Starting a commercial cricket farm for human consumtion

The purpose of this thread is to get all the information about starting a small scale cricket farm in one place.

We have done a lot of research on this subject, and the information is scattered all around the web, and it's usually incomplete. We will start off by listing a series of questions that we've had trouble finding concrete answers to, and we encourage everyone else who's interested to ask away, we'll try, hopefully with the aid of other forum members, to help with any inquiries that you may have. Our questions will be a bit more specific, but feel free to ask any and every kind of question you'd like answered.

We intend to use banded crickets (Gryllodes sigillatus)

Our questions are the following:

  1. We're planning on using concrete block pens, 1.2 x 2.4 x 0.6m. What is the optimal way to construct them? Should cement be used for binding them, or is stacking them enough? Should the inside be modified in any way? eg. should the inside surface be covered with anything? What should we place on the bottom, we've read that people use different things, what are the pros and cons of usable materials, and what would you recommend for this pen?

  2. What is the "optimal" way to organize the inside of the pen? eg. how many egg cartons, how would you organize them, should they fill the pen up completely, or should we leave some space in the middle? Where (on top of the egg cartons, on the bottom of the pen) would the water trays be placed, what size should they be and how many of them should we use? How is the feed given to the crickets (we've seen people put them on top of the egg cartons, are there any other ways the you would recommend for our pen?)

  3. How is the feed given to the crickets (we've seen people put them on top of the egg cartons, are there any other ways the you would recommend for our pen)? How often should the feed be distributed, and how much feed do we give them per feeding cycle? Should the uneaten feed be changed, or do we just add new on top of it?

  4. How many crickets can this kind of pen hold, if you can't give us an "exact" number? Could you tell us how much space is needed per cricket in order for the pen to not get overcrowded? We need our little fellas to be comfy.

  5. How do we estimate the number of hatchlings ( when they mature enough) to put in a single pen when transferring them from incubation pens to big boy pens? Do we estimate the number by weight or do we just eyeball the amount? We assume that the latter would be the way when you get experienced enough?

  6. How often should the pen be cleaned? We assume after every cycle. Any tips on pen hygiene?

    If there's anyone who's got the knowledge that would like to help us a bit more extensively and in depth, please shoot us a pm, we're open to any kind of cooperation, and we're really looking forward to hearing from all of you.

Comments

  • edited July 2016

    I do not rear crickets & this 1st input will actually be for a different kind of cricket. However, wish to address a commercial aspect related to operating labor cost & feed cost. The details are from house crickets & I am not able to say how precisely it can be extrapolated to your banded crickets.

    "Comparison of diets for mass-rearing Acheta domesticus ... as a novelty food, and comparison of food conversion efficiency with values reported for livestock" , (1991) by B.Nakagaki & G.DeFoliart explained their cost effective diet. It was modeled on chick feed & the ingredients are: 58 gr. ground yellow corn, 35 gr. soybean meal, 3 gr corn oil, 1 gr calcium carbonate, 2 gr di-calcium phosphate, 0.5 gr iodized salt, 0.25 gr DL-methionine, 0.15 gr of 50% calcium chloride; plus 170mg/kg feed manganese sulfate-5H2O, 110mg/kg feed zinc sulfate-H2O, 500mg/kg feed ferric citrate-5H2O, 16mg/kg feed copper sulfate-5H2O, 0.2mg/kg feed sodium selenite, 1.8mg/kg feed thiamine-HCl, 3.6 mr/kg feed riboflavin, 10 mg/kg feed calcium pantothenate, 25 mg/kg feed niacin, 3 mg/kg feed pyridoxine-HCl, 0.55mg/kg feed folacin, 0.15mg/kg feed biotin, 0.01 md/kg feed vitamin B12, 0.55mg/kg feed vitmin K-1, 1500 units/kg feed vitamin A, 400 units/kg feed vitamin D3, 10 units/kg feed vitamin E. This diet is (Table 1) crude protein = 22.3%, crude fat = 5.5%, ash = 4.4%, crude fiber = 4.9% & energy (metabolizable) = 3,118/kg feed.

    On this diet the average weight 21 days (early 8th instars, not immediately prior to adulthood) after hatching from egg (under 24 hour lighting & 35+/-2°C) the fresh house cricket's weight = 411-425 mg each, protein gained per protein fed = 0.973-1.025, feed per fresh weight gained =0.9323-0.975 & in 1990 US$ cost = $0.21/kg crickets produced (by fresh weight). As per Table 2. This cost was only for the diet ingredients bulk purchase costs; the grinding together of these ingredients using a "Wiley" mill took 2 hours (weighing out portion & grinding) to prepare 10 kg of feed in the size of particles that pass through 20 mesh screen. Authors figure that to prepare each Kg of this feed using that mill requires 12 minutes of work; which may help estimate that labor cost if use a similar diet.

    They also chose to use a rate of 2,000 - 2,200 live Acheta domesticus/kg. For human consumption they recommend withholding food ("starved") from the cricket nymphs for the last 24 hours prior to harvesting them to leave their guts clear. In the case of 8th(last) instar crickets in their last 5 days of that stadium (day 4-8 of 8th instar) that were "starved" (24hrs.) their average whole body fresh weight = 456 mg ( vs. 463 mg not starved), their dry weight = 116 mg (vs. 121mg not starved), & their dry matter = 25.4% ( vs. 26.2%). If remove the crickets legs from "starved" crickets those legs fresh weighg = 7.9 mg (vs. 7.7mg not starved), legs = 17.3% of whole body weight (vs. 16.6% of not starved), legs dry weight = 2.1 gr (vs. 2 gr not starved), & legs = 18.2% of whole body weight (vs. 16.8% of whole body weight of cricket not starved).

    On the 1st day as an 8th instar nymph they = 74-75% water & by their 4th day = 68% water; yet they don't stop drinking water. Authors state that "...Food consumption virtually ceases during the last 2-3 days of both the seventh and eight instars ...."

  • Gryllodes sigillatus (also called G. supplicans) crickets seem to naturally like high density; since, according to unpublished data, despite lots of outdoor enclosures (at Univ. New Mexico) they cluster in large groups & shelter under mostly just 1 or 2 structures.

    Reproduction issues are worth discussing & it seems they will mate the most total number of times at ~30 Celsius. As per data Fig 1a of "Female mating frequency increases with temperature in two cricket species, Gryllodes sigillatus and Acheta domesticus", (2006) by Kindle et al. For comparison Fig 1b data is for the A. domesticus mating temperatures & authors note that in response to the same pattern of rising temperatures A. domesticus will mate ~2 times more than G. sigillatus. As always, one must pay attention to the conditions (temperature/diet/light/dark) the study provided; free full text = http://biology.illinoisstate.edu/sksakal/PDF reprints/Kindle et al 2006 Can J Zool.pdf

    Sakaluk, et al ( 1987) "Reproductive behaviour of the decorated cricket, Gryllodes supplicans (Orthoptera: Gryllidae):calling schedules, spatial distribution, and mating", disclosed that the mated female takes the male's spermato-phylax off from the ampulla (sperm inside) & eats it. If she eats it for ~40 minutes she is distracted until the sperm gets out of the ampulla & the sperm gets transferred; her eggs will hatch 30 days later. However, if the size of the male's spermato-phore "gift" is not large or, as appears to occur very often, she drops the spermato-phylax before eating all of it then she takes out the ampulla & is not fertilized by that male.

    For repeated matings Sakaluk (elsewhere) points out that larger males are able to survive "gifting" spermato-phores better. You may find it profitable to rear specific breeding stock &/or select males for production of adequate size spermato-phores. For commercial scale insect operations it is not ideal (although it may be more economical) to just take some of the population for selling, some more of that same group for breeding & then just clean up the bin for another batch.

    Different late instar diets & temperatures might prove worthwhile for breeding stock. Look at how large the femur is to get an idea of which ones are getting bigger than their age mates for initial selection of males you don't want to give up.

    On a high quality diet (90% rabbit food + 10% bran) the average length of G. sigillatus female femur = 9.7mm & male femur = 9 mm; while on a low quality diet (10% rabbit food + 90% bran) the average length of female femur = 9.1 mm & male femur = 8.8 mm. Data taken from Fig 2 of (2014) "Is Sexual Dimorphism in the Immune Response of Gryllodes sigillatus Related to the Quality of Diet?" by Galicia et al., available on-line as free full pdf via Hindawi.

    Above authors note that "... in males, body size is related to mating success ... right hind leg length are ... correlated with song pulse, and shorter pulse is preferred by the females ..." citing (2008) Champagnon, et al. “Female mate choice, calling song and genetic variance in the cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus,” originally published in journal Ethology, vol. 114. This report found that although length and width of male thorax, male wing length (not wing width) & femur III affect male signalling only femur III length had significant genetic heritability; although greater male body size produced shorter pulse in signaling. Crickets in study reared on 50:50 rabbit food:chicken food, at 27+/3 Celsius on 12 hours light + 12 hours dark.

  • Density of Gryllodes sigillatus for breeding stock and for sale of crickets is a factor. In general many researchers breed their colonies so there are 5,000 G. sigillatus in 50-55 liter containers; this is roughly ~100 crickets/liter (1 liter = 1,000 cubc cm).

    A recent (2013) study provides better orientation; this used 3 densities ( the 2nd was double the density of first & 3rd was double the density of second) in a container 60 cm x 40 cm x 34 cm (81.6 liters). Data was generated for one density = 39.3 crickets/liter (1/25.5 cubic cm), second density = 78.64/liter (1/12.7cubic cm), & third density = 151.28/liter (1/6.4 cubic cm).

    The following data use 24 hour old newly hatched crickets & raised them for 25 days at 29 Celsius; feed was 2 part wheat bran : 1 part fish meal (which incidentally stated reduces cannibalism) + carrot + water. Their method to determine starting # of crickets was by using their assay which found there average 424.7 G. sigillatus "new born" in the volume measurement of 1 ml.

    Briefly (note: no distinction was made whether male or female): the lowest density (1/25.5 cubic cm) produced the largest size crickets after 25 days & they grew progressively smaller as density rose. At lowest density they measured 5.7- 10.1 mm, at next lowest density (1/12.7 cubic cm) they measured 5.1-10 mm & at highest density used (1/6.4 cubic cm) they measured just 4.5-8.3 cm. If want breeding stock for selecting larger males from then it seems you want to avoid 100 crickets/liter rate most studies reported using; remember this data did not track beyond 25 days & the average adult G.sigillatus in 18-22 mm , with females larger than males (bear in mind these are smaller crickets than the house cricket A.domesticus).

    More specific details about rearing G. sigillatus age mates at different densities are worth describing. When 3,185 "new born" crickets in 81 liter container were reared at lowest density (1/25.5 cubic cm) an average of 879 (806-938) survived to 25th day, when 6,370 "new born" crickets in an 81 liter container were reared at middle density (1/12.7 cubic cm) an average of 109 (963-1,181) survived to 25th day, & when 12,741 "new born" crickets in an 81 liter container were reared at the highest density (1/6.4 cubic cm) an average of 2,343 (1,966-2,918) survived to 25th day.

    When you do the calculation for choosing density that is ideal for this kind of cricket that will sell (vs. breeding stock) factor in total number that survive modified by different grown size & when market is human consumption the end product left after dressing their carcass (see initial comment on potential weight of legs, etc. affecting end product weight). Data from Table 2 of Mazurkiewicz, et al. "The effect of density on the breeding optimization of the tropical house cricket Gryllodes sigillatus ....", originally published by journal Animal Science No.52 & available on-line as free full pdf

    Survival rate is different than hatching rate & often male crickets have greater mortality; in some cases the male embryo is also selected out & less males hatch than females. Diet may be a factor in the survival rate of young crickets as can be seen in the following study.

    This dissertation fed cricket chow to G. sigillatus & they matured in 31 days from nymph to adult (at 32 Celsius, 16 hours light : 8 hours dark). In contrast, on a low protein diet (13.5% protein, created with 2 parts flour : 1.13 parts cricket chow) they took 47 days from nymph to adult for maturing. On the low protein diet 0.83 of egg hatched perfectly & yet survival = 0.26%; on this low protein diet adult female weight = 257.33 mg & adult male weight = 188.85 mg. See T.Ivy's (2006) "Good genes, genetic compatibility and the evolution of polyandry: use of the diallel cross to address competing hypothesis", free full text available on line

    To further design the breeding program for G. sigillatus consider that in the wild adult females move ~ 2 meters away overnight; they will not mate with the same males for 24-48 hours after initial copulation with him. The bigger female gets on top of him & smears hydro-carbons from her exo-skeleton cuticle on him; she then can identify who already mated with.

    Furthermore, the female selects male for mounting based on the specific male's cuticle blend of short & long chain hydro-carbons + his total cuticle hydro-carbon emissions; since making hydro-carbons for the cuticle is very energy intensive this allows the female to judge the condition of a male & see if he was well fed (= good prospect). You can select male breeding stock by altering his diet to create them with more allure for your females; so don't feed males you want for mating on a poor diet & over time will be able to select for better geno-type male (apparently female geno-type is not as relevant & in her case it is fertility that matters).

    In one type of this mate selection research a comparison was made of "high" quality diet of "senior" cat food (32% protein, 49 % carbohydrate, 10% fat, 7% ash & 2% fiber) + water vs. a "low" quality diet being "senior" cat food mixed in equal parts with oatmeal to create 17% protein, 55% carbohydrate 7% fat & 21% fiber + water. Meal was ground in a food processor & sieved into powder that the new crickets got for 21 days & then was given as pellets (pellets made by mixing powdered meal with water & drying at 30 Celsius for 24 hours). As might be expected on the "high quality" diet the males grew bigger, had more surface area & had more total hydro-carbons in their cuticle.

    One other issue wish to address if that I have seen some researchers use 2 distinct temperatures for rearing different age cohorts; although complicates operations, it may be worth trying in commercial production. In the dual temperature case when breeding adult G. sigillatus they were kept at 30+/-1 Celsius with 14 hours light : 10 hours dark; while the newly hatched + growing crickets were kept at 28+/-1 Celsius with 14 hrs. light:10 hrs. dark. . In other research I have seen the laboratory used a constant 32+/-1Celsius with 14 light: 10 hrs. dark & you can see other reported temperatures + different light/dark references in this thread.

  • The information you've provided is invaluable to us. You've been a huge help, and we're sure that many other people will have use of this post, especially because it's, in our opinion, very hard to come by such information. We are very grateful, and we hope that people will post some questions that we can provide answers to.

  • Regarding egg carton flats needed to fill a cricket container: that can be calculated from this data Andrew gave elsewhere in the Forum = "... egg carton stacked vertically on end, with a height of about 30cm ... two wide & ... 50-60 flats deep (two parallel columns of them ...) ...provide you with roughly 220,000 cubic cm of habitable space ...."

  • Thanks again gringojay, you are helpful beyond measure. We've posted a similar thread on reddit and want to share a cool reply that we got from u/grinerohey :

    "

    1. I would build each bin 1m long by .5 wide by .75/1m deep for ease of access/cleaning (but that's just me). Note: I breed mine in plastic bins. Apply cement as a mortar for the bricks and as a floor for the enclosure (Crickets will burrow out if not). You'll need to put a lid on the bins or paint a band of polyurethane around the inside of the box (it's too slippery and they cant climb it). You can also attach packing tape/aluminum foil on the inside walls so the crickets don't climb and get out. You also need to do this on the outside to keep ants or other predators from getting in.

    2. For the adult bins I place a sheet of cardboard on the bottom of my bins to soak up moisture. This is also where I place food/water/egg bins. I use a recycled 3 compartment glass serving tray with a brillow pad sitting in the bottom of a cut off solo cup for water. Dry chicken/dog food goes in one slot, potatoes/veggies in the second one, and water in the 3rd. Stack egg cartons on top of each other until just high enough so they can't hop out (unless you have a lid). They also like cardboard tubes that come from toilet paper/paper towel rolls. For the babies I line the bottom with a thin layer of vermiculite (so they can get traction to walk). If you did this for the adults they would lay their eggs here instead of in the nesting box.

      1. Let them finish the food before you add more. If you have several thousand crickets this can happen daily
    3. I can easily fit ~10,000 crickets in each one of my 3 bins. I believe I could add more, but I've never had a need to. I would think that using your specs would give a much higher yield if conditions were kept in the ideal ranges and nutritional needs were met

    4. I use a 100 count plastic measuring tube for bait shops to measure. Fill the tube up around 1/4 full when the crickets are 1/4inch long and you should have somewhere around 125 to 150 babies. I may or may not have committed infanticide to come by this data (I wanted to pop them in the ice box to chill them down and slow their movement buuuuttt I forgot about them when I went to the pub)

    5. You can clean and disinfect the cage with a light bleach mix or wood ash every time you empty the bins, or when there is a buildup of castings. Crickets don't like water or humidity and the accompanying odors. The only source of liquid should be contained in the water dish, which can be cleanly and easily refilled with a baster or syringe. Also hand pick dead crickets and dispose of them to keep odors down.

    If you are planning on doing this intensively you will need to invest in a timer, thermometer, and heat lamps or heat pads to maintain an adequate temperature. There are a bunch of guides out there floating around.

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Source: I'm a fisherman and organic farmer that raises them for poop and to stick it to the proverbial bait shop man."

  • edited August 2016

    Breeding stock of cricket/locust males for some varieties may be improved if the following study of the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus produces the same trend in size. In general the supplement causes them to start eating more at ~ 12 day old; then, ~ 20 day old eat lots more (as per Fig 2 "D"). See open-access report by (2016) Miyashita, et al. "Body-enlarging effect of royal jelly in a non-holometabolous insect species, Gryllus bimaculatus; link = http://bio.biologists.org/content/biolopen/5/6/770.full.pdf

    Authors make note that greater male size is related to mating success &, as per Table 3, if during growth are fed royal jelly they get bigger (including in length of femur). As per Fig. 2 "C" on 15% royal jelly (dry weight of feed) from the 2nd instar male G. bimaculatus average body weight (mass) = ~600-800 mg (average 740 mg, as per Table 3) & on 15% royal jelly from the 2nd instar females average body weight = ~709-900 mg (average 842 mg, as per Table 3). Actually Fig. 2 C shows very wide range of minimums & maximums; the upper black data cross-bar for a "RJ" (royal jelly fed) male = ~1,000 mg.

    Female crickets, report emphasizes, do not have mature eggs when their last day of molt occurs. Reared on royal jelly supplement female G. bimaculatus eggs did not weigh any different; while those females did produce a greater number of eggs and thus their total eggs' weight was higher than controls not given royal jelly (see Fig 4).

    Looking at Fig 2 "D" suggests to me that for economic considerations once 8% royal jelly (by weight of dry feed) is used the significant resultant G. bimaculatus cricket weight gain is achieved. Despite data reported for 15% royal jelly feeding there may not be any need to use that much; although I can not say whether the cricket weight statistical similarity on 8% vs. 15% carries through in the other details (ex: egg number).

    I have not precisely evaluated how much this tactic would cost; as of today 1 Kg. bulk fresh royal jelly is currently available on eBay for US$0.00013/mg. Approximating from study Fig. 2 "B" the G. bimaculatus on 15% royal jelly supplement at 10-20 day old consume ~ 150 mg total (~15 mg feed/day) & at 20-35 day old consume ~ 450 mg ( ~30 mg feed/day); the feed consumption prior to 10th day is not easy to generalize so have not included any estimate for that total food weight.

    Thus, if from day 10 to day 35 the cricket at 600 mg total feed & 15 % of the consumed food was royal jelly they ate 90 mg of royal jelly in those 25 days of growth. Which means the royal jelly cost/G.bimaculatus for day 10 to 35 = US$0.0117 for the 90 mg royal jelly (fed at 15%). If they grow in mass (weight) somewhat similarly (Fig. 2D) when fed 8% royal jelly then cost/G. bimaculatus for day 10 to 35 = US$0.00624 for the 48 mg royal jelly (fed at 8%). As always I encourage others to check my math for errors & if want more precise data interpretation than my generalizations.

    By the way, if this kind of tactic is interesting also search the Forum for "low dose aspirin" & will find another thread's report on manipulating insect growth beyond the usual factors of % dietary protein/carbohydrate/fat.

  • Breeding tactics related to royal jelly deserve more discussion. I deliberately use hyphenated words to break up scientific terms in the Forum to reduce them to core aspect & technical jargon does not derail readers.

    Feeding royal jelly to insects causes them to make amines; these amines act as neuro-modulators, neuro-hormones & neuro-transmitters. The following comments are only suggestions of how these amines may affect an insect; that is to say I can not be sure all insects respond exactly the same as what a specific researched insect did.

    The amines tyr-amine, dop-amine & octop-amine are apparently the most relevant ones the insect makes when fed royal jelly supplementation. It is important to understand that these have diverse insect roles that can vary from one kind of insect to another.

    More crucial to a commercial insect breeder is the understanding that even among stock of the same kind of insect the different strains (geno-type) of that same insect can respond with different levels of both dop-amine & octop-amine. In other words, I am going to present reported research trends & your own experience breeding the different geno-type(s) you work with might fall along the gradient of the reported trend.

    The researcher cited below points out some breeding issues & why a commercial operation will want to avoid always using only one in-bred stock. Quote: "...red flour beetle ... mated with ...same geno-type re-mated earlier ... lifetime fecundity was lower than ... mated with ... different geno-types ... Musca domestica that mated with ... same geno-type ovi-posited less than ... mated with ... different geno-types....In contrast, Callosobruchus maculatus ...mated with ...different geno-types re-mated earlier and their fecundity was lower than ... mated with ... same geno-type ....

    Male accessory glands (not semen) produce peptides, proteins & juvenile hormone that mating leaves in the female. Those accessory gland secretions that are soluble are capable of inducing the female to delay re-mating; those secretions that are insoluble contribute toward a female re-mating.

    The cited author again mentions (quote): "...differences in ... substances between male geno-types ...(affect) female receptivity and ... ovi-position... (while) ... male-derived substances reduce female longevity ...differences among the strains in the numbers of eggs laid coincided with the responses to male substances ..."

    One female insect's (not the kind of insect cited here) brain levels of the different amines after copulation was measured; this is not necessarily a uniform system wide response. Within 5 min. of mating female tyr-amine brain levels plummeted & within 5 min. her octop-amine brain levels went down; yet within 1 hour her dop-amine brain levels rose significantly. To be precise, depending on the insect species dop-amine regulates behavior sometime in way specific to the species; insects have dopamine receptors in the tissue of the ovary & brain.

    Again cited author opines (quote): "...similarities and differences in the effects of ... tyr-amine ... might be related to the effects of male substances ...differences among the genes involved in ... pathway ... to octop-amine .. (&) ...results .... may also be related to differences in the receptors for octop-amine, tyr-amine ...."

    Quote simplified from (2014) Yamane"s research "Genetic variation in the effect of monoamines on female mating receptivity and oviposition in the adzuki bean beetle, Callosobruchus chinensis(Coleoptera: Bruchidae)"; originally published in journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. Free full text = https://bmcevolbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12862- 014-0172-5

    Fig. 1 charts show that despite geno-type, in regard to amines, it is the relatively higher level of dop-amine which always makes the female more receptive to mating than octop-amine & tyr-amine levels; while comparatively levels of octop-amine always makes the female more receptive to mating than the levels of tyr-amine. Fig 2 shows how causing increasing levels of these different amines impacts the # of eggs laid in the days that follow; researcher used injections. I propose this (Fig. 2) shows that royal jelly increased the # of eggs in Gryllus bimaculatus in the preceding comment's research data because the royal jelly boosted the amines in G. bimaculatus.

    To be precise, depending on the insect species dop-amine regulates behavior sometime in way specific to the species; insects have dopamine receptors in the tissue of the ovary & brain. The prior comment's data for Gryllus bimaculatus royal jelly induced greater mass & food intake seems to be related to dop-amine. See (2016) Nagashima, et al. "Dopamine regulates body size in Caenorhabditis elegans", originally published in Developmental Biology, Vol. 412(1) Quote " ... dopamine, is required for the tactile perception of food and food-dependent behavioral changes ... promotes egg-laying ...." Also try (2016) Sasaki's "Nutrition and dopamine: An intake of tyrosine in royal jelly can affect the brain levels of dopamine in male honeybees (Apis mellifera L.)" originally published in Journal of Insect Physiology, Vol. 87

    The amines dop-amine & tyr-amine are made in the insect from tyrosine in the royal jelly; and some octop-amine is made from the tyr-amine. The royal jelly's "... tyrosine ... promoted ovarian development ...." As per(2015) Matsuyama et al. "Consumption of tyrosine in royal jelly increases brain levels of dopamine and tyramine and promotes transition from normal to reproductive workers in queenless honey bee colonies"; originally published in General and Comparative Endocrinology,Vol. 211

    When tyrosine conversion into amines is blocked (by experimental inhibitor) fecundity is less. Quote: "... virgin females fed with a tyrosine hydroxyl-ase inhibitor ... laid significantly fewer eggs and had fewer chorion-ated oocytes in their ovarioles ...." As per(2001) Boulay, et al. "Oviposition and oogenesis in virgin fire ant females Solenopsis invicta are associated with a high level of dopamine in the brain", originally published in Physiological Entomology, Vol. 26(4)

    Quote: "... sex peptide, a seminal fluid protein transferred during copulation, activates ovi-position...octop-amine neurons in the abdominal ganglion innervate the ovi-duct epithelium.. (octop-amine) is made from tyrosine by the sequential actions of tyrosine de-carboxyl-ase and tyr-amine beta-hydroxyl-ase ...(octop-amine) axon terminals are found in the ovaries, ovi-ducts, sperm storage organs and uterus." As per (2014) Lim, et al. "The Octopamine Receptor Octβ2R Regulates Ovulation in Drosophila melanogaster"; free full text = http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0104441

    Elsewhere in the Forum the adult insect cuticle hydro-carbon blends' volatile odor has been discussed as relates to mating. It seems the royal jelly fed female will also be more attractive to the male for mating, since when experiments blocked (inhibited) conversion of tyrosine into amines (quote): " ... tyrosine hydroxyl-ase inhibitors ...(female produced) fewer diene hydrocarbons (female pheromones) ...." As per (2008) Wicker-Thomas, et al. "Interaction of dopamine, female pheromones, locomotion and sex behavior in Drosophila melanogaster", originally published in Journal of Insect Physiology, Vol. 54

    Continues....

  • (continuation):

    For great microscopic pictures of insect eggs & a detail of octop-amine's role in fertility see the following cited study. Author's point out that in insects the amines " ... tyr-amine and octop-amine act (respectively) as functional counterparts to mammal-ian epin-ephrine and nor-epin-ephrine ...."

    Quote: "....(octop-amine)...signaling in mature follicle cells directly regulates follicle wall degradation, follicle rupture, and ovulation by activating (a) key enzyme...posterior follicle cells surrounding a mature oocyte are selectively degraded and the residual follicle cells remain in the ovary to form a corpus luteum after follicle rupture ...octopamine induce(s)... (key enzyme's)... activity through activating... (octop-amine) receptor ... on mature follicle cells ... induce(s) ovulation... (octop-amine receptor) is widely expressed in the female reproductive system, including the ovary, with strongest expression observed in the ovi-duct .."

    From (2015) Deady & Sun's "A Follicle Rupture Assay Reveals an Essential Role for Follicular Adrenergic Signaling in Drosophila Ovulation", free full text = http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1005604

    At this point I want to add that in some insects there has been experimental increase in the # of eggs laid by artificially increasing the female's octop-amine level & royal jelly supplementation in Gryllus bimaculatus likewise increased the # of eggs laid. However, I have seen an insect studied that, for that insect, increasing octop-amine levels resulted in a reduced % of fertile eggs being laid.

    What this means for anyone's target insect breeding program seems to be related to the how the above cited authors' finding that octop-amine triggers the enzyme that, so to speak, gets a follicle "trimmed" enough to free up the egg. Thus, in theory, making it more likely eggs can ovulate out whether fertile or not fertile eggs.

    With regard to how much royal jelly should be supplemented to get more eggs &, at the same time, not have a reduced number of non-fertile eggs ovi-posited I suggest moderation. The Gryllus bimaculatus supplemented with 8% royal jelly seemed to be almost statistically similar in their weight gain as those given 15% royal jelly.

    Since it is the tyrosine content of royal jelly supplement that is converted into amines at 8% royal jelly (as opposed to 15% royal jelly) there will not be too of it (tyrosine) made into tyr-amine - since it seems most tyrosine made into dop-amine. It seems unlikely that without the potential to form a consistent excess of tyr-amine (from tyrosine) there would not be an excessive amount of that (tyr-amine) made into such high amounts of octop-amine; thereby avoiding a situation where a lower % of fertile eggs are laid (even if the # of eggs is greater).

    That said a commercial operation would need to determine if their insects' laid egg fertility is affected at all by the % royal jelly (whether 8-15%). There may even be a trade off with any such fertile egg decrease & the sheer increase in number of eggs laid that makes it still worthwhile to use a higher % of royal jelly.

    If it looking for agricultural products to use in this kind of experimental feed supplementation that has amines consider the banana; banana peels have 700 micro-grams dop-amine/gram & 65 micro-grams tyr-amine/gram peel (when ripe the banana itself has 7 micro-grams tyr-amine). Among other items it may be practical to use Brewer's yeast, which has tyr-amine & Fava beans, which have dop-amine.

  • At this point I'd like to back-track to define, with reference to Aug. 14th entry data, how much tyrosine might be in royal jelly dietary supplement. Apparently fresh royal jelly has a bit more tyrosine than commercially packaged products do & depending on royal jelly provider the % tyrosine also varies.

    Specific (2015) data from 12 fresh royal jelly samples + 5 commercial brands is tyrosine = 5.7-6.89 mg tyrosine/gr. royal jelly from Bulgaria. For purposes of calculation I will use this data. Any commercial operation experimenting with royal jelly for their breeding stock insects may eventually want to assay their royal jelly tyrosine content if % fertile eggs laid seems to vary despite more # eggs are laid (see end of preceeding comment's speculation).

    Variation tyrosine supplied feeding 8% royal jelly: At the lower level of 5.7 mg tyrosine/1,000 mg (1gr.) there are 0.0057 mg tyrosine/mg royal jelly. If supplemented at 8% royal jelly for 25 days to cricket G.bimaculatus = 48,000mg (48 gr.) royal jelly used. Thus 0.0057 × 48,000 = 273.6 mg. tyrosine is consumed over 25 days at 8% royal jelly supplementation. vs. At the higher level of 6.89 mg tyrosine/1,000 mg (1 gr.) there are 0.00689 mg tyrosine/mg royal jelly. If supplementex at 8% royal jelly for 25 days to cricket G.bimaculatus = 48,000 mg (90gr.) royal jelly used. Thus 0.00689 × 48,000 = 330.72 mg. tyrosine is consumed over 25 days at 15% royal jelly supplementation.

    Variation tyrosine supplied feeding 15% royal jelly: At the lower level of 5.7 mg tyrosine/1,000 mg (1gr) then 0.0057 x 90,000 (90 gr. from above cited post) = 513 mg. tyrosine is consumed over 25 days at 15% royal jelly supplementation. vs. At the higher level of 6.89mg tyrosine/1,000mg (1gr.) the 0.00689 x 90,000 (90gr. cited Aug.14th) = 620.1 mg.tyrosine is consumed over 25 days at 15% royal jelly supplementation.

    As always, please check my math. I worked up these numbers to see if using pure tyrosine was cheaper than royal jelly (presuming insect synthesis of amines from royal jelly's tyrosine was key to breeding stock
    benefits).

    eBay offers 1,000 gr. L-tyrosine for US$36.85 = US$0.03685/gr tyrosine. Unfortunately this is too expensive to use; cost/25 days of pure tyrosine supplemented to one cricket G. bimaculatus would = $10.08 - $22.85 (using same parameters used above).

    Pure tyr-amine is only readily sourced from laboratory suppliers & is very expensive. It would not be cost effective for anything other than a commercial producer's experiment control if trying to determine whether have established the right amount of the right kind of royal jelly to use for maximum fertile egg laying by breeding females . Again, presuming excess tyr-amine might be made into excessive octop-amine , that in turn proves to actually alter the % of fertile eggs laid when specific geno-type of insect breeding stock is supplemented with a particular variety of royal jelly for a specific time period.

Sign In or Register to comment.