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Hello. How much can a standard kit for rearing of locusts cost?
Please specify your question by a lot so we can properly answer you question. How many do you want to rear? Where do you live (climate)? For commercial purpose or personal use? Etc etc etc
Sorry for the late feedback. I live in Kenya (Tropics) and I want to rear the locusts for research. I'm not sure on the number but I'll be looking to rear them for about 3-4 months until adulthood. From my projections I think that will be about 70,000-100,000 adult locusts give or take.
Hi Keith, - I entered northern Kenya from the arid Ethiopian Galla tribal area in ~1970, so want to know if you are planning on rearing desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) or migratory locust (Locusta migratoria) more common in the wetter parts of Kenya. Let's assume you want them to reach adulthood the most rapidly as possible.
Here is a synopsis for both kinds of locust reared at 29-31 Celsius in 12 hours light : 12 hours dark conditions; with each kinds ideal ratio of protein to carbohydrate (+ always 54% cellulose + 4% micro-nutrients + unlimited access to wheat grass/bran). For context be aware the desert locust (S.gregaria) is slower to finish it's last stage (stadium) before adulthood than the migratory locust (L.migratoria); & as such the desert locust will weigh more (in dry weight).
To get the desert locust (S.gregaria) to finish the 5th stadium quickest the best macro-nutrient diet is 21% protein + 21% carbohydrate. However, since protein is generally more expensive to feed insects, you can still get the desert locust through it's 5th stadium within 15 days on a diet of 7% protein + 35 % carbohydrate.
To get the migratory locust (L.migratoria) to finish the 5th stadium quickest the best macro-nutrient diet is 28% protein + 14% carbohydrate. Again, protein being expensive, you can still get the migratory locust through it's 5th stadium within 15 day on a diet of 14% protein + 28 % carbohydrate. However, if use the cheaper 7% protein + 35% carbohydrate diet then the migratory locust will need 20 days (or more) to complete it's 5th stadium.
See Fig. 3 chart for more relationships of protein:carbohydrate ratio effects on how long it takes for these 2 different locusts to finish growing up in Raubenheimer & Simpson (2003) "Nutrient balancing in grasshoppers: behavioral and physiological correlate of dietary breadth", originally published in Journal of Experimental Biology & available on-line as free full text ... jeb.biologist.org/content/206/10/1669.long
If you are planning on feed the locust from collected plants then you want to get the more appropriate plants for your chosen kind of locust. That means you take into account that naturally L migratoria is partial to (specialist) grass feeding & S. gregaria is not a specialist feeding locust, so you can feed them weeds (forbs). Cited research remarks that the desert locust S. gregaria (migratory locust) uses protein for both it's nitrogen & for converting to usable energy.