An Over-Feeding Challenge is where you "Over-Feed" a colony of Dermestids, it doesn't have to be Carpet Beetles but for the sake of this blog I am using a Carpet Beetle colony. The basis of an O.F.C. [as they are often called] is to see how much food a colony can consume within a certain time frame. This is known as a Food Goal. For an example here is my Food Goal, and Time Frame:
Food Goal: 100 Pieces of Cat Food, or P.I.C. [Pieces in Counting]
Time Frame: about 3 months or 90 Days.
So over the course of 90 days I will add a piece of food to the colony every day, or two pieces every now and again. Then at the end of the Over-Feeding Challenge see the grand total and hopefully beat my 100 P.I.C. Goal. There are a lot of different things to keep in mind if your every going to try one of these:
1- This can cause a bit of stress on the colony, especially if you are adding in a piece of food everyday, since they don't like light and such this can irritate them. Another stressor is sometimes adding too much of the same food, now this can be counteracted with adding in different types [or even different colours of food] to the colony during the duration of an O.F.C.
2-I would not recommend doing an Over-Feeding Challenge with a new colony, this is because the colony wouldn't have enough larvae and beetles to keep the cycle going smoothly. As there is sometimes a lag in-between Cycles. This is especially true with Carpet Beetles and small colonies.
3- Again sometimes you may need to stop the O.F.C. because of Stress on the colony or because things aren't working out so well. This is not a bad thing to do and I have dis-mantled a few O.F.C.'s in my days to know it is worth it to quit well your ahead then to potentially loose a colony of Dermestids because of stress or some other factor.
Remember that if your going to do an O.F.C. to make sure the colony has a steady supply of water during the process, as they can dehydrate quite easily during an Over-Feeding Challenge.
Hope this provides you with a bit of Education on Over-Feeding Challenges. I will be posting an Over-Feeding Challenge Journal on my Attagenus un