This year has been filled with surprising and extraordinary events. We have experienced wildfires in California, hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, a Global Pandemic, and countless other surprising events. Now we have another one to add to our list: the Superworm shortage. We are currently facing the worst shortage we have seen in a decade.
In February, one of the biggest breeders of Superworms experienced a huge die off due to issues with their HVAC system. An estimated 30-40 million Superworms were lost, and we immediately began sourcing new suppliers. We partnered with existing farms and invested in new Superworm breeding operations. With 3,000 orders for Superworms still to be filled, we needed Superworms, and we needed them fast. In response, moved over to the second largest breeder of Superworms. Initially, this breeder was able to meet our customer's demands and they projected future production to be able to keep up with the sharp increase in sales we were experiencing. As other suppliers moved over to this breeder, we started to experience shipping delays as the breeder struggled to keep up demand.
Then came COVID-19 in March. Some of the secondary breeders employees were exposed and were requested to quarantine as a precautionary measure. Their production started to slow, but the breeder wasn't aware of any issues over the course of those two weeks, which caused them to oversell their supply. This breeder had to stop taking orders, causing all of their customers (including us) to move towards sourcing from smaller farms. The smaller farms could not handle the volume, and they too began to sell out and oversell, sometimes overnight.
Superworms a six month grow time, and the biggest breeder from February was almost back up to full production when the heat wave of August hit. Record temperatures across the country wiped out production over the course of a few days. The farms lost thousands, sometimes millions, of Superworms each. This in turn caused more delays, backlogs, missed deadlines, and hungry reptiles.
We are committed to stabilizing the supply of Superworms for the reptile community we serve, and have continued our partnership with smaller farms to diversify our sources and mitigate the risk of large die-offs. This is admittedly a slow process, but our efforts back in February and March are beginning to pay off. Though we still have a backlog of orders affected by these events (at the time of writing, it is currently around 700 orders taking an average of 3 weeks to fill), our supply is increasing weekly. The farms we partnered with are sending us very positive projections for the next 6 months., and we hope to be back to normal around March-April.
If anyone is interested in breeding Superworms, please reach out to us. We are still helping and investing in smaller farms (some out of their homes for the moment) to help us fix this nationwide issue. Our goal is to help feed America's reptiles, and that is exactly what we are trying to do!