Coming in April of 2023, New Course in Insect Rearing Fundamentals!

The course is an online, live class taught by Professor Allen Carson Cohen. It is designed for people who are new to insect rearing (“entry-level” people) and for mid-level people who have some experience with insect rearing but want to know more of the comprehensive picture of how and why rearing system components fit together.

The course gives basics of feeding biology of various kinds of insects with mouthparts and digestive systems that are based on biting/chewing (such as beetles and Lepidoptera), piercing and sucking (such as Hemiptera/Homoptera), and lapping (such as many flies). The dynamics of the feeding systems are presented in coordination with the basics of insect nutrition and metabolism.

Other aspects of rearing systems are presented such as the nature and interplay of the rearing environment and how these factors lead to success or failure in rearing systems. For example, how do the details of gas exchange (O2 uptake and CO2 release) apply to cage/container design and population density? How does temperature impact feeding rate, metabolism, and reproductive success in our reared insects?

How do microbes (pathogens, symbionts, contaminants) affect our insects in their rearing systems? How do other sources of stress such as free radicals cause damage, and how can we avert such damage? How does stress, in general, affect the quality of our rearing systems’ products?

How does insect genetics and epigenetic phenomena affect our insect colonies? What are the realistic approaches to limiting and identifying the kinds of problems that nutritional, environmental, microbial, and genetic/epigenetic issues may cause?

The philosophy behind all of these topics and teachings is that the more insectary workers know about the interplay between our insects biology and the rearing system, the better each worker will do in developing and maintaining higher quality, stress-reduced insects as higher quality products of our rearing systems.

When? The new course in Insect Rearing System Fundamentals will be taught every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (Eastern Time) from April 4 through May 11, 2023.

Where? The new course will be taught through the Office of Professional Development at North Carolina State University and will be available through Zoom and Moodle (for presentation of class notes and other resources).

How Much? The new course will require a $450 USD fee for 24 hours of instruction.

Measuring gas exchange in container of painted lady butterfly larvae. The instrument shown here reveals the efficiency of O2 uptake and CO2 loss from the lidding of a typical rearing container. Note that the O2 level is about 19.6% (about 1.2% lower than “clean” air) and the CO2% is about 0.7 (which is about 7,000 ppm, 6,500 ppm above “clean air”). This raises the question about whether or not the gas exchange in this container is adequate for the larvae to grow and develop normally.