HI! I’m Alexis Patterson, and today we’re
visiting our Select Employer Group Fluker Farms to learn a little bit more
about their business, AND I might even eat a bug or two! So, tell us a little bit
about Fluker. Fluker started in the 50s by my father. My father had a good job at
the plant and went to Georgia to visit some friends and came back and told my
mom that he was gonna quit his good paying plant job to grow crickets and she
said okay! So Fluker’s began. Can you explain, like, why they are a good
source of protein? Are they a good source of protein for all reptiles or people? Yeah, they’re
just a good source of protein for reptiles, birds and people! I mean,
nowadays people are starting to eat crickets and you’ll find cricket meal
out there. How many crickets do y’all sell each year? We sell several hundred
million crickets every year, and primarily now they’re used more as a
feeder insect than they are as a fish bait. Really fish bait’s a small portion
of our business these days but that’s how we started was a fish bait company.
Where can people get the products at store or do you usually order online? We sell
nationwide, you know, so you can go to lots of small mom-and-pop pet shops and
buy the Fluker cricket. It’s really hard to brand a cricket once it’s in a
cage, but you can order Fluker crickets directly from our website. And we ship
out several thousand packages a week through the postal service as well as
FedEx. So tell us about the misty cockroaches; where do they come from?
Well, the hissing cockroaches, they come from Madagascar. Some people actually
will buy these for pets believe it or not! Wow, okay. So how can
you tell the difference between a male and a female? If you look, the female
doesn’t have these—these nodules on the top of her head.
Some people call them horns, but the male has these very pronounced nodules at the
top. That’s a male. So why do they hiss? It is a defensive mechanism to scare away
predators. Okay. So could you find a roach like those in your home? No, no, these guys
are from the island of Madagascar. They don’t thrive real well in this
environment, so. And you know they—they take a long time to grow as well. Yeah,
they can take six months to grow into this full adult size.
Besides the cockroaches, we also have some other insects. [Okay.] We raise two
species of beetles. So why do y’all sell mealworms?
This is a very common feeder insect as well. [Okay.] Very popular; they’re second only
behind crickets, which are the most popular feeder insect.
Besides mealworms, this is a, you know, it’s a more docile species. It grows slower.
Not quite as active. There’s a super worm, which is a South American version, and,
yeah, they’re much more active, you know, they move around. Bigger. There’s actually
less chitin—it’s a it’s a softer worm. And both of these guys pupate into
beetles. If you look. [So both of these turn into a beetle?] Correct! And in the
world of insects, beetles are the most common species. We get lots of questions
about the way these things are developed, and we’ve—we’ve got a teacher resource
kit online that will actually walk you through the stages of a mealworm’s
development process. We supply a little-bitty, which I’m gonna call sauce
cups, but little-bitty clear, plastic cups. Each student will take their mealworm,
put it in the cup (it’ll have bedding), and they can watch the whole lifecycle
process for this mealworm, which it will begin to pupate into a beetle. So do
these have to be in a certain environment to stay alive? Do you have to
preserve them any sort of way? Well, yeah, so these guys actually grow in
in their feed, so that’s why they call a mealworm they’re—they’re found in
meal commonly, and both these guys are grown in their feed, and then we just
kind of sift them or screen them out. So besides live insects what else do y’all
offer? Well, back in the 90s, we also started to develop a dry product line. So
now today we have more than—I don’t know— 200 reptile products per say? We have
lighting, we have substrates, we have tank accessories, and one of our
latest products is that—that we actually developed a semi-moist food. This is a
product in which we can add pretty much whatever our vet had on his wish list.
It’s got dried crickets; it’s got dried mealworms; it has kale; it’s got just
really anything and everything you’d want—the good stuff. And this is a great
diet. This is—this is launching this fall, so we’re very excited about it.
We went from a fish bait company to now even humans can eat a cricket. So why
don’t you and I both try a chocolate-covered cricket? Uhh… okay! Let’s see…
maybe a little one. Ready? Okay! Here we go! Mmm! Tastes like a Crunch bar. Not bad. Welcome to the “I Ate a Bug” Club at Fluker Farms. Delicious! Ugh you can see it! Wait—oh God! I didn’t know
that you can see it. Okay *phew*. Okay I need to like chill for a sec.