Insect frass coming to a garden near you
What is Insect Frass?
A fun question we get at a lot of our live events or from people that go on insect farm tours is, what is insect frass? What do you do with all of the waste from the insects like crickets and mealworms? These are great questions and they bring up another cool benefit of raising edible insects for human consumption, which is that you can use the waste at home or in your garden as an organic fertilizer for your plants!
Insect frass is just insect poop…it is really that simple. Some insects produce frass that is a liquid form and some insects produce small dry droppings made of plant material.
Insect Frass Ratios
Cup to 1 Cubic Foot
Cup to 1 Gallon
Because insects and bugs eat and feed on plant vegetation, it makes their poop nature’s perfect plant food. Of course, if the insects have been feeding on something like chemicals or man-made pesticides, this can be harmful to the plants, but in general insect frass is a great fertilizer option to use in the garden and for your house plants.
“Insect frass tea is not made for drinking…so crazy I know, but don’t drink bug poop.”
How Do You Use Insect Frass? How Do You Use Bug Frass?
Because insect frass and bug frass is made of digested plant material from insects, there are a few different ways to use insect frass or to prepare insect frass before adding it to your garden and plants. Many organic farmers choose to try insect frass because of the nutrient benefits from the insects and also from the chitin (read our what is chitin article here) that is found in the frass as well. The chitin can actually trigger the immune system in plants that help protect against pathogens in the soil or even root-feeding nematodes as well.
So when asking, “how do you use insect frass?,” there are a few different ways to prepare your mixture. We recommend that you always premix your insect frass with a compost or sample of soil . The ratio can vary, but we generally aim for 1-5% of insect frass in the total sample. That works out to be 1 cup of insect frass to 1 cubic foot of soil. This newly mixed soil can be used as an added layer on top of growing plants or used in raised beds to plant seeds and seedlings. You can also sprinkle the bug frass directly on top of the soil as well, but we recommend mixing it in first.
An insect frass tea can also be used in your garden and for plants, so keep reading below to find out how.
How Do You Make Insect Frass Tea? How Do You Make Bug Frass Tea?
Now this was a very interesting question we got at a recent event, and I thought they were pulling a prank on us when we were asked, “how do you make insect frass tea?” However, I think it came down to miscommunication and a game of telephone where one friend was talking about edible insects and sustainability, and bug frass tea was also mentioned – but do note that this is not for drinking! We know it shouldn’t have to be said but because we heard it once it should be repeated. Insect frass tea is not made for drinking…so crazy I know, but do not drink bug poop.
Insect frass tea and bug frass tea are ways to prepare a mixture for fertilizing your plants. This insect frass tea mixture may be used to fertilize the roots of growing plants with a fantastic mixture of nutrients, and can even be stored in the fridge for up to a week for continued watering.
In order to make insect frass tea you will want to have some dry insect frass, bug frass, or worm frass on hand. We recommend using an old gallon milk container or a water bucket that has liter or gallon measurements on it. Next take a 1/2cup scoop of bug frass and mix it into 1 gallon of water, and then let it stand for around 2-4 hours to steep. The newly made insect frass tea can then be poured directly onto your plants and root systems to deliver an organic boost of fertilizer and nutrients to your garden.