Growth and development of insects in the laboratory cultures can be significantly enhanced by improving the nutrient quality of their culturing medium. One way to achieve this is by including add-ons in the food medium. This approach is commonly followed in culturing red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) which is used as a model insect for a variety of laboratory studies. Commonly yeast is used as a food admixture for escalating beetle production and promoting oviposition. In this study, we aim to evaluate some alternates for yeast, i.e. agar-agar and folic acid at three levels (3.33 %, 6.66%and 10 %) for enhancing laboratory culturing of T. castaneum. The results demonstrated that highest adult production was achieved by adding yeast at the rate of 6.66%(279±23.24) to the food medium while agar-agar and folic acid produced more adults albeit with prolonged larval duration of about 5 days as compared to yeast when ad-mixed at rates of 10%(196.6±21.52) and 3.33%(164.8±3.51). The experiment confirms yeast as a best add-on for enhancing the T. castaneum population but agar-agar and folic acid could be used as substitute when the cultures are required to be maintained vitally without fast developments, for maintaining master cultures in the laboratories.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1