The many benefits of insect frass for your plants
Insect frass is a brilliant fertiliser and biostimulant for use in rooting, vegetative and flowering stages. Made from insect exoskeletons and excrement, the frass is beneficial for your plants in three main ways:
Balanced nutrient ratio
It contains a great balance of primary nutrients (NPK 2,2,2), these release slowly over a period of 3-4 weeks, and are easy for plants to take up. Insect frass is also packed full of beneficial bacteria that help plants access more nutrients from the soil.
The nitrogen in insect frass is predominantly organic nitrogen (NH2). There is virtually no ammoniacal nitrogen (0.11%) or nitrate nitrogen (0.02%), which means insect frass can be used throughout the life of the plant- from seedling to flowering stage- without concern for creating hermaphrodites.
Secondly, frass has another special and quite unique benefit for plants: it contains derivatives of chitin, which is found in large concentrations in the cell walls of insects.
Plants detect the presence of this and are ‘tricked’ into thinking an attack is imminent; consequently, their in-built resistance to pests and disease is triggered and growth rates, productivity and immune response are all boosted significantly.
Last but by no means least, frass is chock full of micronutrients, with high levels of natural silicon, and very low levels of sodium and chloride.
Its worth noting that insect frass is not an insecticide – instead it causes the plant to produce its own defenses, which include insecticidal enzymes, alkaloids, and antifungal metabolites that aid in pathogen and disease resistance.
Our insect frass is from mealworms, the larval form of the mealworm beetle (Tenebrio molitor). The mealworms used to generate our frass are actually bred for food in the UK; unlike other 'organic' insect frass therefore, it does not come from mealworms that are fed growth enhancers or other hormones. Our frass is therefore really high quality, and for instance, includes the exoskeletons of the mealworms themselves.
In a recent article looking at the impact of frass on plant growth, it was shown that quality is an important factor in determining the impact of herbivorous insects on nutrient dynamics, and that frass positively or negatively influences soil N availability and plant growth.
Additionally, frass has been found to be more effective when mixed with other mineral fertilisers in a substrate - suggesting a synergistic effect.
For more information and to buy some for your plants, click here.