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My blessed Black Soldier Fly Larvae disappeared when long huge ants showed up!

 
Posts: 6
Location: latitude 30.63 NW FL in hardiness zone 8b
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I've been composting dog poop for over 14 years on my homestead, once it's about a year old I use it around the homestead on non-food plants, trees, and shrubs. I have lots of leaves, and other such material that I layer over the dog poop. I have had a wonderful happy relationship with black soldier fly larvae that showed up last spring, they been doing a wonderful fast job devouring dog poop this past year. I was feeling very blessed that they came to help compost but about a month ago I saw lots of long skinny huge ants crawling all around on the doggie poop compost pile. I dug around to look into the depth of the pile to see if my black soldier fly larvae were still there but I couldn't find any! I haven't seen anymore black soldier flies flying around and none of their larvae. I'm worried where did they go? There was a steady cycle during spring and summer and fall of the beautiful black soldier flies and their larvae; the ones that were in my compost were so gorgeous, black with white spotted wings. I miss them flying around hovering looking at me while I work in the yard.  Has anyone had this experience of huge ants showing up and their black soldier fly larvae and flies disappearing? Also, I have a completely separate pile for kitchen scraps, garden scraps and such, that pile is far away from the doggie poop compost, and that pile also had black soldier fly larvae but I haven't seen any black soldier fly larvae in that pile either; there are no ants in that compost pile. I'm hoping it's just the time of year maybe? Can anyone tell me?
 
pollinator
Posts: 11797
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I'm thinking it was probably not the fault of the ants.  Larvae will disappear with cooler temperatures - eventually all the larvae grow up and fly away, and I never see adults during the cold season,  
 
Posts: 33
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
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I agree with what Tyler said.  I'm in a much cooler region, and also had black soldier flies show up in my compost piles, but mine disappeared months ago, toward the end of September.  You are lucky Florida allows them to be active outdoors so much of the year, I think they were only around for 3-4 months here.
 
maggie leiterman
Posts: 6
Location: latitude 30.63 NW FL in hardiness zone 8b
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Jonathan Baldwerm wrote:I agree with what Tyler said.  I'm in a much cooler region, and also had black soldier flies show up in my compost piles, but mine disappeared months ago, toward the end of September.  You are lucky Florida allows them to be active outdoors so much of the year, I think they were only around for 3-4 months here.



Thank you, I was hoping that was the case! I will be anxious to see if they return next spring. I wonder if the farms that use them to decompose animal waste, such as the swine producers I read about may accommodate the Black Soldier Flies and larvae in an enclosed heated space during the cold weather?
 
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does anyone have a picture or design for a SIMPLE black soldier fly composting container.  i would like to build one keeping in mind i have rats and need to keep it sealed.  i was thinking a 18/20 gallon tote with a piece of wood/plastic/pvc placed at an angle on the side with an exit.  not sure what to use to allow adult flies to enter.
i was thinking that this would be a great set up for an initial process of humanure.  can then go on to a 2nd step of a compost pile.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 121
Location: Treasure Coast, Fl
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Steven, I have a couple of totes set up for my bsfl. To allow access in one I exchanged the lid that came with the tote for another lid with a flip top in the middle. The advantage of this other lid is that the corners are rounded so it leaves a small gap in the corners for bsf to enter/exit. In the other tote I drilled a 2” hole in the center and used a pvc coupler + t fitting. The advantage of this is that you can zip tie a strip of cardboard on the inner side of the lid around the coupler to give a place to the bsf to lay their eggs.
 
steven michaels
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Vanessa, thanks for responding.  i will look for the tote lid you described, otherwise i will try to use the pvc fittings you described.  thanks!
 
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