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Frass

Frass

I popped round earlier to speak with adam about the bug breeding and the "frass" and i will share with you what he briefly explained to me.

So the frass is the exretement of the bugs and the golden dust your interested in. Heres a bagfull he just gave me.....

 

The basic process of the breeding is simple as you already know.......... Beetle lay the eggs, eggs turn to mealworms, mealworms turn to larvae, lavae turn to beetle. (i think thats right) then the process repeats. he keeps boxes at different stages, these bugs he keeps at home are for the research properties.

 

When asked about how to clean and when he said he doesnt bother, theres no need.

Heres some of the frass under the mealworms and the bran, which if positioned onto a sort of sieve base would fall through and be left with just pure frass, leaving the mealworms and bran above.

 

 

 

He also said that once the beatles have layed the eggs they could also be culled and used for fertilizer.

At the moment they are experimenting by feeding the mealworms on polystyrene which if successfull and once tested to make sure there is no traces in the fass will then become a large scale recycling process back at the factory. Feed polystyrene and harvest fass would be recycling at its finest.

heres one of the test chambers.

 

And finally heres some info on the fertilizer info etc he sent me.

 

“Frass” is insect excrement, the primary waste product from EBF’s mealworm farming operation. Upon refinement of the amount of feed required for optimum mealworm growth, all that will be left over at the time of harvest should be frass. EBF has confirmed that it is possible to reduce feed waste to zero on a small scale, but will need to do the same once industrial scale farming is commenced. This is based on work by Oonincx and colleagues (2012) where they identified the mealworm Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) to be 2.2 kg/kg, the amount of feed input required to produce a given weight of insect mass output. This is then used to estimate the amount of frass that will be produced, i.e. 550 grams of frass for every kilogram of feed input, and later refined following measured production. Frass is a 100% natural product and is able to compete with other organic fertilisers on nutrient content. It has a balanced Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (NPK) ratio ranging from 2:2:2 to 3:2:3, and what it may lack here compared to the most concentrated fertilisers on the market, it makes up for with its unique selling points. The first of these is that it has the additional properties of manure in that it comes with its own microbiological ecosystem, teeming with as many as 450 million colony forming units of beneficial bacteria. Secondly, and unique only to frass, is its immediately plant-available source of chitin. Chitin is the protein that makes up the mealworm exoskeleton and is similar in structure to a plant’s own cellulose. The advantage it provides for the plant can be thought of as an insect vaccination, stimulating an auto-immune response in the plant, boosting its growth rate both directly and indirectly through the production of its own natural toxins which are used to fend off future insect attacks. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, chitin and chitosan prevent the growth of grey mould, powdery mildew, early and late blight, fungal pathogens and pathogenic nematode worms from attacking plant roots. Lastly, due to the fact that mealworms, both in the larval and adult beetle forms, are herbivorous and when farmed, are fed only wheat bran and fruits or vegetables. The Soil Association has therefore endorsed frass as 100% organic and a suitable fertiliser for the farming of all organic fruits and vegetables.

 

I hope some of this was some use to you!

If you need any more info just ask and i will find out for you.