximately 2 weeks.

Remove the sheets of waxed paper when the adult moths die and place them individually into newly prepared jars. The waxed paper will contain the eggs, which hatch into new worms.

Explore America’s Campgrounds

How to Build Fishing Worm Beds

How to Start a Nightcrawler Farm

Items you will need

3-to-5 gallon container

20-gauge wire mesh screen

Gerber mixed-grain baby cereal

Warnings

Exercise extreme caution when you open the jar or you may find yourself with a housewide infestation.

For additional escape prevention, a piece of muslin or cheesecloth can be placed beneath the screen prior to taping it down.

Wax worm colonies thrive at room temperature or slightly warmer conditions.

To make a simple worm food, mix 7 cups of dry dog food with 1 cup of water. Wait 5 minutes for the food to soften slightly, then add 1 to 2 cups of honey to the mix. Let stand for 24 hours before using.

Wax worms are a popular source of protein, fat and calcium for amphibian and reptile pets. They are also a common choice of live bait for fishermen. The worms can be raised easily in your home and will provide a source of worms to meet your needs all year long. To raise wax worms, simply follow the steps in the guidelines below.

Find a small set of starter worms from the local pet store or bait shop. Begin with 24 to 36 worms. If you know anyone who keeps bees, check with them as well. Wax worm larvae wreak havoc on established hives and beekeepers are more than happy to get rid of them.

Set up a holding container. Wash a 3-to-5 gallon bucket, can or jar and allow it to air dry. Make sure you choose a container made from glass, metal or hard plastic as the wax worms are able to gnaw their way through softer materials such as wood or pliable plastic. Cover the opening of the container with mesh screening, 20-gauge or smaller.

Prepare the worm food. Combine one box of Gerber mixed-grain baby cereal with 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup glycerin. Stir the ingredients together until the cereal is moist. Add water if necessary, 1 tbsp. at a time. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 of this mixture on the bottom of the big container you’ve chosen. Store the extra in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Add the wax worms and a few sheets of slightly wadded-up waxed paper. Cover the opening of the jar and secure the screen by connecting it to the jar with duct tape.

Observe the colony. Every 4 to 5 weeks, add more food. In addition to the cereal/honey mixture, wax worms eat leafy greens and slices of apples or oranges. If your colony is successful, the worms will begin to spin cocoons. Moths will break out of their cocoons in approximately 2 weeks.

Remove the sheets of waxed paper when the adult moths die and place them individually into newly prepared jars. The waxed paper will contain the eggs, which hatch into new worms.

How to grow a wax worm farm

Explore America’s Campgrounds

Easy Trout Bait

How to Grow a Wax Worm Farm

You don’t need to spend additional money at the bait and tackle store. You can easily grow your own fly larvae (maggots) for fishing, with a few household supplies and a little bit of patience. Creating your own bait-maggot supply also allows you to monitor the size and quality of your bait and choose only the best when it’s time to go fishing.

Place the raw chicken breast onto a sheet of newspaper.

Place one to two inches of wheat bran into a container.

Place the newspaper, with chicken on top of it, on top of the wheat bran, but do not fold the paper over the meat.

Place the lid on the container, but do not secure it tightly. The flies need a place to enter and lay their eggs, which will become your fishing bait once they hatch.

Locate the container in a quiet spot outside where it will not be disturbed by people or wildlife.

Check the chicken breast every few days for signs of fly eggs. They will look like tiny white dots, often clustered together. Continue checking on the container until you are satisfied with the amount of eggs you can see.

Wrap the newspaper loosely, but securely, around the chicken breast, to keep the maggots and their feed (the chicken breast) protected, and tightly secure the lid.

Punch tiny holes in the lid, using a safety pin. This will allow oxygen to reach the growing maggots but keep other flies and pests from entering.

Check on the container every two days until you see that the eggs have hatched and the maggots look like plump, short, white or beige worms. At this point they are ready to be used as bait.

Clean the maggots off, to prepare them for fishing, by placing them in the colander or sieve under warm running water for about one minute.

Fill the second lidded container with two inches of wheat bran.

Transfer the rinsed maggots to the second container with the wheat bran, and mix them in gently. Cover with the lid.

Store the maggots in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them as fishing bait.

How to grow a wax worm farm

Explore America’s Campgrounds

How to Grow a Wax Worm Farm

How to Raise Canadian Nightcrawlers

Commercial worm farms are a type of business that breeds and sells worms for composting and bait, or sells worm castings for fertilizers. A business can be small or large as preferred by the individual running the business, and can grow over time. Building a commercial worm farm requires starting up the business and breeding the worms well enough to start bringing in sales. Customers typically include individuals that have organic gardens and fishermen that need bait and prefer the use of live worms.

Write a business plan. Obtaining the initial funding for the business requires a plan of action, estimate costs and proposed profits. Work out all of the details of the business in the business plan.

Obtain necessary funding. While a commercial worm farm is not the most expensive business venture to start, getting a small business loan is necessary to get the business started and running before sales are possible.

Fill out any legal paperwork necessary. A commercial worm farm is a business and needs all of the state and federal tax paperwork filled out. Specific paperwork and business requirements vary by state, so look up the necessary new business paperwork on the state website.

Obtain bins for the worm farm. The number of bins will differ based on the size of the business. A new, small business might start with two plastic bins and work up from there. One bin contains the worms, the other is on the bottom to catch run-off from the first. Make holes in the top bin and place it so that it is inside the other bin and any run-off will fall through the holes and into the second bin.

Put pebbles into the bottom of the bin with holes. Cover the pebbles with newspaper and then add a layer of soil to the top. Add a small amount of water to moisten the soil.

Add worm food. Worm food is stale bread, egg shells, cardboard and vegetable peels. This is added to give the worms something to eat to start with. Add food as necessary when there is space in the bin, but never push down on the materials in the bin to prevent crushing the worms.

Add the worms to the bin and cover with a lid. Worms dislike light, so the bin lid is used to keep it out. Worms will procreate as long as they have food.

Once there are enough worms available, sell the worm castings or worms, as preferred.

How to successfully raise earthworms as a home-based business.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Is Worm Farming Profitable?

Worm Farming Questions

We receive many worm farming questions in emails and phone calls. Here’s a common one I’d liked to share with you in our Q&A post today:

Q: “Can I really make money worm farming? Is worm farming a profitable business?”

A: The short answer is “You bet!” But, of course, with me, there’s also a long answer.

Growing Worms For Profit

Successful Business Basics

Starting a business, any business, and making that business flourish requires that a few basics fulfilled. Check off this list tailored to worm farming from the beginning, and you are well on your way to success:

    Answer this question: Is there a market for your worms? As with any other product, you should have a supply of customers in your area that are interested in purchasing your worms and worm castings/vermin-compost. The market for your worms consists of fishermen, vermicomposters, bait shops, reptile/fish/rabbit/etc. owners, and gardeners.

If you live in an urban area, you’ll most likely require an online presence and ship your worms to customers. The trend recently, however, has shown even apartment dwellers and city-folks are becoming interested in vermicomposting (which you can do in a small tub in the laundry room) and container gardening.

The bottom line – find out if there’s a market in your area or be prepared to sell online.

Next. Step 2: Cash Flow

Profitable Worm Farming Resources:

Get off to a good start with your worm farming business. Find other how-to’s and troubleshooting tips in my Worm Farm Manual: A Step-By-Step Guide To Raising Earthworms.

Other Worm Resources:

European Nightcrawlers: One tough fishing worm. You could be the exclusive source in your area. Excellent composting worm, too.

Worm Farm Manual: Order today and get started growing earthworms.

How to grow a wax worm farm

Explore America’s Campgrounds

How to Grow a Wax Worm Farm

How to Raise Canadian Nightcrawlers

There is no more versatile bait when it comes to fishing than nightcrawlers or earthworms. While most tackle shops, bait shops and sporting goods stores sell live worms, creating your own nightcrawler farm is a way to save money and have live bait available whenever you want to head out to the lake for a day of fishing. Having a worm farm also provides a way to compost your food scraps and provide fertilizer for your plants or garden.

Items you will need

A container at least 7 by 9 by 14 inches

Shredded black and white ink newspaper

Crushed cooked egg shells

Prepare your container in the area you will want your nightcrawler farm to be. If your container is clear, cover it with newspaper as the worms prefer to be in the dark. Your worm farm will need to be in a location where the temperature remains between 40 and 85 degrees and out of direct sunlight.

Moisten the shredded newspaper with a small amount of water. You want the newspaper to be damp but not soaked. Place it into your container, add in the potting soil and crushed egg shells, and mix them together.

Place your worms inside the new farm and feed them with food scraps such as fruit and vegetables, bread and pasta. Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits. The worms eat about half of their body weight each day, so feed an amount based on your population.

Toss the bedding lightly each week to help circulate oxygen in the soil. Lightly spray it with water to keep it moist.

Remove about one-third of the soil every two weeks from the top and use as it fertilizer. Replace with new soil and crushed egg shell mixture.

Remove worms as needed for fishing. Within in about two to three weeks you will see new worms being born and your population increasing. You can remove them for your personal use of even sell them to friends.

Bugs. You want to eat them. But where to get them safely?

How to grow a wax worm farm

Hotlix is known primarily for its lollipops and other candy containing scorpions, crickets, or worms – the type of novelty treats you’d find in a gift shop on a pier. Though the products might seem a bit silly, the company is quite serious about its insects. “We process them here, to make sure nothing like bacteria gets on them,” says Hotlix owner Larry Peterman. He also manages the farming of the live animals. “We make sure ours are raised well. In other words, they haven’t had anything bad to eat.”

Though Peterman has always used this careful methodology with his food products, it’s only in the past month or so that restaurants and other food companies around the world have been coming to Peterman for advice and orders: the tiny Grover Beach, California company’s latest shipment of non-candied insects was sent to England.

This increase in interest is tied directly to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ 2013 report focusing on edible insects. The report’s main argument? Our consumption of livestock protein is killing the planet. Humans probably won’t stop eating animals, though, so why not make insects a regular part of the Western diet?

DIY Bug Cookery

Hotlix owner Peterman sells insects to other purveyors around the world, but he’s not able to ship in quantities small enough for the home cook. That raises the question: if you want to eat insects at home, where to start?

One could potentially become a bug hunter and head to a park to try and collect wild insects to cook. But that’s not an ideal solution. “Foraging them from the wild could prove problematic on a number of levels,” says Daniella Martin, who runs Girl Meets Bug.

Conservation biologist Phil Torres notes the issues of “unnecessarily taking animals from the wild,” and Marc Dennis, the founder of Insects Are Food, says that “you do not want to take bugs from the wild, because you don’t know what sort of pesticides or other chemical sources they’ve come into contact with.”

So as it turns out, foraging your own insects is potentially unhealthy for the planet and your body. But if not from the sidewalk, where does one obtain this tiny livestock? Many companies that started as purveyors of food for pet reptiles are now supplying human consumers, as well.

“I’d buy a starter batch of mealworms from a pet store,” says David George Gordon, author of the Eat-A-Bug Cookbook.

It certainly sounds unorthodox, but Hotlix owner Peterman agrees, saying they’re fit for human consumption. His tip: keep them alive for a day before cooking and eating them. “If they’ve had pesticides, or they’re sick, they’ll die quickly. If they’re still alive after 24 hours, they’re safe to eat.”

Still the idea of eating something from the pet store might be understandably off-putting to some. There’s another solution: farm your own insects.

“I would definitely recommend buying your first batch of ‘breeders’ from a reputable insect farm,” says Martin. Good sources include Rainbow Mealworms, San Diego Wax Worms, and Fluker Farms, whose crickets were highly recommended by multiple sources. Mealworms (beetle larvae), wax worms and crickets all thrive in captivity ”“ according to Torres, locusts can be added to the list as well.

The habitats of these animals can be quite simple: a plastic bin, ventilated and in a warm area, plus some oats, is all most bugs need to thrive. “Insect rearing can be very simple and low-tech. Also, unlike grazing mammals, they don’t need large horizontal areas to live in, and they can be stacked in a vertical environment for maximum efficiency of limited space,” notes Torres. “Many insects certainly do adapt well to farm-like environments. Numerous species can be raised in high densities, especially compared to mammals, so you can get a much higher nutritional output per unit area used to raise them.”

“One female cricket lays about 100 eggs in her 4-month lifespan. Roughly half of these eggs will hatch female crickets, so you will have 50 more layers, each laying 100 eggs, or 5000 more crickets within the next few months,” says Martin. “So, a minimal initial investment in a cricket colony could absolutely feed a family of four. ”

Andrew Brentano, co-founder of Tiny Farms, a company dedicated to increasing entomophagy in the western world, raises insects in the bins pictured above. “Our silkworms were raised in an environmentally controlled tent and fed a prepared feed made with powdered mulberry leaves. The mealworms can be raised at room temperature (ideally close to 70 degrees F) in shallow plastic or metal trays in a bedding of wheat bran or other grain byproduct, and should be fed additional vegetables like carrots for moisture. The beetles are adult mealworms in a breeding bin, containing about 150 beetles who may lay over 100,000 eggs.” (Tiny Farms is also launching a line of bug-raising kits for home farmers later this summer.)

If you’re ready to take the plunge, these are the easiest animals on the planet to farm. Insects are generally full of good fats and protein, and the only thing better than eating healthy is saving the world while you’re doing it.