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Bucket system with black soldier fly larvae

 
Posts: 28
Location: Southeast TN
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Wondering if anyone has ever tried the bucket system using straw bales, sawdust, buckets of poo/pee and black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) to decompose it.

I have access to endless supplies of grass, sawdust and black soldier flies and since the wife and I just moved into a camper on our land as we slowly finish our house I need something to do with our poo. Our camper doesn't have running water, and I'm debating even getting it, seems like a waste of money with the inlaws just accross the farm and us planning city water for the house.

We are already using a bucket and sawdust, but just covering these buckets up in the woods seems like a waste.

Any suggestions?
 
pollinator
Posts: 3651
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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If it doesn't freeze there, my water supply would be an IBC tote filled from the in-laws. You can buy a cheap trailer to pull the IBC around or tote water back 5 gallons at a time or use a 15-55 gallon drum or a second tote. Depends on the distance and tools at your disposal.

I had two tanks, one for the back of my pickup and one on the ground (next to the water hookup on the trailer) to drain it into. Then dropped the inlet hose for the RV pump into the tote and we had running water. Easier because we had to go 5 miles for water.

Friend doing it now has a couple 10-15 gallon barrels inside and a little hand pump. Carried in 5 gallon cans on a packframe because it is an easier walk than drive. No worries about freezing that way, either.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1602
Location: northern California
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I would think you could quickly get hooked on some kind of humanure compost, as opposed to using, and perhaps hauling, all that water needed to do it more conventionally. Just make a good hot, or long-term compost, and don't put it on your salad or root veggies for a couple of years. Be careful with your hands and tools and keep flies away from it....house flies that is. It's really pretty easy.
BSF will work humanure, but it's not their favorite thing. They will like it even less if it's mixed with a whole bunch of roughage like grass, etc. I used to set up a geriatric latrine chair and dump each installment directly into my BSF "biopod", which was busy working other stuff. They would reduce the volume of the humanure by about half, and convert this into usable feed. The sludge in the bottom of the pod I had to send to my regular humanure compost just to be sure against pathogens. The BSF's had plenty of other stuff like coffee grounds, slaughter trash....even poisonous mushrooms. They really take recycling to the next level!
 
Willie Shannon
Posts: 28
Location: Southeast TN
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I like the idea of bringing some totes of water, I hadn't thought that far ahead! I believe we have some 30-35 gallon "blue barrels" floating around. This weekend I'll get that set up and going with a hand pump! Thanks for the advice!

As for the humanure, I've been talking to my father-in-law, and based on our experience with BSFL I think we will go ahead and build a pile. We have some old square bales and plenty of sawdust. So we can get the mix started with rabbit manure, straw, sawdust and some greens just to get it composting and then add some BSFL and see how they synthesize our waste.

If it fails we can always cover it with sawdust and try something else.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2734
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Have you read the Humanure Handbook? It is a great starting point.
 
Willie Shannon
Posts: 28
Location: Southeast TN
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I'm reading it right now. Most of the things I'm reading so far seem to point to me being in the right direction. BSFL are probably a little unorthodox, but I think its worth a shot.

This is an interesting book, I can't wait to see the bibliography on this thing!
 
Michael Cox
pollinator
Posts: 2734
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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BSF in humanure systems seems quite opposed to the principles in the humanure handbook.

Jenkins recommends hotcomposting with plenty of cover material to kill pathogens.
BSF are surface feeders and less good at feeding off buried material. They are supposed to be sterile themselves at the stage when they selfharvest, but i'd be concerned about house flies landing and carrying out pathogens.

Do you have a use of the BSF (egg chicken feed)? If not i'd pursue simple hot compost to produce lots of valuable fertiliser.
 
Willie Shannon
Posts: 28
Location: Southeast TN
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We have 40-50 chickens that free range the farm. We have a huge colony of BSFL under the rabbit hutch on one end of the farm. I don't think I would class BSFL as a "surface feeder" since my father-in-law and I have pulled a foot of rabbit manure out off the top of the ground and seen ooldes of the larvae active and eating a foot down.

But I'm going to finish this book and set this up as a compost pile first and try to introduce the BSF as it accumulates some poo. Otherwise they would run out of food anyway.


As long as the pile is covered and has BSF in it, other flies won't touch it anyway. His rabbit hutch literally has 1.5-2 ft of rabbit shit under the cages right before we harvest it, probably taking up a 25ft x 10ft area. At any given time you can go up to the hutches and there is minimal shit smell and no insects flying around except BSF that are to busy mating to bug a human. Its actually an incredible thing.


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