Tag: Courses in insect rearing systems

New Course in Insect Rearing Fundamentals

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.

Plans for Courses for 2023: New Insect Rearing Fundamentals Course! Coming in April-May of 2023

Based on feedback from our students from rearing courses over the past 2 years, we are modifying our approach to the online courses. We are now offering a new rearing fundamentals course for entry level rearing background and mid-level background. The course will cover all major aspects of insect rearing systems with emphasis on basics of how components of rearing system function and how they interact.

Announcing the new Insect Rearing Fundamentals course starting April 4-May 11, 2023.

This is a Drosophila feeding video made by Professor Cohen for his project on Mass-Rearing System Optimization for spotted wing Drosophila (D. suzukii).

An important part of the course on Insect Rearing Fundamentals is to give students/participants a better understanding of how various insects feed and how this knowledge helps lead to better rearing techniques. In this example, typical fly feeding dynamics are shown with the larva (in the center) using its hook-type mouthparts to help ingest food after it has been treated by the larva with its digestive enzymes (extra-oral digestion). The adults, especially the one in the upper left, are using their lapping/sponging mouthparts to help them ingest the yeast-based diet and diet matrix of agar and plant materials. This type of feeding applies to many families and species of flies, including the tephritid fruit flies (such as Mexflies and Medflies), which are extensively treated in this course.

This is a sample of the kind of conceptual and detailed explanations that Professor Carson Cohen provides in his lectures. Here are the topics that will be covered in the 12 units (lecture/discussions) in this course:

April 4: Lecture 1: The rearing system concept

April 6: Lecture 2: Diets: Overview of insect nutrition and metabolism

April 11: Lecture 3: Diet components–chemical and physical interactions

April 13: Lecture 4: Diets: Diet-making and diet presentation

April 18: Lecture 5: Diets: Optimization of diet composition

April 20: Lecture 6: Diets: Matching diets with feeding biology

April 25: Lecture 7: Domestication/colonisation (insect genetics and epigenetics)

April 27: Lecture 8: Microbial relations in insect rearing systems

May 2: Lecture 9: More microbial relations (kinds of microbes and kinds of interactions such as mutualism and pathology)

May 4: Lecture 10: Reducing error and stress in rearing systems part 1

May 9: Lecture 11: Reducing error and stress in rearing systems part 2

May 11: Lecture 12: Process control and quality control of reared insects

Each unit will include a 90 minute lecture with a 30 minute discussion section. This structure will allow for generous time for questions and answers that pertain to students/participants’ specific learning needs.

Students/participants will be given access to the NCSU Moodle system which gives access to class notes for each lecture and readings that are supplements to the lectures. The course is not graded, but quizzes will help provide feedback for students/participants to know where they may need explanation from the instructor.

Registration cost of course: $480

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