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January 12, 2018

Black Soldier Flies

We have a wild population of BSF.

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For serious composters, Black Soldier Flies, hermetia illucensor, are a miracle insect. The BSF larvae (grubs) love putrid wastes, and are highly efficient at composting them. Grubs can reduce the mass of waste by 95%, leaving a fine compost behind, as well as a compost tea that, once diluted, is an excellent fertilizer for the garden. They don’t like competition, so they give off a distinctive odor to repel other flies. Adult BSF don’t eat waste and so are not a pest in any way.

Once the grubs are ready to pupate, they climb out of the compost bin (as long as the ramp is 30-45 degrees), and drop themselves into a bucket, a meal fit for any number of small livestock, like chickens, fish, lizards, quail, and even pigs. They’ll convert 5 pounds of waste into 1 pound of high protein grubs, and they’ll do it faster than you would believe.

At the old place, we had tried repeatedly to raise BSF, but the lack of humidity had always made it very difficult. So, when we moved to the new place, we were delighted to find out that they were already present. We rigged up a small compost bin, and have been collecting BSF ever since.

 

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