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Ready to buy some parts I held back on in my first order. This is a great way to do my mealies, they pretty much look after themselves. I came from breeding in bins before this system and am glad I bought the kit. Thanks guys. I know, I'm not posting so much lately, got very busy but I'm still around. Stopped breeding crickets (too much daily spraying, moving breeding beds, new boxes, etc) - now concentrating only on mealworms and snails.
@kerri very happy to hear the kit is working out for you! And glad to hear you're still at it. I agree that crickets are a pain to rear, we have to convince the product companies to move on to a less labor intensive bug! I understand that crickets seem easier to market and all, but all of us on the production end of things are having to work extra hard to get the labor costs down to a sustainable level.
@Andrew -- I think selling them as standalone is a good idea. And/or provide a catalogue number for the part. It would help if others wanted to buy locally to be able to show the local shop at least one variant even if it's for a different set of pipes.
I have a batch of mealworms in a bag, and I started seeing mealworms on the floor beneath the bag. So, under close investigation, I have found several holes in the bag. There were a few beetles in the bag as well, they may have done the chewing, not sure.
So, that's something to watch out for, mealworms MAY be able to chew through the bags.
@VelaCreations - thanks for the warning. We have not done much testing of beetles in the bags, and another potential problem is if the worms are left unharvested too long they may start chewing as part of their pupation site seeking behavior. Can you share where on the bag the holes developed? Thanks!
Hi andrew, - my wandering stage mealworms chewed holes by the top flap where I twisted it around & folded it over on itself so can wrap a rubber band around the fabric to keep the opening closed. So far I have not noticed chewed holes where the wandering stage mealworms also congregate in the 4 interior corners. I do not see holes on the underbelly of the grow bag where frass falls through either.
Maybe (?) it has to do with a neurological program; like a rate-limiting sensor actived when pre-pupal hormonal changes take over & remodel the previous nervous system. Concievably it is tied to the degree of a maximal upward sloping elevation they encounter before the top most mealworm larvae (holes seem to be singular rather than multiple points of attack) starts chewing to "fight" out of the blocked in position.
Which leads me to speculate the mealworm larval "herd" is capable of signalling one another (like micro-organisms' "quorum sensing") to call up a "hero" among them to bust the trapped group out of captivity. I don't know what larvae secrete that may serve as a signalling molecule(s) to one another; presumably the insect version of "quorum sensing" would start as an RNA mediated event (rather than DNA instigated) producing a whole cascade of interactions (including DNA participation of course).
As to why every batch of wandering mealworms doesn not produce visible evidence of a "champion" hole chewer making holes in my grow bag set up: I don't know. It may have to do with the hormone cocktail of the upper-most mealworm larva(e) at the exit blockage & how it (they) responds to the "social" signal of the lower down bottle-necked larval group's hormonal make-up. So, in any "captive" group, is it there a leader instigating for a "jail break", or a leader simply unwilling to try "busting out", or maybe even most of the "prisioners" holding back on "even trying" for freedom?
So... all we need is a tougher type of material to make the bags from. Of course we know where you are at so I'll buy 2 more bags of this material, but I hope to replace them later with a better construction... don't stress my friends, we understand the process and time needed! You guys are amazing!
Could you let us know if you will be looking at a more robust meal-worm bag material soon? I want to buy 2 more bags, but if I need to stitch up the old ones for a while to get the better product (even if on trial) I would do that.
Mine had holes in several places, at the bottom, and sides.
We are considering a fine stainless steel mesh as an alternative material, and are looking for a cost effective source. We have a lead from our friends at Third Millenium Farms that may be as low as $1 per square foot, however other sources are as high as $10 per square foot. This also ties in with goals of producer a much larger bag style habitat that would greatly exceed the structural capacity of a nylon mesh.
That sounds very good. @andrew. Keep us updated.
I'm getting up to 20 escapees per day now. They fall into the base tray I made and are easy to collect. Some of the holes are my fault, but also they have chewed through in one corner - and @gringojay is right that they (sneaky blighters!) actually do get through the tightest twists and triple rubber banding possible! TRUE! I can't believe my eyes, but they are doing it. Don't know how you designers are going to get around this one as I know you need to keep it financially viable. I trust in you though!
I would suggest rounded corner stitching, stronger bag material, - and perhaps going back to the idea of stitching in a zipper? I do know that I would prefer to pay more up front than to do all the work of fussing around and designing my own solutions. However new buyers may be put off by a higher price. This is the future... lead the way!
Thanks 'Tint Farms' for sending me my two mealie bags. Mealworms LOVE corners so I tried a trick, testing on your scrap bits first to be sure the nylon didn't melt (It didn't)... I rounded the corners off with hot glue. I've noticed that the glued corners on my home made "silver stuff" (the thermal material) base has not been eaten by my escapees that have been congregating there... so, I think the glue will be better than sewing as sewing makes small hoes of course and perhaps weakens rather than strengthening the mesh. I wonder if you could glue your whole bag rather than sewing? Worth a thought, but let's see how I go first.
The hot-glue is working brilliantly so far... NO worms gathering in corners! And if you have a hole you can put on a dob of hot glue as they don't eat it. I have glued all corners of all bags.
I have also used plastic ties (the ratchet type, cheap at any hardware, not sure what they're called - you just thread through, pull tight then clip off the end) to attach the bags to the frame. Much easier and neater than string, and they don't loosen off as time passes.
I am just starting out and after reading this thought I would try and source some stainless steel mesh. Do you think this would be suitable? http://www.inoxia.co.uk/catalogue/mesh/sheets/40-mesh.aspx?gclid=CNT8mM37lcQCFUzKtAodHzoAiA
A stronger mesh would need to still be soft and fall back into swag shape, also it's important to me to be able to fish around in the bag and see through so I can see my hand as it finds beetles and carrot bits etc.
Thanks Kerry. Why is the swag shape so important? I was thinking of creating a barrel shape? I can see what you mean about being able to see your hand though. If you use a kitchen sieve as an example you can see your hand through it but would the gaps in the mesh be too big?
I see Chris, I was assuming you were using the Tiny Farms kit with it's frame.
Bionic-ANTS = non-biting improvement or not made me smile. Link to Festo – BionicANTs (English) - YouTube
I have relied on those corners to harvest the (self-selecting) worms that seem to be ahead of the pack. A quick poke from the outside and the whole corner falls into your hand.
I've also used their crawling to encourage them up the spout (wrapped around the support string) where I can brush them all out into a catch basin. Only thing missing is a detacheable cup with a zip bottom to let them do all the sorting for you.
Great point @Belphegor ! It's the big, fat, harvest-able guys that climb up the opening and into corners...
For those not using the TinyFarm mesh grow bags & uncertain of what comes to pass here is a picture of mealworm larvae congregating in the upper corners:
feature or flaw - it's never clear! :)
I 'solved' what I thought was a problem at the time!... Conversation is a great thing! However I still have the opening in the bag which I peg closed. They climb up into that. Is the corner gathering a problem at all? If you don't want to harvest them from the corners, I doubt they would stay there until they died anyway. Surely if they need food they would climb down again?