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black soldier flies in the Pacific Northwest?

 
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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I was wondering if anyone is raising soldier fly larvae in the Pacific Northwest. Is this something viable? Are you using a bio pod? How did you get your flies?

Thanks ahead of time!

 
Posts: 48
Location: Oregon - Willamette Valley
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Absolutely you can.... the PNW may not be the ideal place, but they grow fine here.

I raise them on a small scale, with a 5-gal bucket setup.
To supplement feed for my chickens.

Here's a youtube video about a place in the northwest.
They raise them on a much larger scale.
Their channel has several videos on BSF's.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1617
Location: northern California
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I've got a biopod but I've ended up reinoculating it with mailorder grubs every spring.....they are available from a couple of companies as reptile and fish food. The cold season is too long for the grubs to winter over, seemingly (unlike where we used to live, in Georgia), and I haven't seen adults laying in it of themselves....makes me think it is uncommon or absent in the wild. This year I've got some pupae stored away in some mulch in a can and hopefully they will hatch out and start the cycle again. Does anyone know if they are found in the West, and how to bait them to a new biopod? The last two springs I've ended up attracting housefly maggots, and thus resorted to mailing in more larvae....
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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Awesome video, Matt--Thanks! I see a wood project in my future.

I had some different looking flies in the greenhouse today. I'll try to get a pic tomorrow. I'm not sure if they're black soldier flies or not.

Good question, Alder.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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I can't seem to get a good pic of the flies I'm seeing in my greenhouse. A friend who has handled black soldier flies stopped by and said that what I have isn't. Oh well. I'll build my bin and then order I guess.
 
pollinator
Posts: 938
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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For keeping BSF overwinter, check out this powerpoint presentation... slides 58 and on address the cold weather ... even in Eugene, OR

http://www.biotech.kth.se/iobb/news/po-brazil.pdf

 
nancy sutton
pollinator
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Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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Re: bsf in PNW.... I have just done some research and am tossing this idea out. It seems that larva can be kept warm enough with insulation and their self-generated heat to possibly survive our winters and continue 'eating'.. at least, as far north as Eugene. Its the mating/egg laying that has to be done in light, and at around 70 degrees, which is why buying in larva every year may be necessary.

However, it may be possible to take some (a few) pupating larva inside, buried in a tray of minimum 2" of soil, let them hatch into flies (which are slow moving, live less than 2 weeks, don't eat anything) which mate and then lay eggs. I believe they can be easily contained in a small screened cage, with enough light and warmth. Apparently they readily lay eggs in edges of corrugated cardboard daubed with some foods (can't remember, but can look it up if desired), or, best with exudate from the bottom of the larva feeding container. The hatched larva can be sent off to turn into feed. This whole process happens pretty quickly, btw... raising larva through the winter and to increase larva numbers.

I got this information from talking to the largest larva seller, in one of the Carolinas... who, coincidentally was backlogged on their orders... which I take as a good sign of something ;)
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Reading these posts, I started to worry about the idea of introducing a non native species without enough consideration about how it would affect the ecological balance here.
Then I found this article and it sounds like we do have our own black soldier flies, that can winter over.
https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/big-maggots-your-compost-theyre-soldier-fly-larvae
Has anyone tried just building a home for them and seeing if they show up on their own?
 
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