Palm weevils, Rhynchophorus spp. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), are equatorial in distribution and there are approximately 10 described species. Rhynchophorus weevils are remarkably similar in their biology and ecology regardless of what country or region they are native too.
Palm weevil larvae farming is found mainly in Southeast Thailand. These farms cannot be expanded into other regions owing to the lack of specific food sources such as sago palm trees or lan phru trees.Palm weevil larvae are popular food items among people in the south.
One weevil farming operation used rounds of fan palm trunks approximately 0.33-0.5 m tall for rearing. Rounds were purchased at 120BHT each. Individual rounds were placed under crudely built shade structures and on top of each round fermenting palm mash was placed to a depth of about 2-3 cm. Adult RPW were placed on the mash and then covered with flaps of palm bark that was pushed firmly into the mash thereby providing a protected space for the adults live, feed, and lay eggs. No preparation of palm trunks other than the application of palm mash and bark pieces is needed for this rearing set up.
After approximately 3 months the first crop of weevils is ready to be harvested, and each palm round can produce larvae for up to 6 months for a total production of about 3 kg of larvae. This farmer preferred the flavor and texture of weevil larvae and pupae produced from fan palm trunks and weevil development is slower and palm trunk longevity is greater when compared to a similar set up with sago palm trunk sections.
The farming technique is cost effective and environmental friendly as it utilize agricultural waste as a resource and enhance food security. Moreover, the mash used in rearing the larvae is rich in nutrients and will be sold as compost for crop farmers in amending infertile soils. Also, after six months, the hollowed palm logs used for rearing and have been burrowed by the larvae will be utilized as containers for gardening and growing ornamental plants.
Preparation of Weevil Larvae and Pupae for Eating: There are three main ways RPW larvae and pupae are prepared for eating: (1) stir-fried in a wok (very common), (2) prepared as a curry dish with vegetables, or (3) battered and deep fried. Sometimes live larvae may be eaten after floating in soy sauce. Cooked RPW larvae and pupae provide a substantial and hearty meal either on their own or when supplemented with additional vegetables and rice or noodles.
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