Recently, students in Dr. Jimmy Wedincamp’s class, Natural History of the Southeastern United States, visited Armstrong Cricket Farm. The farm was started in 1945 in Glennville. The farm was one of the first commercial cricket growers in the United States and now supplies bait stores, zoos, pet shops and individuals with live crickets and worms for reptiles, birds and fish.
Biology majors Diana Bedgood and Kaitlin Warren visited the farm as part of the arthropod section of their studies.
“It was a learning experience,” said Warren.
“It also showed you that insects aren’t just pests or random bugs you find in your yard or the woods,” explained Bedgood. “It is a very good industry in itself. There are many groups and businesses worldwide that specialize in some type of insect-based product.”
The students went on to explain that some of the crickets are freeze-dried for bakeries to be used in cricket flour for protein bars.
“It goes to show just how versatile the insects are. They aren’t just a byproduct, they’re a direct product,” said Bedgood.
Dr. Wedincamp and the students also learned about the bio safe cricket farm located 10 miles from their main farm. This is to prevent the spread of a cricket virus that can decimate cricket farms. The bio safe area serves as a back up of good, clean, healthy crickets.
During their visit, Warren and Bedgood also discussed different ways to help prevent the spread of the cricket virus through developing virus-resistant crickets, manage spider infestations, and sift out target insects to keep out unwanted beetle larvae.
“I thought it would be a good experience to visit Armstrong Cricket Farm to learn more about the business side of insects during our arthropod section,” said Dr. Wedincamp of the trip.