All About the Black Soldier Fly

Posted by @orchidgal on
The Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) is an insect that all gardeners should become familiar with. After my encounter with it, I did much research and I am happy to share the information that I've found with my fellow gardeners.

Thumb of 2015-03-15/orchidgal/ca184bThere are a lot of things I can deal with in the garden: spiders, the occasional snake and palmetto
bug and other assorted creatures I don’t care for. When I first found those maggots in my compost bin a couple of years back, I freaked and brought them to our County Agent to identify. She sent them off to the lab and they were found to be the Black Soldier Fly ( BSF). I put all the right waste in my tumbler compost bins: vegetable and fruit peelings, coffee grounds, tea bags, leaves, some newspaper; never, ever, cooked food. I used to have a worm bin (for the wigglers), but found that a regular compost bin that tumbled produced good compost much faster.

This is what I learned about this small fly:
They’re harmless and are a widespread, beneficial insect. My research revealed that the larvae do more than just eat food waste. They are being used at pig farms to take care of those massive amounts of piggy-poo. When they are done eating your food waste, you can feed them to your chickens, birds or fish. They’re high in protein and fat and could become a main ingredient in future animal feeds.

On average, a household will produce a little under 2 lb. of food waste per day. This food waste can be composted at home using black soldier fly larvae much faster than worms can do it.

The BSF larvae are edible to humans (too much information for most of us, but good information, nevertheless). The larvae are highly efficient in converting large amounts of waste into protein, calcium, and amino acids-rich biomass.

No matter how efficient they are, personally I just want them out of my compost bin. I’ve never even seen the little fly and I don’t know how they got in there. Even though I hadn't seen them in a few years, now “they’re ba-ack”! I would rather run my compost bin Black-Soldier-Fly-Free.

So, if you suspect that something is wrong with your compost, I suggest looking around for the larvae. The first sign of compost trouble is that you don’t have that nice, slowly decaying compost, rich and earthy. Instead, it’s all black and mushy. The only way I've found to be rid of them is to pick the larvae out and leave them on the ground.

Thumb of 2015-03-15/orchidgal/ba0616 Thumb of 2015-03-15/orchidgal/8f869e

Good luck!

 
Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Chickens love them by sallyg Feb 14, 2019 7:53 AM 0
I'm confused too by orchidgal May 2, 2015 10:32 PM 0
confused by Toni May 2, 2015 10:17 PM 1



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