After my successful string of harvests, I learned from our friends at Bitwater Farms that we can get even heavier yields from the kind of bins we use. We should get closer to a pound per bin, which is well above the half pound average so far. I’ve been harvesting at about 6 weeks and probably should wait until 8 weeks. With the holidays and being a little shorthanded, I figured what better time to give it a go. Well, the extra two weeks gave them time to eat each other and created quite the mess in each bin while lowering the overall yield to about 6 ounces per bin. 😥
What’s the problem? I think it has to do with the same problem I had with the babies dying off— water. The only water they get is in the mudpie where they also lay their eggs. It’s probably enough water to get them to the 6 week level, but beyond that, the adults need more to drink. I need to come up with a watering system that is easily replenished without splashing in the bin because excess water always ends up getting to the food and then it is mold city in there. I figure something like what is in the picture below. Maybe a little smaller for to save space.
From my notes, it appears the bins that got the fermented feed did better than those with dry feed. I bet the extra moisture in the wet feed helped quite a bit in addition to the other benefits of fermenting. I really want fatter crickets! Bigger crickets means more protein for fish food and less chitin. I am also going to transition to a different style bin with more air available to the adults. As they grow, it is obvious that they respirate more. I can tell because the egg trays are a little damp feeling. Not wet, but like someone (like a kajillion crickets) are breathing on them. And they are!
So to wrap, a little more air and a lot more available water should raise the yields considerably. As always, I will keep you posted!