I see green light below a tray. How do I harvest?
1. When and how shall I harvest?
- Harvesting should happen 90 days after the beetles' inlay is set in and the egg laying started. The beetle inlay is giving the Hive a signal that it now is in this layer and new eggs are laid in there. So 90 days later the green LED will light up to tell you the worms should be big enough for harvest right now. Now you pour them into the harvest area and press the harvest button. For a better harvest result filter out the fine dust before. The harvest process can take up to 4 hours, but you can leave it running without supervision.
- (If the green light shows up way too early you maybe have put in the beetles' inlay into this layer 90 days ago accidentally.)
2. How much can I expect to harvest?
- You can harvest every 18 days on average 300 grams of mealworms every other week, but it can vary strongly depending on your colony. Especially in the beginning when you build up your colony make sure you take care well of them and filter the pupa out regularly to put into the beetles' inlay. This way you get a lot of beetles laying more eggs for more harvest.
- After cooking, unless other animal products, they will retain more or less the same volume. Adding this factor to the high fiber and protein content of mealworms, it will represent a lot of nutritious food!
3. What happens if I forget to harvest them?
- Harvesting is happening in 18 days cycles (90 days after the egg laying started). Whenever the beetle inlay is inserted into a tray, it pushes the microswitch in the back of the device. This signals to the Hive that the beetles are laying eggs into that respective tray, therefore the age of the worms is zero at that time. The system starts counting and when the green LED below a tray lights up, you know that these worms are ready for harvest. If you do forget to harvest or decide not to for one week that´s fine too and your mealworms will have more time to grow bigger. If you do not harvest for another 18 days, another tray LED will light up to indicate that there are harvest-ready worms. As soon as the trays are harvested and you insert the beetle inlay into the emptied tray, the LED will go off and the Hive will know that in that tray the cycle is starting all over again.
4. What exactly happens during the harvest process?
- All the mature mealworms with their frass, some dead ones, and some pupae fall into the harvest area. There, they land on the first vibrating separation membrane. The pupae stay on top of this first membrane while all the rest goes through to a second plate, the harvest plate. This one has an angled surface and is heated in a certain rhythm, motivating your fresh worms to crawl down into the harvest area. The fresh, lively mealworms will start wriggling away from the center, crawl onto the angled surface edge and fall into the harvest tray. The fine dirt and the dead ones (don´t worry in every healthy colony you have some dead ones) and frass will stay on the harvest plate. You can then clean the dirt and frass and harvest the pure, clean mealworms in the harvest area.