Anyone using black soldier flies?

Ariel301

Songster
10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
1,355
21
151
Kingman Arizona
Does anyone on here culture black soldier flies for their birds? Are you using the "BioPod" or a homemade device? I'm interested, but that pod is REALLY expensive and I think I could make something myself if I could figure out exactly how it should work. How do you get the thing started--where do the flies come from? Do you have to buy flies to start it, or do they just show up? If they show up, how do you get the right kind of flies and not just house flies or other pesky ones I don't really want thousands of hanging around my yard? Does this thing only work part of the year--when it is warm enough? We don't really have flies of any kind that I notice during the winter.
 

Pet Duck Boy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 12, 2009
1,373
18
161
Orlando, FL
I really want that biopod, being limited to materials I can't make a good one. I'm also not sure if you'd fine very many adults in your dry air. Even in Florida, there's been a decrease in adults, despite the high temps. All I did was stock a 5 gallon bucket with 3 pounds of wet, mushy, chicken layer and some cracked corn I soaked in water for 3 weeks. I had a bucket writhing with the larvae 3 weeks after. Though during the first week the bucket had lots of house fly maggots. http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/bsf-bucket-composter-version-2-1/ <----- That design is very good, and should cost around 25-30 dollars if you have no supplies.
 

Ariel301

Songster
10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
1,355
21
151
Kingman Arizona
I saw that design, and am thinking I could redneck something up that works pretty good for almost nothing. I just need to know if the flies do or could live here...

Also, if anyone is using one of these, how much larvae does it REALLY produce? I tend not to trust what the ads on the manufacturer's websites say about things like this, it sounds too good to be true.
 

Gallo del Cielo

La Gallina Resort &amp; Spa
10 Years
May 6, 2010
5,230
493
326
Tucson
My Coop
My Coop
BSF are very common here in Tucson, AZ, despite our dry air. If you have a compost pile or bin, look in there and you'll see the larvae. The adults look more like bees or wasps than your standard housefly. Go to google images and search for Black Soldier Fly for pics of the adults and larvae. I never saw one until I started composting and even then, there aren't swarms of them by the bins. In fact, I rarely see them. There are, however, thousands and thousands of larvae in the compost bins. They've also infiltrated my vermicomposting bin. I find them in the compost throughout the winter, but I'm sure their relative numbers are lower then. I'm going to figure out how to cultivate them for easier harvest. PDB: I know what you mean about the cost of the biopod and thanks for the link to the bucket composter, I've bookmarked it.
 

Rozzie

Songster
9 Years
Jul 14, 2010
3,577
23
181
My coturnix quail love them. However, I'm not growing them intentionally. They showed up in my compost pile all on their own. Occasionally I'll go grab them a few. They go NUTS over them.
 
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Campngolf

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 26, 2010
35
1
22
Nor Cal
Count me in the wanna be BSF army. I found a whole platoon in my compost bin this summer and hand picked a few for the girls. They loved them. But it was too much work harvesting by hand so I'm thinking of giving the bucket bin a try.
 

Ariel301

Songster
10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
1,355
21
151
Kingman Arizona
I'm going to try to get the materials together and make one. It's probably too late in the year to really get anything going, but I did some math and I think that if I could make a system big enough to produce a couple of pounds of the larvae a day, I could really make a dent in my feed bill.
 

geedub

Songster
11 Years
Jul 5, 2008
113
4
111
Orlando area
Hi all,

I encourage you to try my DIY bucket design, but please keep in mind that a unit that size can only handle ounces of waste per day, not pounds. The BSF bucket is more a learning tool than a larvae production unit. I think it's best to learn about the behavior and life cycle of BSF on a small scale before trying anything larger. Here's a few photos to help you with ID:

female-laying-in-DIY-bucket-w.jpg


I found this adult on a cool day so I was able to handle it:
first-bsf-of-2009-c-w.jpg


No bite, no sting, not vectors of human disease:
bsf-magnifying-glass.jpg


4 days to hatch + 8 days of growth; it's hard to see BSF in waste until a few weeks after eggs are laid:

19 days after hatching:
bsf-life-cylce-day-19-wf.jpg


This large larva is ready to transform to the final larval stage where they're dark colored and stop eating:
large-bsf-larvae-close-up-w1.jpg


In this stage the larvae try to leave the food source in search of a safe dry place to pupate. Self-harvest systems target this stage:
bsf-larvae-in-hand-wm1.jpg


There are several flies that have large larva, look for the "hairs" and ridges:
comparison-bsf-larva-false-stable-fly-w.jpg
 

Pet Duck Boy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 12, 2009
1,373
18
161
Orlando, FL
You're back Jerry, hope your problems were sorted out! I'm still trying hard to gather the supplies I need, parents don't exactlly like the writhing bucket already. I had a shortage of adults for 3 weeks, but it seems like I'm back to getting 1-2 adult a day. Oh, and due to the decrease in adults I would like my get own to pupate. I had a good 50 prepupal larvae in a container of wood shavings, but they did not pupate and died out after a few weeks. Should I just scatter the prepupals in safe places in my yard?
 

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