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Black Soldier Fly raising in dry plant hardiness zone 7a - possible?

 
Isaac Bickford
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Location: Okanogan County, WA
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I'm getting geared up for some chickens and would like to raise BSF larvae from veggies scraps plus entrails of slaughtered animals, which I am currently just burying in zone 4/5. My concern is whether there are wild populations of BSF to lay eggs for me. I'm in south-central Washington state - Benton County. USDA plant hardiness zone 7a. Relative humidity 5-20 in the summer. Anyone found BSF in a similar climate?
 
Dan Kline
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Location: Virginia, USA
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I am in zone 7a in Richmond, VA. I admit we get more rain than you must there. Our annual total is about 30 inches.
Black soldier flies are the bane of my vermiculture beds and my composting. Red wigglers are no friend of BSF it seems. I put a cantaloupe rind strip in the bin and in a few days it is laden with so many larvae that no worms are near.
I suppose if my county would allow chickens in a residential neighborhood I would not dislike them so much. I wish I could sent them all to you!!!
 
Zach Muller
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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I am in a very similar climate as You and Dan, but with even a little more Moisture, so bsf show up readily. I looked up pasco to compare stats here and it looks similar enough to my untrained eye.
Also Washington is considered part of bsf range from what I see on a few maps, so I bet they will show up if you set up the conditions.
 
Isaac Bickford
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Location: Okanogan County, WA
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Thanks for the replies. My concern is more with the dry than with the cold. We have manure piles and I haven't seen any evidence of BSF, but we've only been here for 8 months.

Zach, do you have a link for bsf range that includes eastern WA? What I've seen only has points for west of the cascades, which is much wetter.
 
Zach Muller
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Hey Izzy, I was talking about the map seen on this link to bug guide .net. it shows them in July and August for Washington but I am on a mobile device so I cannot hover over the black box to see how many photos were submitted. Those sightings very well could be from the western part of the state I am not sure.
 
Isaac Bickford
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Location: Okanogan County, WA
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Thanks, hadn't seen that one. There are only 3 photos for each month. I'm guessing they were west of the cascades. I think I will do a little baiting this summer and see how it goes, but I think BSFL won't be a staple for the chooks...
 
Zach Muller
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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Have you considered getting some larvae from the west and bringing it to your place? As long as the bin stayed moist they would be okay I would think. When winter comes you could even find a way to overwinter them in order to keep your population going season to season. This is slightly more work than it is for us in wet areas but still could be worth it.
 
Isaac Bickford
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Location: Okanogan County, WA
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Yeah, that's a possibility. I just don't like the idea of my piles being the only food source for them miles around. I might be able to overwinter that way, but it would be much better to have a wild, self-reliant population that I support. Being the only food source seems like a pretty instable position.
 
Nicanor Garza
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Location: Yakima county, Washington state
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Izzy Bickford wrote:I'm getting geared up for some chickens and would like to raise BSF larvae from veggies scraps plus entrails of slaughtered animals, which I am currently just burying in zone 4/5. My concern is whether there are wild populations of BSF to lay eggs for me. I'm in south-central Washington state - Benton County. USDA plant hardiness zone 7a. Relative humidity 5-20 in the summer. Anyone found BSF in a similar climate?

I did some trekking at the poluse falls( still in desert region) park and it seems like we get the green soldier fly which favors marsh lands or streams for laying their eggs in while the pupa depends on things like algae and the adults depend on the nectar of short throat wild flowers, I would like to assume that there are some in your area or in a small sanctuary for them that has not been killed off because of herbicides of insecticides.
a way to attract other varieties of soldier fly that are similar to the bsf would be to introduce wild flowers like catnip or desert yarrow so that the adults keep coming back for nectar and can find the food scraps for their larva to live off of, so your gonna have to be inventive if you want to attract these flies.
 
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