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Black soldier fly larvae: poultry, fish food

 
                              
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tel jetson wrote:
will it matter if the eggs are there if there's nothing for them to eat?  they won't grow without food, right?  maybe they'll just end up as more food for the worms.

I think somebody should go ahead and try it.  it's on my list of things to do.  if nobody reports back here that it was a disaster before I get around to it, maybe I'll be the one to find out that it doesn't work.



What do your worms eat then?
 
steward
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stalk_of_fennel wrote:
What do your worms eat then?



I was under the impression that the worms would be interested in chewing through the larvae excrement.  am I mistaken?
 
                              
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tel jetson wrote:
I was under the impression that the worms would be interested in chewing through the larvae excrement.  am I mistaken?



Oh maybe a straight diet of soldier fly poo.  Yeah that may work.  I used my worm bin to compost my kitchen scraps and I couldn't keep the soldier flies out.  I used a 55 gallon barrel cut in half.  The bottom has drain holes drilled in it.  The top was covered with window screen /w elastic band.  Then there was a trash can cover on the very top.  This setup didn't keep the soldier flies out and at time would eat the kitchen scraps I put in before the worms got to them.  I suppose the worms eat the soldier fly poo.. well, technically they're eating the bacteria on the poo.  I guess my problem with this setup is that I end up with a lot less worm casting then if I didn't have the soldier fly maggots in there.  The soldier fly maggots just do such a good job of reducing the bulk you put in.
 
tel jetson
steward
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right now we feed kitchen scraps that the goats don't want to a worm bin.  we've got a healthy worm population in the composting toilet, as well.  whenever I get around to a soldier fly setup, I don't think I'll have any shortage of material to feed them, though that will translate to substantially less that eventually gets to the worms and into the garden as castings.  I think the trade for more livestock feed in the form of soldier fly pre-pupae will be worth it, though.  we'll see, I guess.
 
                              
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I think it's worth it as well!  Last summer I fed my aquaponics system with my soldier fly bin.  The fish love the maggots so much more then regular pellet feed.
 
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We have an abundance of BSF also.  Tons of them. During the spring, summer and part of the fall, I love to feed them everything because it disappears so fast. They are in our very large compost pile.  I also started adding food scraps to our raised beds and the BSF found their way there also.  I was so happy. 

During the winter, we don't see them but they always come back in the spring.  I think they go dormant.  The worms come back first though - in abundance!  The worms love the BSF poo.
 
                              
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Frugal Que wrote:
We have an abundance of BSF also.  Tons of them. During the spring, summer and part of the fall, I love to feed them everything because it disappears so fast. They are in our very large compost pile.  I also started adding food scraps to our raised beds and the BSF found their way there also.  I was so happy. 

During the winter, we don't see them but they always come back in the spring.  I think they go dormant.  The worms come back first though - in abundance!  The worms love the BSF poo.



You dont feel like you end up with less finished compost then when you had just a compost pile or just worms?

Yes they go dormant during the winter.  They overwinter in their big fat maggot stage.  Near my home made bsf bin I find 'drifts' of maggots under pots, bags, big rocks, etc. 

I think the native americans in central texas used this as a means of food preservation.  I have no proof of this, but I once read about a tribe near San Antonio that would catch all sorts of fish and then leave the fish out on the river bank to become maggot infested.  They would then eat the maggots.  I've seen dead animals around here become so filled with soldier fly maggots you could barely smell them rotting.  I imagine fish nutrients preserved in insect form that can stay 'fresh' for months and months would be pretty awesome.  Just a theory.
 
                      
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Yeah BSF are great and easy to do.

Raised a 55 gal drum full of them for my Guinea fowl.

But my birds are freaking super picky eaters and I would try giving them BSF straight from the drum. They'd taste them and spit them back out where chickens would greedily gobble them up.

Knowing that I'd seen the guineas eat the BSF out of the compost piles in the past I started 'washing' them by tossing the BSF into the compost. After a day or so the birds would go dig and dine.

Must be that the BSF swim around in their own digestive juices which must taste like crap. Might be less of a problem if I had a self harvest system in place...but if you're doing chickens they don't seem to mind.
 
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Yep, definitley less finished compost but that is ok.  I love the whole process.
 
                      
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now has anyone had sucess in maine with the buggies
i want these bad .. protein good for the chickens can freeze the mature larvae for winter feedings. or place in the basement next to your worm bin. and better unlike alot of maggots grubs worms the mature self harvesting larvae have no feeding mouth only a climbing  and hooking mouth to pupate and the adults dont feed at all just breed lay eggs and die.
and they are kinda antibiotic qualities so really really not dirty.
and lastly as bad as it sounds they can be used for disposals .. ie chicken (or other) mysteriously dies .. well feed it to the BSF larvae since i wouldn't eat it..
 
                              
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sticky_burr wrote:
now has anyone had sucess in maine with the buggies
i want these bad .. protein good for the chickens can freeze the mature larvae for winter feedings. or place in the basement next to your worm bin. and better unlike alot of maggots grubs worms the mature self harvesting larvae have no feeding mouth only a climbing  and hooking mouth to pupate and the adults dont feed at all just breed lay eggs and die.
and they are kinda antibiotic qualities so really really not dirty.
and lastly as bad as it sounds they can be used for disposals .. ie chicken (or other) mysteriously dies .. well feed it to the BSF larvae since i wouldn't eat it..



i don't even think you need to freeze the larva.  at least here in texas they go dormant/hibernate in their mature maggot form for the winter months.
 
pollinator
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Can't remember who posted this first or where, it's a homemade fancy bucket for raising BSF larvae, including a migration tube and collection bucket, which I want to try:

http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/bsf-bucket-composter-version-2-1/

If someone here posted this on the board already and that's where I found it, thank you!   

I prefer not to handle the maggots, which is why I want to try to make a bin with collection system.

Icky, yucky, maggots.     
 
                      
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ii was thinking more of a what are they 30 gal plastic tubs (um like 30 inch round) with a cut in half 1/2 -3/4 flexible pipe (the poly butelene or pex or something like that) wrapped at ~30 degree angle and bonded all the way up the side of the tub so no matter what level the  mass is at the buggers can self harvest.
throw some cocoanut curr? in the bottom. and fit a plywood / foam lid with a hole fixing some folds of plastic or single wall card board for the next gen to lay eggs in ...
 
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Can the black soldier fly excrement be used for anything other than feeding to the worms? Even though the worms may take a little longer to digest, they seem to produce a higher yield of fertilizer/compost. Is this correct?

On the other hand BSF produce a yield of food for animals which is also beneficial. I could see myself using both of these

Has anyone tried feeding these to turkeys?
 
tel jetson
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Jason wrote:
Can the black soldier fly excrement be used for anything other than feeding to the worms? Even though the worms may take a little longer to digest, they seem to produce a higher yield of fertilizer/compost. Is this correct?



I think a big part of the difference is in the amount of material that leaves a maggot system in the form of pre-pupae as opposed to most of the worms staying put in a worm system.  the literature mentions a 95% reduction of waste, and a 20% conversion to soldier flies (both by weight).

I haven't done any actual measurements, but just from eyeballing my worm bins, I would guess that the reduction in volume and mass is in the same ballpark as for soldier fly larvae if the critters leaving the system are taken into account.

Jason wrote:
On the other hand BSF produce a yield of food for animals which is also beneficial. I could see myself using both of these



sort of depends on what is needed more and how much raw material is accessible.  if worm castings are more important than livestock food, the choice might be clear, especially if the only thing available to feed the system is household kitchen waste.  if multiple waste streams are accessible, feeding BSF residue to worms could supply plenty of worm castings while preventing some use of landfills.  that's the route I'm going.
 
tel jetson
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I got real excited and built a bin on that fellow's model about a month ago.  ordered some larvae.  then realized it won't really be warm enough for them here for two more months or so.  patience is hard.
 
                          
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If you've got an insulated cooler the larvae produce heat as a byproduct and you could get a head start on the season.

Reading some your previous posts about rearing the flies this might interest you (link). Heather had some success getting BSF to reproduce inside in a fairly small enclosure. This was using natural light but she intends to try artificial lighting at some point. I believe her intent is to use the 'Honeymoon Hotel' to restock her Biopod.
 
tel jetson
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I stuck rigid foam insulation to the sides and top and surrounded the whole thing with straw bales.  still had to keep a heater going under it to keep the temp above sixty.  but them, I only got 700 larvae for a giant bin.  I think that once the thing is established this summer, it shouldn't have a problem making it through a cool season.  just got excited and tried to start the wrong time of year.

if I could put it inside like Heather, things might be different, but that's just not going to work yet.  hoping to have the greenhouse up before it gets cold again this Fall, and there will be room in there for a cool season bin.

I think my best bet is going to be patience.  the biggest downside will be paying to feed the ten chicks that will be hatching next week in the mean time.
 
                              
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  This spring I added rabbit cages over on end of my compost bin.  Over the last few weeks I have noticed a steadily growing BSF population.  It sounds very strange but I am so excited,  its like a free permaculture gift.  They seem to be doing exceptionally well in the rabbit manure and in areas where the fresh kitchen scraps are dumped. 

  I am interested in containerizing a portion of them an trying small amounts of meat.  I supose the long term question is  could they eat the waste from rabbit processing?  Anyone have any experience with this?
 
pollinator
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Yes, it seems they eat almost anything moist and dead...check out this author's experience
http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-07-26/home-and-garden/17171947_1_compost-pile-food-scraps-maggots
 
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thomas i would just put some ramps out of your compost bin and let the BSF self harvest into a bucket, then you can feed them to chickens. use the chicken manure to grow pasture greens to feed the rabbits which will complete the cycle.
 
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Wanted to report that I have started a BSFL colony as far south as Honduras via wild parents. I live north of Tegucigalpa near Zambrano and they are active here year round.
 
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These posts are all from 2010 and 2011... did any of you actually experiment? Results? Has anyone fed them goat poo?
 
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Ok, i'm intersted in this very subject, as a way to supplement my fishes diet.
I can understand the principle of the making of the bin and stuff. Lots of info on the likes of Youtube etc
What i cant seem to work out, though, is what happens should other types of fly get there 1st, and all you end up with are maggots, and, a few days later lots of (say) bluebottles annoying the heck out of you?

Reg
 
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