Diseases in edible insect rearing systems

G. Maciel-Vergara*, A.B. Jensen, A. Lecocq, J. Eilenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Due to a swift and continuous growth of the insect rearing industry during the last two decades, there is a need for a better understanding of insect diseases (caused by insect pathogens). In the insect production sector, insect diseases are a bottleneck for every type and scale of rearing system with different degrees of technology investment (i.e. semi-open rearing, closed rearing, industrial production, small-scale farming). In this paper, we provide an overview of insect pathogens that are causing disease in the most common insect species reared or collected for use in food and feed. We also include a few examples of diseases of insect species, which are not (yet) reported to be used as food or feed; those examples may increase our understanding of insect diseases in general and for the development of disease prevention and control measures. We pay special attention to the effect of selected biotic and abiotic factors as potential triggers of insect diseases. We discuss the effect of such factors in combination with other production variables on disease development and insect immunocompetence. Additionally, we touch upon prevention and control measures that have been carried out and suggested up to now for insect production systems. Finally, we point towards possible future research directions with possibilities to enhance the resilience of insect production to insect disease outbreaks

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-638
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Insects as Food and Feed
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2021


  • edible insects
  • epizootics
  • insect diseases
  • insect rearing systems
  • stress factors


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