Growing Mealworms for the First Time?
Updated: Aug 7
You might remember Laurence, he carried out the 7-day edible insect challenge earlier this year. Laurence really enjoyed the experience of integrating mealworms into his diet, and by the end of the challenge, he was ready to start growing mealworms himself. So Laurence tried out our insect growing pod, Re_.
In this blog, we speak to Laurence to find out how he’s been getting on with Re_.
Re_ is now live on Kickstarter! If you want to grow your own source of delicious and high protein food at home, you can! Pre-order below!
What was it that interested you in edible insects?
I have always been interested in finding new, innovative ways to reduce my carbon footprint. I am a masters student studying an MSC in Climate Change, and as part of my university course, I chose to explore this further, specifically researching alternative diets and sustainable lifestyle choices.
My research led me to discover the sustainable benefits of eating insects, and I was shocked to find out that insect farming produces one-hundredth of the emissions of the equivalent output from cattle farming.
I then discovered BeoBia, and the awesome work Thomas is doing to make insect farming affordable and possible from your own home.
Can you explain the process of growing and harvesting mealworms to our readers?
The process can be split into two main stages, the first being the beetle stage and the second being the mealworm stage.
The beetle stage simply involves growing your mealworms into pupae and then beetles.
Over the first few weeks, the mealworms will turn into pupae. You then transfer the pupae from tray one onto the raised pupa home in tray two. You continue this process until all the mealworms from tray one have turned into pupae. The Pupae will then develop into beetles and crawl off the raised pupa home, and lay eggs in the beetle tray.
The mealworm stage is where I am at the moment, this involves moving the beetle home from tray to tray, creating a staggered and continuous output of mealworms.
So far, I have moved the beetle home into the first tray, populating this tray with eggs, that have now turned into little mealworms. And now, I’m moving the beetles into the second tray and repeating this process.
Did anything about the process surprise you?
I have never seen the life stage transitions of mealworms, so it was a real surprise to see what pupae actually look like.
What has your experience using Re_ been like?
The product is really easy to use! The numbered and stackable trays with the green sieve make it really easy to stay on top of what stage you are at in the process of growing or harvesting. Plus the cable-free design means it’s super easy to move the product around.
The only issue is the randomness with which the insects change or grow, some are quicker than others and you begin to doubt whether you have fed them enough. My biggest tip to any Re_ users would be to not doubt yourself and let the mealworms do their own thing, they will all get there eventually!
What results have you seen since using our product?
I have seen all the lifecycle stages of the mealworms and have even grown my own mealworms. I am waiting for them to mature before trying my very own insect. I’m super excited about making insect brownies, using my own grown mealworms!
Has using this product made you think differently about food?
Using the product has made me realise how effortless it is to become self-sufficient. It is unrealistic for me to keep chickens as a student living in the city, especially when I do not know where I will be in the next year with finding a job etc. So having this product offers an alternative to traditional self-sufficient practices.
I cannot live solely on insect protein, however, I am hoping to integrate it into my vegetarian meals to cut my carbon emissions and help me save money too!
What would you tell others who might be considering a product like this?
For anyone considering the product, it is important to have the end-goal in mind. If you are exploring how to lessen your impact on the climate or if you are looking to replace red meat in your diet, then you should definitely just go ahead and try using the Re_! Of course, it is not an immediate fix as you have to wait for your insects to grow, but with your end-goal in mind, it is worth it!
Fancy growing your own mealworms? You can now purchase your very own Re_: