Mass Rearing House Crickets in Rural Mali
Subsistence farmers in rural Mali commonly have a strict grain diet which can result in deficiencies in vitamin B12, certain amino acids such as lysine and tryptophan. House crickets, Acheta domesticus, a species found wild in village homes in Mali have been found to be a complete source of fat, protein, vitamins, and essential amino acids. We tested the viability of mass rearing Acheta domesticus in rural Mali by developing cricket feeds for chickens with materials locally available to Malians. We defined success by measuring cricket fecundity and survivorship in laboratory bioassays. Treatments with 4 replicates were: a) feeding crickets a combination of ground millet and fresh zucchini fruit; and b) feeding crickets with a combination of ground millet, ground dried zucchini seeds, and fresh zucchini fruit. Data were analyzed with a simple and multiple comparison of means. Control crickets were fed Fluker Farm high calcium cricket food, and distilled water. From our three repeats, we deducted that sustainable locally sourced foods in rural Mali can provide a suitable diet for mass rearing house crickets.