Episode 70: Insect Frass and Mealworm Production with Virginia Emery
Virginia Emery is founder and CEO of Beta Hatch, a pioneering insect farming company that is industrializing insects for agriculture. Beta Hatch is fueled by a passion to see insects reach their true potential in our food systems. The company has grown to be internationally recognized for its scientific approach to scaling insect production and operates North America’s largest mealworm farm for animal feed production in Washington. Virginia is the country’s most innovative insect entrepreneur, recently recognized as a Visionary Grist 50 Fixer. Virginia has a PhD in entomology from the University of California, Berkeley, has been awarded over 20 grants and honors, and has published on subjects ranging from chemical communication to genetics to insect behavior. Her life’s mission is to breed a bug that tastes like bacon.
Highlights of frass use for cannabis production:
- Clean product ideal for indoor growing – because our insects are grown indoors in climate-controlled conditions on organic feed, there is no risk of pests, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides coming into the greenhouse.
- Highly soluble N immediately available to plants. Our studies have shown increases in leafing and fruiting.
- Unlike conventional mineral fertilizer, frass contains small concentrations of micronutrients including Cu and Zn and Mn.
- Studies suggest the addition of frass stimulates soil microbial activity, especially when it is mixed with mineral fertilizer, suggesting a synergistic effect between both. amendments. Taken together, results indicate that frass has a great potential to be used as a partial or a complete substitute for mineral NPK fertilizer.
- Full study here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-61765-x
- Frass is produced locally in Washington State in a zero-waste system and is OMRI and USDA certified organic. .