Monday, June 10, 2013

Blaptica dubia coming to Little Sprouts Farm

 The Blaptica Dubia are coming!

Due to arrive this week is our starter set of 500 of these little jewels. 

So what are Blaptica Dubia?   Well.. they are free food, easily produced, fast growing, and excellent for chickens, ducks, and turkeys! It is an in sect, a roach, that offers higher nutrition than a meal worm with a shorter lifecycle.  We are still working on our meal worm farm, in fact we will be building the next phase of meal worm habitat within 2 weeks. But adding these Dubia Roaches brings a further variation in diet and an even more balanced diet for the birds.

Why Dubia Roaches?  here's a list of the things that contributed to our decision:

  • Shorter lifecycle, long life
    • they reproduce in about a month but life for 1 to 2 years, making at scale production easier
  • Simple needs
    • they live and reproduce with only fairly simple environment controls. heat over 80 degrees and humidity over 60 %.  These conditions are easy enough to maintain at scale
  • Higher nutrition
    • these bugs have higher meat to skeleton ration than most, providing more nutrition per bug. n fact, a single dubia roach is equivalent to 5 to 6 crickets
  • Slow moving
    • makes then easier to catch, feed, contain. 
  • No Smell
    • we will verify this once we start this project but reports say they dont smell with minimal care. unlike crickets and other critters that have an obtrusive aroma
  • No bedding needed
    • these guys seem to prefer clean floors to substrate (bedding) making habitat maintenance easier.
  • Dont fly nor climb smooth walls
    • this is a big one! bugs that fly are notoriously hard to produce at scale. These guys do actually fly (males do) but like a chicken, they only fly downhill, so escape is nearly impossible. The also can not scale straight smooth walls. containment is relatively simple. 
Why raise bugs?  Because we raise birds, lots of them! Bugs are a prime food for birds. In the natural habitat, grains and seeds are only a small part of their diet. Birds need bugs to be healthy and produce healthy eggs.  So.. we are raising bugs! Chickens and turkeys are simple NOT vegetarian, not by any means. In the wild they will go after a bug (meat) over grain any day! 

Our goal for our birds is 1/3 bugs, 1/3 grasses, and 1/3 grains. (when all goes well). Adding more bugs, produced at scale, will further cut our reliance on grains and outside input. It will also dramatically increase the already high nutrient content of the eggs. 

As we get the bug habitat installed and operating, we will post pics of how it is going.  


  1. What about their potential impact on the environment if they were to get loose and start reproducing?

  2. Realistically there is always a slight chance of this with any domestically kept animal or pet. Animals of all sorts escape from time to time.

    However, on our farm we have anywhere from 400 to over a thousand birds at any given time. The possibility of an insect making it out of this area alive is practically zero.

    When we moved here 6 years ago, the place was overrun with spiders. When i say overrun, i do not exaggerate! They were everywhere inside the house and out. We wouldnt dare drink from a cup in the dark, there might be a visitor in the cup you just set down a few hours ago! But, once we brought in a few dozen chickens, the spider population was decimated. now, with many many more dozen birds roaming looking for a quick snack, spider and bugs of all sorts just dont have a chance.

    Its sort of like a prison camp with armed guards standing watch every 10 feet, highly incentivized to prevent escapes!

    our problem is getting more bugs to come, not keeping them from escaping.