Farming insects - a way of controlling them? Minimize

April 2012. A disucssion occurred on PestNet about farming insects as an additonal way of controlling insects. The discussion occurred in relation to the outbreak of Oryctes in Guam. It followed from a post on PestNet that came from the Coconut list which reported an FAO Technical Consultation Meeting on “Assessing the Potential of Insects as Food and Feed in assuring Food Security” organised by the FAO, Rome, Italy on 23-25 January 2012.

As a moderator of the Cocount list wrote ... "beetle farming¨ could be a positive control measure - giving the local farmers an income - by converting adult beetles and larvae into feedstock for farm animals, pets or even humans!" The assumption being that eradication of the beetle from Guam was an impossibility. It would be in the forests and from there fly into the coconut plantations.

In some situations farming might have potential. In Mozambique, for example, the country has had a severe outbreak of Lethal yellowing disease and now increased numbers of Oryctes because the rotting palsm have provided breeding sites for the beetle. The adult beetles emerge from the breeding sites associatred with these diseased palms and immediately attack seedlings being establsihed by the replanting programme. Beetle farming in this situation would be a way for farmers to make money. 

However there was a general feeling that this was not a good idea. There was the possibility of escapes and spread to nearby landowners' palms or to nearby islands because of increased numbers. And, it was said, that Gressit on Palau and the Pacific Rhinoceros Beetle Project in the South Pacific found little evidence of substantial beetle breeding in forests.

Additionally, the statement that it was virtually impossible to control the beetle with virus, fungi, or chemicals was not thought true. There is often very good control in Pacific countries using the virus. The problem lies with controling the beetle in breeding sites, especially near sawmills or areas of fallen logs, especially after cyclones.

Near eradition was achieved in Vono and Belana islands in Fiji but the work was ruined after Cyclone Bebe went through the country.

A parallel discussion occurred when Palau asked what methods were used in Tonga to eradicate Oryctes as Palau hopes to eradicate it from Sonsorol and Fanna. In 1921, the beetle was recorded in Niuatoputapu (Keppel) Island in the Kingdom of Tonga, but it was successfully eradicated in a campaign from 1922 to 1930. It was done by hand colelction and field sanitation.

A recent articel from the The Ovestory deals with edible insects: