To farm mopane worms you need to intervene in the life cycle of the emperor moth butterfly. The moth lays eggs on mopane tree leaves or branches around October to November. The eggs hatch after about 14 days and the larvae will feed on mopane tree leaves for about 28 days before coming down from the tree to pupate. You will need to intervene at all stages to protect the, butterfly, eggs, caterpillar and pupa.
At present mopane worm s are not farmed, people in the rural areas go into the forest and pick these worms wherever they occur naturally. However this has now changed as we have come up with a way to commercially farm mopane worms.The informal mopane worm industry is a multi-million dollar industry and we want to be part of this industry. At mopane worm we are dedicated to preserve the mopane woodland. We have planted hundreds of mopane trees. We are working with the local population to protect mopane tree and mopane worms.
A lot of people would want to know how much can you earn from farming mopane worms. The answer to this depends on supply and demand of mopane worms. In OK Zimbabwe 1Kg mopane worms can cost around $15.00. That means 1000 Kgs of mopane worms can fetch you $15000.00 US Dollars were as tobacco can can fetch you $4.50 per Kg to give you $4500.00 US Dollars. We can see mopane worms can out perform tobacco by nearly 4 time. So the best way forward is to open your own mopane worms retail shop and maximise on profit.
Facts about mopane worms
On average 1 emperor moth can lay 200 egg.
It takes about 12-14 day for the eggs to hatch.
It take about 28-30 days for the mopane worms to reach maturity 5th instar.
You will need 5000 female emperor moth to produce 1 tonne of mopane worms.
One dried mopane worm can weigh 1 gram on average.
You will need roughly 1000 mopane tree at least 3m high to produce 1tonne of mopane worms.