• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Miles Flansburg
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Daron Williams
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
  • Bryant RedHawk

Black soldier fly larvae: poultry, fish food  RSS feed

 
                          
Posts: 6
Location: Alberta Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi I've been lurking for a while enjoying the content here. I've had a small worm bin for 7 years but I’m fascinated by the potential of Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) for organic waste handling. Thought I'd mention a newer blog concerning BSFL. The author lives in Florida has developed a couple of DYI plywood bins that work as well as the BioPod. See http://raisesoldierflies.com/ - lots of good photos and vids.
 
steward
Posts: 3408
Location: woodland, washington
93
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
                          
Posts: 6
Location: Alberta Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
steward
Posts: 3408
Location: woodland, washington
93
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
                              
Posts: 20
Location: north georgia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  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
Posts: 710
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
27
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
Posts: 8
Location: Nashville, TN
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
Posts: 93
Location: Seattle, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
These posts are all from 2010 and 2011... did any of you actually experiment? Results? Has anyone fed them goat poo?
 
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
 
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My BFS larva population is doing extremely well on rabbit poop, I have had no problem with house flies. I think that they would eat goat pooh as well. For the time being I just fill a saucer ( gold pan works well) directly from the compost pile to feed the chickens. No elaborate bucket or self harvester here.
 
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All the info you need about black soldier flies -
www.blacksoldierflyfarming.com
 
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nicholas Covey wrote:Things like this make me wonder sometimes if there are other insect, or lower creatures which can be farmed or raised for our benefit. Bees and earthworms are noteworthy, but there are billions of species of insects.


The only "domesticated" insect is the silk worm.

Bees are wild creatures we house and rob. they never get "tame", although we breed them to be more calm.

Anyway, you're right. With hundreds of thousands of species, we could and should use everything available. We may, as with bees, create a symbiosis where we all benefit from the joint ventures. We use lady bug beetles to reduce aphid infestations. Praying mantises work the same way. Geese are good watch, er, animals, and so on. There are probably hundreds of good ideas not yet incorporated into the permaculture philosophy.
 
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi folks!

I've been doing some research on the BSF stuffs for a bit, and was considering even buying (or making) one of those bio thingies that help to breed them efficiently enough to use as feed for chickens, etc, as well as taking care of compost.

However!

This spring I built me a keyhole garden, with the compost basket in the middle and have been steadily tossing all waste in there. I planted sweet potatoes (which, grew like a charm, but, never produced tubers, I think my soil was too compacted, will fix that for next spring's planting)


Oddly, despite copious amounts of compost, I could never fill the basket...I'd assumed that I'd fill it, then, switch to my compost pile, and then back.. but... no!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I went to push aside the vines and check yet another time to see if there were tubers, before ripping the vines out to prepare for fall plantings... but..
Under the vines, I saw bazillions of black larvae... (ok, actually, really really a lot...) Initially squicked, I looked closer, and realized, Black Soldier Fly larvae! YAY!

I can't fill up the basket, because it is being consumed faster than I can place it in there. AND, I notice that the vines closest to the basket where twice as large as the vines at the edges of the garden.

And, bonus! While initially, there had been ('regular') flies around the compost basket, I had failed to notice that for the last few months, there had been none..

Now, if only I could find a way to capture the larvae to feed my ducks.... any ideas?

Here is my home made, inexpensive, better for the arthritic back, keyhole garden:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/swifthoundbows/sets/72157631280157008/

Best!

Lightly
 
master pollinator
Posts: 10366
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
370
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The easiest way I have found to capture them is to scoop up a small bucket of the material in which they are feeding and place it in the sun. The larvae will quickly move down out of the sun and the material can be scooped off the top. If the remaining material and larvae are dumped into a smaller bucket and the process repeated, eventually there's a solid mass of larvae at the bottom of the bucket, which can then be fed to the critters of your choice (in my case my aquaponics Bluegills )
 
Lightly Burdwood-Porter
Posts: 11
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler!

My thanks! Duh, I should have thought of that, it is a very good solution, and, I will try it asap! I intend to remove the vines very soon, and can scoop up the larvae as I do so... there should still be more than enough to further stock the compost basket and to give my ducks a nice little boost of yumminess.

Thanks!

Best;
Lightly.
 
Le Sellers
Posts: 8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm about to build the BSFL bins in the "basement" of our greenhouse, beneath the rabbit hutches and above the fish tank.

My only concern is whether I need to "strain" out the urine. If it were red wrigglers (which we cannot use there because of limited available height), I'd pull the liquid out and use it outside for nitrogen. But it seems BSFL are not unhappy with a yellow shower several times a day. Or am I wrong?

If I am right, however, it will save me a lot of work (one of my goals), and give us better "residue" for the compost bin (and wriggler bins, if and when I get them incorporated).
 
Posts: 40
Location: Costa Rica 100 meters above sea level, Tropical dry forest
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No need to strain out urine. If it gets too wet maybe add some carbon. Like grass which I need to add today. BSflies have done an excellent job so far with the pig manure. Stand next to the huge bin and hardly smell it. I add any animal entrails and pretty nuch gone in a day or two with hardly any smell. I do have a problem getting then to climb up the ramp however. They seem to want to climb straight up and out.
 
Le Sellers
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

steve temp wrote:No need to strain out urine.

Thanks.

I had hoped that was the case, and from what I have seen, it was a valid hope.

If you know, will worms (red wrigglers) be happy in the same environment?
 
Posts: 12
Location: Montcerf-Lytton, Québec, Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If people want to raise black soldier fly larvae to feed fish, You might want to skip those steps and directly feed fishes. Some species like the bullhead eat everything and they can live in and they actualy prefere swamp and dark water. I even put one on the grass and the fish lived for 2 or 3 days. They can breath by their skin( they dont have scale) They are perfect for stagnant water. They do not have fish bone. They make a lot of babies too.
 
steve temp
Posts: 40
Location: Costa Rica 100 meters above sea level, Tropical dry forest
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use a separate bin for worms. BSF are aggressive and seem to pretty well force all other critters out or eat them. I don't feed my BSF to the fish as is aquaponics system and do not want to contaminate with manure. I feed mine to the chickens. I have not had any other problems with them they are generally not seen outside. Stragglers that escape are great food for wild birds.
 
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So Cool. Thanks all!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2122
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
87
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello,I am new here,but I have an idea for a massive BSF self harvesting set up.
The key would be to use an ICB tank
I would keep it sealed, and manage heat and air via "cheater" vents.

My question is about feed; I only want to use these beasties to make Not-Food or Crap Food into Good Food. basically fast composting, which seems to be their specialty.
They apparently will eat almost anything, but I would like to feed them only that which the chickens or rabbits wont/shouldn't eat.
In fact I only discovered BSF while looking for something to doe with my meat/ bone scraps. I currently compost right in my raised beds with sunken tubes-I don't even have red wigglers, just earthworms.
No chickens/fish either, but if I start raising these larva and still have no animals to feed them to, I could just blend them up into composting tea...

I once read an article on feeding roaches a blend of pulped garbage(including plastics!) and then blending the remaining bugs for use as human/plant/animal feed.
So I am looking to use unusual inputs, like pulped paper or cardboard, grass clippings, autumn leaves,sawdust-basically worm/fungus food.No plastic! Unless they could really digest it...
I would mix this stuff with "regular food", and let them go to town. Being a plumber , I have a couple of beat up garbage disposals ready to do the job.

On a side note, can the larva climb rough vertical surfaces? I might want to simply give them roughened paths for their migrations.

Another alternative I am considering is using the sunken pipes with the BSF. If a place to to pupate was set aside, the waste and bug juice could just enter the soil , and the bugs need never leave at all.
A six inch pipe inside of an eight inch pipe, with soil in between and painted black could possibly beat the cold, but it would need to be white in the summer time...
 
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is my understanding that bsf do not process carbonous/cellulose/lignum type materials very well... Kitchen scraps (including even fish bones to some extent), culled fruits and vegetables, meat/fat trimmings that are not eaten or processed for home use... Anything that is already given over to bacteria or mold should NOT be fed to anything but more bacteria and mold (meaning, compost pile)... Most manures are quickly turned by bsf, whether human, chicken or llama


Yes; they can crawl up a vertical surface that is moist and/or rough in texture.
 
William Bronson
pollinator
Posts: 2122
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
87
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you both for your replies.
I was sky-bluing with my son about a chicken hutch perched right above the BSF bin in such a way that the scat went down and the larva crawled up, when it occurred to me to ask if the gullets of these beasts somehow sterilize what passes through them. After all, cat and dog poop is not recommended for composting due to pathogen transfer issues,so how does feeding these poops to the BSF make them any safer than "feeding" them to the compost pile?

I see your point on the mold,at least on the bread/cereal/grains front but as for bacterial spoilage, I cant see why one would need to protect most creatures from this.
No flat beer,no yogurt,rotten fruit,greenish chicken, brown wilted lettuce, etc?
If it isn't too rotten for a human to eat it, well just eat it! Sure you will have some scraps, but honestly, the only reason I wont eat certain animal bits is either the concentrations of toxins and or bacteria.
Other than that ,I say scrape the poop out of it and pack it full of the other bits , and eat that sausage as god intended!
What does a BFS eat in the wild? What does a red wiggler eat in the wild? And what is poop full of if it isn't full of bacteria?

BTW, I am not trying to be argumentative, I am just confused, so I'm asking questions...

Thanks for the info on climbing, it will be a lot easier to make a a rough vertical path than to fiddle with getting the angle right.

Now I will follow that link-expecting another wonderful rabbit hole!
 
David Hartley
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not argumentative at all... I tend to be a lil vague, as all my internet travels are done via a lil phone

I was just meaning that if something is "far gone", it would be better to chuck it into a compost bin (erroring on the side of caution). Such as some old tuna surprise from God knows when, that you just found in the back of the fridge :p

It is also advised (to be safer than sorry) not to feed manure to larvae of the same type of creature that will be consuming the larvae... Meaning; don't feed avion-manure raised larvae to your chickens...

Here are some safer examples:

Humanure > larvae > chickens

Chicken manure > larvae > fish

Just not: chicken manure > larvae > chicken

And not humanure > larvae > human :p



Hope I clarified...


Chicken roosts over a bsfl pit is a fantastic idea, that has been done by natural happenings and by human-purposed intent
 
William Bronson
pollinator
Posts: 2122
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
87
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey, thanks again! These forums have positive culture that is both informative and kind. I think I have found my new home!
I love your poop-BSF-creature explanation, and I think I will expand it to cover any animal group that shares dangerous pathogens, so no dog poo-larva-human chains either!
I have been reading more on these guys, and it seems that they will eat green grass and leaves, but the brown stuff, not so much.
That's fine, as I am currently researching autumn leaves as a substitute for wood in hugelkultur mounds, and biochar creation.
I am looking at these BSF as a way to turn dumpster food and other discarded biomass into "clean "high protein animal feed/soil amendment in a hurry.
Mind you I am something of a Freegan anyway, but its legal and ethical to sell feed/eggs/fertilizer, but its is hard to sell dumpster doughnuts ethically, let alone legally...

On the subject of fetid tuna and such, I am always afraid this is exactly what will bring the raccoons/cats/possums a running when added to my piles, tubes or tumbler...

 
David Hartley
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fetid bits and carrion can be a real concern, when placed in a compost pile...

However; Joseph Jenkins, author of Humanure, has been doing it for decades After reading his book; I, too, have completely changed my approach to the ingredient construct of my compost piles... The trick with meat scraps and carrion is to bury them deep in the core of an established pile...

However; regarding carrion and meat scraps specifically, there is a much better alternative for those of is that raise poultry That is the "maggot bucket". There are several simple designs out there. My version 2.0 will be inspired from an article I read in a recent magazine. Can't recall which one at the moment {scratches head}
 
Posts: 102
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
2
chicken fungi hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was considering adding BSF to my compost setup, after reading this thread, I'm takin back a little.

I have an indoor worm farm and getting ready to upgrade the outdoor compost bin to handle a lot more "roughage"

I also have 13 chickens that get an acre to munch on. I may increase the number of chickens as I may starting raising them to eat also.

it sounds like once i go BSF, I wont go back, as in they will take over everything and and spread there stink and do there thing greatly reducing my compost piles? While I like the idea of the free chicken protien, I don't like the idea of my other compost being infested with BSF. The chickens as of now seem to have plenty to eat during the warm months on the acre. Also, I can't seem to get enough worm food as my waste is feed to the worms, chickens or composted. It seems like my output will not be enough for BSF? Does my thoughts seem right?

 
Posts: 21
Location: Apex, North Carolina
chicken goat rabbit
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi I made BSF bins out of old barrels and small 5 gallon buckets. I love these little guys! Anything my worms could not eat (meat, dairy, high acid foods) they would consume in short time. They self harvested into bags I hung under these bins. Then went to the chickens.

The smell was a little obnoxious, but not too bad if kept away from house. Also mixing in paper and cardboard kept it from getting too wet and anaerobic. Just hang bins so raccoons and possums cannot get in. Initially I was dumping the bag waste out into worm bins. Then they started to compete in the worm beds. I found that if you put the buckets with larvae close by, then the adults laid eggs there instead of worm beds. Also, if the top of your worm beds are dryer, the BSFs do not hang around long.
 
Steve Stanek
Posts: 21
Location: Apex, North Carolina
chicken goat rabbit
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh I forgot... I tried to keep the BSF reproducing through the winter but could not. They are really great composters and great for the birds. I tried several experiments, but could never get them to reproduce. I had them indoor temp controlled environment as fall arrived. I had three runs going. One with "daylight" bulb from aquarium setup and two next to windows to get natural light. Each system had the larvae crawled out into,separate dirt/sand bins, then they all hatched into flies. Most of the adults stayed alive anywhere from 1-7 days, but none deposited eggs back into the bin with the "sludge". There are several studies on trying to get them to reproduce. I was trying to model it after those. While I remained in correct temp range, I think the humidity was not correct (too dry). After several attempts I gave up. I just harvest them each summer until the fall. One useful thing you can do is to freeze the extra larvae and then use them in the winter.

Couple of tips for people who want to make their own DIY system:
-mix dry materials in periodically to help control smell. The larvae like it moist, but don't let the liquids build up
-if you have a worm bin,you can take sludge out and let it sit for a week or two before dumping it into worm bins. This allows any eggs/larvae to hatch and leave so they will not compete in worm bin. Put it in container with screen over it so adults cannot lay more eggs.
-you can rip corrugated card board so the inside (wavy part) is exposed. Then hang it inside the BSF bin. The adult flies are attracted by pheromones and then land on cardboard to deposit the eggs. Then when they hatch the larvae drops into the waste below. This way you get more larvae (no lose due to the eggs getting saturated in the waste or on sides of container.
- you do not need to keep any adults around. The wild adults will be attracted and come automatically (if you are in a warm enough climate)
 
Posts: 4
Location: Ohio
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello to all has been awhile. Hope everybody is doing well. I have been looking into the BSF set up now. Seems like good stuff. I seen where people use the castings from the BSF and put it in with the red wigglers to further break it down. My question is (sorry if it has already been answered) the BSF larvae can eat meat and everything else. The worms cannot eat meat so would the BSF castings harm the worms if the had processed down meat products?

Thanks,

Derek
 
Posts: 3
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is another link about BSFL info. This guy is researching BSFL at my farm and has good data on several years of research: http://www.dipterra.com/
 
Posts: 33
Location: Costa Rica
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Scott Olsen wrote:Here is another link about BSFL info. This guy is researching BSFL at my farm and has good data on several years of research: http://www.dipterra.com/



Great site and info.
Thanks for sharing this.

J
 
pollinator
Posts: 1467
Location: northern California
76
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All I've got to say is, except for the issue of bringing them through winter, these things rock! They will convert the vilest imaginable stuff into poultry feed. Humanure, pet waste, dead animals, slaughter trash, moldy stuff, spoiled canned goods, even poisonous wild mushrooms! They will reduce the volume and odor of these things compared to other compost systems. Coffee grounds are one of their favorite foods....a boon for anyone living near a coffee shop.
 
Posts: 73
Location: North Carolina, near Raleigh
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello..In my experience this past summer with a black soldier fly colony combined with a worm bin is that they go hand in hand very nicely ...soldier flies are happy to eat what worms.like and also what worms dont like....
I too had big ideas of auto feeding the tilapia with them but it was better for me to let them plop into a bucket so I had some.measure of what my fish were getting fed instead of it being this unknown variable.
My aquaponic system resides in a greenhouse and that is where the soldier fly/worm bin is located just next to The door...I left a cantelope half out in the garden face down and saw the soldier flies landing on it so I waited a day or two thinking they would lay eggs on the melon then moved it into my worm bin and left it alone..a few days later there they were!
Even though they were in a greenhouse they still went dormant in the fall...but the nice thing was that the worms keep going in the cold in my greenhouse and gave me lots of food to enhance the fish's diet.
There was nothing fancy about my bin setup ...just an old.storage tote with some pieces of 1x6 layed over the top with a scrap 30 inch piece of 1 1/2 inch diameter pipe for a ramp that protruded through a gap between the boards.
Once you see a soldier fly youul swear you've seen them before because they have a very distinct way of flying....they hover and.kind of dart around and they are not always black..most of mine were brownish .
For year round I'm guessing you would need a consistently heated greenhouse or walipini for them to remain.active .
I have seen setups where someone.kept them indoors in a netted cagelike structure so they could.live out thier whole.life cycle and.fly around and mate.
 
Posts: 81
Location: Zone 9, CA
11
books urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Susan Monroe wrote:Can these larvae co-habitate with earthworms?  Some 'bugs' are predators.

And where would a person buy the larvae to get started?



The larvae can cohabit with earthworms in small quantities, but the worms prefer a different environment than what the BSFL prefer. They can be in the same bin, but they won't be in the same space. Worms will always move away from busy BSFL.

The worms like to have just enough food to eat and maybe a only little more - just enough to allow for growth. Too much food causes an acid environment that will kill the worms.

The BSFL live faster, move faster, and can decimate a large amount of food waste pretty quickly, which causes that acid environment that the worms can't live long with. If you add too much food too fast, the BSFL will be happy and busy, but the worms will move away to the corners and die off if the environment does not become more to their liking.

If you've added a bunch of food, but not an overwhelming amount, and the BSFL jump on it, they'll finish it off until it's gone. Then, the worms will move in and finish the job.

So, small, temporary pockets of BSFL aren't horribly bad. Large populations are an indicator that you are feeding too much too soon to the worms.
 
Posts: 1442
Location: Fennville MI
40
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Scott Olsen wrote:Here is another link about BSFL info. This guy is researching BSFL at my farm and has good data on several years of research: http://www.dipterra.com/



I guess I missed this the first time around. Excellent link, great information there, both about BSF and other things (he does a pretty brutal tear down of the problems with hot composting, with supporting data and explanations of what the problems are and offers solutions that get away from the problems).
 
steward
Posts: 5256
Location: Missoula, MT
872
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is this guy I know who takes amazing insect and other tiny life photos. Bill captions this photo with:

Laurie made some excellent kimchee a few months back, but it had a limited shelf life. I threw it on the compost pile, wondering whether all the pepper would discourage worms and other decomposers. It turns out that for some reason soldier fly larvae like this one LOVE it. I really need to get a close-up of the pattern on the skin of a clean one of these. It's quite beautiful, actually.



Just wanted to share another layer of appreciation of these larvae.
soldierflylarvae_billrockenbeck.jpg
[Thumbnail for soldierflylarvae_billrockenbeck.jpg]
 
I'm full of tinier men! And a tiny ad:
please help me create BB wiki pages, and other PEP pages
https://permies.com/t/98467/create-BB-wiki-pages-PEP
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!