Making Feed from Japanese Beetles

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging 8 Years

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    These little buddies of many in the midwestern US do not need much of an introduction other than not much good can be said about them if you are interested in horticulture.

    I am gearing up for an experiment that might be of interest to some. We spend a lot of effort trying to keep Japanese Beetles off blueberry and elderberry crops resulting in the capture of many hundreds of pounds of beetles. Catching them in mass is easy once you figure out how to trap them. We froze them in mass. Now we are experimenting in ways to make feed from them. First round involved simply feeding them out. Fish and chickens really like them but they are too bulky for storage and rot quickly. Second round involved running frozen beetles through a meat grinder. Fish and birds hammered them even better and the ground beetles could be stored in a much tighter space. The moisture is the problem preventing more economical long-term storage. We playing around now with drying the beetles out in a convection oven which is going to greatly improve shelf life. We preparing about 20 lbs of dried beetles for feeding out to fish and some will be sidelined to chickens. That going chickens will be mixed into a scratch to seriously increase protein levels. Should make the mix look pretty. Most the dried product will be subjected to milling to see how it compares to wet frozen product.

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    Care must be taken to control smells. We have already been run out of one building. After drying I think smells will be OK for most.

  2. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    RamonaRay, Cyprus, pvaldes and 3 others like this.
  3. Hopperkiller

    Hopperkiller Songster

    Dec 8, 2013
    slidell, tx
    How did you trap them. Im contemplating building some sort of trap for june bugs. But they come out when chickens on roost. Intersting experiment you have there!!
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

    Nov 7, 2012
    :caf Ron, you can keep the popcorn this time. Just seeing all those JB makes me nauseated. I tried freezing some JB, and the stench convinced me that I'll simply just feed them out fresh. Seeing them brings the memory of the stench back! I wish you the best with your effort, Centrarchid. I actually encourage trap crops around the perimeter of my yard. They are very fond of Evening Primrose. I make several trips around the yard during JB season, collecting them so the flock can go bobbing for beetles.

    Now, here's a thought: I wonder if it might be possible to use pheromone to attract them and get them to breed in a specific area. Then, wondering... if the larvae might be grown out in a different fashion, but along the same idea as BSFL. I'm thinking the larvae are not as stinky.
    Dawnclucks22 and biophiliac like this.

  5. Molpet

    Molpet Crowing

    Sep 7, 2015
    N. Illinois
    My Coop
    How long did you freeze them? i put the bag in the freezer for a day or two and the beatles were still alive, but slow enough the birds had no trouble catching them.
    I put the pheromone traps in the poultry yard and the poultry would stand nearby and get some before they made it into the trap. The turkeys would occasionally take the trap down.
  6. Crazy for Chickens!

    Crazy for Chickens! Crowing

    Jun 9, 2017
    N.W. Missouri
    Good luck! Just curious, how did you catch them?
  7. h2oratt

    h2oratt Free Ranging

    May 3, 2015
    Morada, california
    My friend just bought a freeze dryer machine. 2K but it works well more eggs, fruit and yogurt. It must. Be how they make the freeze dried meal worms.

  8. Dayrel

    Dayrel Songster

    Mar 18, 2017
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging 8 Years

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Follow link provided by co-workers developing a mass trapping system.

    Volume they collect is much greater than the socks can muster. Several have been / will be setup just outside my lab. I really want the beetles fresh before harvesting as I am concerned about degradation of vitamins and fatty acids. An ammonia smell produced may be indicative of protein being mineralized. Rapid freezing promoted by beetles not being in too large a mass when placed in freezer. I suspect that as a group that can generate heat like a swarm of bees slowing chilling process.

  10. Crazy for Chickens!

    Crazy for Chickens! Crowing

    Jun 9, 2017
    N.W. Missouri
    Nice. Might have to try that out! Although I don't k ow if i would freeze them. Kind of gross, in a way.

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