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Are black soldier flies stealing my compost?

 
Posts: 1
Location: Cumming, Georgia
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I've noted with various compost piles over time that if black soldier fly larvae appear in quantity, I lose a lot of compost volume...so much that I am concerned that what would be compost is flying away as insects, seeping into the ground as bug urine, or otherwise disappearing somehow.  Are my concerns warranted?  My goal is to have as much compost for my vegetable beds as possible.  Note I do not have chickens to take advantage of the situation.  My inputs are primarily vegetative waste from the annual garden, kitchen scraps, and leaves.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful reply!
 
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Keep in mind that a lot of the volume of vegetable scraps is air and water.  So as it decomposes the pile will shrink as it drains and compacts.
 
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Hi Rob,

If the flies are flying off, then you are loosing some nutrient value, but not much. Worms will do the same thing, feeding at night,  sneaking in unnoticed, yet the castings they leave behind are worth it. I personally wouldn't let it bother you, as they are taking a small amount, yet leaving their frass behind, which is a valuable asset. They are also speeding up the breakdown process, and probably aren't taking any nutrients that wouldn't be leaching into the ground anyway: as they will help soak up the moisture from the vegetable waists, that tend to be very wet without brown carbon sources to help soak them up. That wet matter just leakes into the ground anyway, and rain leaches alot to, if your compost isn't covered. Hot composting could help cure that infestation. You could also check your carbon ratio, if your not properly building your compost, and if that doesn't help, maybe your bin isn't big enough to get to pasteurization temperature. I wouldn't worry about the flies though, it's most likely a symptom of some other issue your overlooking. With that said, if it still isn't resolved, it can sometimes be more trouble that its worth fighting against nature, but if you feel you must: and those other solutions don't help. Food grade diatomaceous earth, may be worth looking into. Hears two ideas, kind of grasping at straws, for anyone who wants to research: there also may be some paracitizing bacteria strains, like BT, that host in solder fly larve, or some paracitizing fungi in the cordicepts family, that may work; however, on those last two I'm just theorizing, and it would take resurch to confirm that, potentially even testing.

Hope that helps!
 
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Location: Texas Zone 9
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No.  Black Soldier Fly larvae are composters.  They are very FAST composters, so they will process your compost much more quickly than it would compost on its own or even with worms.  All the adults do is lay eggs and die.
 
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