Cash In Worms

destineleeFlickr Are you looking for a little side business to finance your weekly tank of gas? It may be time to take a look at worm farming. By combining a small scale operation with online sales and promotion, you could follow the model of Ken Chiarella, whose is expected to bring in over $800,000 this year.

Chiarella started with $150 to grow a few crickets and worms. His farm now sells millions of crickets and mealworms across the country. His product is used for bait and exotic pet food. Maybe some of them end up in vending machines. Home gardening is up too. According to Chiarella,

“Worm poop, also known as Worm Castings happens to be the best natural fertilizer the world has ever known. People are going green and we are able to show them how to do it with a tiny investment.”

Advanced Vermiculture

Worm farming may seem a low tech endeavor, but Chiarella has branded the name Soldier Grubs to refer to Black Soldier Fly larvae, which contains the high levels of calcium needed to sustain reptiles living in captivity. High calcium food saves pet owners the money they would otherwise have to spend on supplements.

Chiarella also helps others start their own businesses with free advice and newsletters.

“I believe that Americans are hurting right now and we have a need to go green. We have a business that can be duplicated in a basement, garage or small back yard and can offer a good supplemental income while also helping to reduce household waste. Soldier Grubs and Red worms eat food scraps, newspaper and cardboard and turn it into fertilizer. That fertilizer is big business. We could make another million dollars per year just selling the worm poop. We are going to look at doing that regionally next year.”

Watch Out for Worm Pyramids

How to Keep Your Employees Happy Without Giving Them a Raise

According to Chiarella the demand for worms is huge. There’s plenty of room for everyone. Isn’t that what they said about alpacas? and the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service warns about buy-back scams in the worm industry. Claims that worms can be raised with little time, effort, and expense may not be accurate. Several states are trying to shut down worm buy-back companies allegedly operating illegal pyramid schemes that rely on a constant inflow of new farmers into the system. Farmers purchased breeder worms from with contracts to later sell offspring to future worm farm hopefuls.

Just make sure you know what you’re in for before you go opening up the can of worms.