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Open Bug Farm Mealworm Kit Now Available!

I'm sure you've heard by now, but we've released the first version of the OBF mealworm kit for sale!

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Open Bug Farm Mealworm Farm Kit v1.0 Beta

The open source plans will be available in the next week or so.

Here's the announcement blog post.

We're really excited about what we've built (with your input) and are looking forward to seeing it evolve.

Post in this thread if you have any questions, comments or ideas.

Thanks for being a part of this!!

Comments

  • What is the displacement of the full grow bag - how much space from bottom of bag to top of bag so it clears everything? It would indicate how many can array staged one above the other.

  • If I placed a heat mat at the base, would it be too close to the bags?

  • @gringojay - we have a new bag design we just prototyping and we'll share those measurements shortly!

    @kerri it shouldn't be a problem to have a heatmat under there, but we also need to get a temperature probe in one of our full harvest-ready test bags because the worms generate a fair bit of heat and we're trying to maximize the density, a heatmat may not be necessary when the worms get larger

  • That's great news!

  • So, do the bags open easily for easy access to pick the dead worms and pupa?

  • Yes, there's a 9 inch wide "sleeve" on the top of the bag for easy access. You can simply twist the sleeve shut and secure it with a rubber band or piece of string to keep it shut. The bags pictured above don't have this sleeve - they have a zipper along the top edge, however we found the sleeve was actually more convenient for accessing the bags when they're full, and allowed us to simplify the process of manufacturing the bags, letting us knock a few bucks of the price! We'll have updated pictures soon.

    Hopefully you won't have to deal with too many dead worms when you're growing your own generation, we've noticed that die-offs tend to be more likely occur with overly dense large larvae, close to pupation. When you have your lifecycles in full swing you'll harvest the worms just when they get large enough to start causing problems for each other, and you'll move the reserved breeding stock to a separate container to pupate, mate and lay eggs. The bag habitats serve for the bulk of the larval growth stage, sort of like pasturing them.

  • I had so many dead in my bad crop I didn't bother picking out the dead after a month or so... is that a bad thing? I just gave up on it. I can't really see that they would cause a problem because they just go black and dry up. I'd say getting rid of the zip would be a good move. Would cost a lot to sew in and also be a bit fiddly to open. Looking forward to seeing the new pics. @andrew, I know I'm acting like an excited kid on Christmas eve, but don't feel pressured time wise to deliver. In your own time is fine at this very busy stage.

  • Yeah, they don't tend to go mouldy - they just dry out.

    You're right about the zippers being fiddly to sew :)

    We are super excited too!!

  • photo (21) photo (20)

    Pictures of the latest bag design - these are what we're shipping with the kits

  • "Kit Support" discussions thread seems not to be open for input via the Forum. The kit comes with instructions & yet does not clearly state the grow bag's sleeve should be arranged upward facing. Buyers may not see this Forum thread & someone might mistakenly think the sleeve is meant to hang down. A penned in arrow with " SLEEVE UP'', or comparable indication, really should be marked next to a grow bag picture.

  • @gringojay - really good point! We'll have to update our instructions.

    I've also started two threads under the Kit Support topic for "Support" and "Improvements". I'm copying over this suggestion to "Improvements" to get that discussion started.

  • great work. (remember that I'm waiting on an email to tell me how to pay by PayPal).

  • Thanks so much!!! I got my kit and assembled it easily, your instructions were excellent. Being the Beta kit, I will give feedback as I go. I'll need to buy more mealworms asap as the first batch I got have just died off left, right and center no matter what I did - BUT, this time I will ask if they are fit for breeding!

  • One thing, in the instructions, (I got this as I've been reading your updates and plans) but others may not realise that the bags need to be assembled with the opening to the top. Sounds obvious to us, but perhaps not for them as they put it together.

  • Glad to hear you've got everything! We'll definitely be updating the instructions with that, and the other feedback we've received. Keep us informed as your farm gets going :)

  • @Dansitu, that awful sickly batch of mealworms I got long ago just won't cut it, so I need to buy more to fill my hanging bags... what would you suggest? Perhaps 1000 per bag?

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