Insects & Livefoods
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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Other insects

. insects and livefoods

Give us a try and list your birds for sale on the "Birds for Sale"  web pages
To place an advertisement, click on "Birds for sale" web page in top navigation bar then
click on "Place a for sale Advert" web page. 
4 lines for 2 months is only $25

Note: Commercially produced insects are grown in conditions that do not support the transmission of any internal parasites that may be detrimental to any birds in our aviaries.  Some books state that some of the insects we feed birds may be a host for internal parasites such as worms.  In a dirty backyard situation with wild birds and insects being housed in close proximity it may be theoretically possible to have an insect colony contaminated by internal parasites.  Commercial production facilities maintain optimum hygiene to maintain optimum production.  Commercial insect producers rarely have captive birds on their premises and this minimizes or eliminates the possibility of any product contamination.

An introduction to Commercial insect breeding. - (Or where the insects come from.)

"Insect rearing management (IRM) is the efficient utilization of resources for the production of insects of standardized quality to meet program goals".  A really good quote from the book "Handbook of insect rearing Volume 1" by Pritam Singh and R. F. Moore (editors).

The quote has meaning for all aspects of animal / insect rearing.  It does not matter whether we are out to breed insects, birds, reptiles, marsupials or any other life forms that are raised under conditions built or controlled by people.  We, the breeders, dictate the conditions under which the animals will use or be subjected to, to  hopefully breed and maintain the animals genetic line.

In an intensive breeding unit such as commercial insect breeding, the following list outlines what the main costs are to produce top quality insects.

  1. Insect rooms  & equipment for cooling, heating and ventilation.
  2. Diet or food requirements for insect rearing and colony maintenance.
  3. Holding of adequate breeders and ready-for-sale orders.
  4. Manipulation of speed of life cycle.
  5. Heat and adequate clean water.
  6. Sanitation and hygiene of the equipment and facility.
  7. Disposal of waste.
  8. Maintain safe working environment for the owners and staff.
  9. The cost of labour.

Work areas in commercial production complexes comprise:

  1. Work areas: - are divided into clean work rooms and dirty work rooms to minimize disease and contamination.
  2. Storage  rooms: - cool rooms -  food storage rooms -  packaging, handling, and shipping supplies room.
  3. Personnel hygiene areas:  Showers - lockers - toilets - kitchen or food consumption areas.
  4. Administration area.
  5. Insect production rooms -  with own water supply and wash up area.
  6. Insect harvesting room/s - with own water supply and wash up area.
  7. Washing room for insect cages, equipment, utensils and re-usable items.
  8. Secure, vermin proof waste disposal area.


The most expensive and important item in any production facility is usually the breeding room/s.  This applies to home based hobby units as well as fully commercial facilities.

The initial fit out of the production or breeding room requires:

  1. Insect breeding cages
  2. Racks to support the cages
  3. Adequate lighting with multi stage timers.
  4. Thermostatically controlled heating.
  5. Small wash up area usually only used to wash hands or mixing disinfectants.
  6. Provision of external air extractors or internal air purifiers and fan/s.
  7. Storage cupboard for sanitation items and paper towel.
  8. Storage area for daily quantities of dry foods such as pellets.
  9. Durable, washable - floor, walls, ceiling, benches, cupboards, basically everything!
  10. Storage rack for clean boxes / cages currently not in use.
  11. Adequate bench space, preferably stainless steel surface.

With insect production the two main ongoing expenses are heating and feeds.

To minimize the heating expense, the room has to be adequately insulated.  As doubling the insulation R value usually does not double the cost, the use of 150 mm thick freezer grade panels is cost effective.  The  panels are steel or aluminium sheet covered and come with a  painted or enamelled gloss finish and are durable and easily cleaned.  All the walls, door and roof are made of the insulated panels.

To minimize the feed expenses, the bigger quantity one purchases at the one time, usually the cheaper the unit cost is likely to be. One proviso with that statement is that it is necessary to have adequate storage areas to store and maintain the additional quantity.  A refrigerator or freezer may be necessary to store some foods.

Wash up or cleaning room

This area can be expensive to establish as it requires the provision of

  1. Hot and cold water.
  2. Good lighting.
  3. Large sink/s or possibly a bath in which to wash and rinse the largest item/s.
  4. After wash and rinse rack or bench.  Handy to have a spot to dry large or bulky items or allow the item to drip dry or be blow dried.
  5. Cupboards to store cleaning products and cleaning utensils as well as towels.
  6. Protective clothing and items such as protective gloves, masks, safety glasses and basic first aid items.
  7. System to temporarily store dirty or waste items and materials.
  8. Suitable, safe spot to soak and disinfect re-usable items. e.g. soaking in bleach.
  9. A handy extra is the facility to heat sterilize either in an oven or by boiling.
  10. Adequate ventilation.
  11. Floor that does not get slippery when wet.

Respiratory and allergy precautions for humans:

The following is applicable to all insects but particularly applicable to mealworms and lesser mealworms due to the fact the mealworm frass (excrement) is so dry and has an extremely light small particle size.  The problem is made worse than for other insects due to them living in their frass making their extraction messier than other insects. 

The dusts in the breeding room and any fine insect tissues, when inhaled, can cause reactions requiring medical intervention.  The longer one inhales the contaminant the more severe the reaction can be.  The effect can be cumulative and the longer you breath it in, the longer it may take to cure (sometimes years).  The main contaminant is the (4) proteins in the insects frass (droppings/ excrement).  When this material is inhaled into susceptible peoples lungs, they may react badly.  General rule is never keep breeding  mealworm colonies in a residential house.

While handling any stages of the mealworm, do not rub your eyes as the fine material can have an adverse reaction and cause strong eye irritation.  Wash hands and any exposed areas to minimize the risk of skin irritation after you finish your tasks.

It is unwise to use a broom or similar cleaning product in the breeding room to clean the floor as it is likely to stir up dust which can be inhaled or settle in a breeding box or on other equipment resulting in a disease outbreak.

When it comes to sieving the contents of the mealworm box, take every conceivable measure to minimize the inhalation of any dust and to prevent its spread to others.  A wise precaution is to shower and wash your hair after sieving the contents.  Pop the cloths into the washing machine for a good wash before using them again.  Never go to bed with "bug dust" in your hair as you will inhale it throughout the night from on your pillow.

Most people tolerate some degree of contamination but if you exceed the "trigger point threshold" and get a bad reaction, seek medical attention and tell the medico what you have been inhaling.  Medical respiratory allergy specialists are available in Capital cities if required.

My philosophy is: prevention of possible health problems is better than having to cure a real health problem (It's also cheaper).

Top of - insects and livefoods - Page is one of the world's largest and most informative avian or bird web sites.  Copyright 2002 - 2008 inc.  All rights reserved.  Disclaimer:  This web site has been compiled from material provided from a large number of sources.  Personal experience and personal contacts have been used.  Results vary according to factors such as environmental factors, aviary design and the physical and genetic backgrounds of all living birds/animals.  Every endeavour has been made to ensure the accuracy of the material but no responsibility is accepted by  for the accuracy of the material on this web site. The intent of this web site is to provide a "care sheet"  format and provide general material only.  Readers should rely upon their own enquiries in making any decisions relating to their own interests.