Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Los Angeles, CA

I'd love to hear from someone who has successfully and totally eliminated BSFL from their worm bin.

I realize some people like these critters, but I do not.

Things I have tried:

Adding more newspaper and less food to the bin
making sure flies cant get in (they lay the eggs next to the vent holes now

Long Beach, CA

Hi there,
I just noticed you question has gone unanswered... I hate it when that happens!! bsfl need moister... your bin has too much water in it. The organic material in which the Soldier Fly breeds is always damp and usually in an advanced stage of decomposition. So the question is when was the last time you added new bedding to your bin? I might also recommend that you remove the top layer (gross I know) to get rid of the little guys, put lots of new bedding at the bottom, then line the top of the composter with a peat moss. It will dry out the top layer of the bin so any eggs will dry out as well. That is my 2 cents!

Roseburg, OR(Zone 9a)

I do my vermicomposting in a cat litter bucket (apartment sized vermicomposting. I froze all the stuff I was feeding them for 4 days before putting it in the bucket. The bucket has a screen top too small for the adults to get through (or the worms to squeeze through... hard to do). Nothing I have done has kept the bucket completely free of fruit flies, though.

Long Beach, CA

BearDrummer- many people say they freeze the food for a period of time. Will you explain why you freeze the food before feeding the worms?

Thanks. Rhapsody

Helena, MT

Rhapsody, thank you for keeping this forum moving., I don't have an answer to your question about freezing food before feeding it to the worms, but my guess would be: (1) It eliminates some of the critter problems which we are talking about here, and (2) it helps in the breakdown or decomosition of the food for easier worm consumption. I have never tried this method even though we have four freezers. Blending just seems a lot quicker and easier for my purposes.

Also, my method of vermicomposting has a half inch layer on top which is dry. Trench feeding does cut down on a lot of those little advantageous hosts which we may not care for, but eliminating them completely is a useless crusade. Some we just have to accept as part of the process.

I have not read up on this black fly thing we are discussing here, but that is on my list of subjects to research. The posting you made Rhapsody describes a black fly compost system, so I guess they can't be all that bad. If they really annoy you, you could purchase some of those yellow sticky pads. I had an onslaught of these tiny flies which looked like miniature house flies after an experiment with feeding my worms 'worm kashi'. I purchased a dozen of these sticky yellow pads, not cheap, and placed one in each bin, They were covered in a days time. I suspended the worm kashi experiment for another reason, and these flies just disappeared.

Long Beach, CA

mraider3- You are more then welcome. I am big on the "whys" of things. It helps me to make a informed decision when I have not a clue what to do (which at this point seems most of the time)LOL!

I just purchased some yellow sticky tape. I really hope that works. And thanks bunches for shedding some light on the freezing food before giving it to your worm thing. I had not realized that freezing food may help to break the food down! I think I like that! After all... I want my worms to eat and poop! They do not need a "worm workout" breaking down food when it is a easy as freezing it or blending it!!

Many Herbal Blessings

Thumbnail by Rhapsody616
Helena, MT

I did some research on the Black Solder Fly, and it is a fascinating insect. The larvae will break down all kinds of waste without much biomass remaining. The people composting with these critters are much like vermiculturists in inventive ways to house and harvest. The young white larvae do all the work, and the adult or pupae as well as the young larvae are harvested for fish or chicken feed. On an UTube video the author claimed the larvae are 40% protein and 60% fat. They are used in some under developed countries as a means of treating human waste and they are a big part in some hydroponic and they are used to in hatcheries in addition to or replace protein pellets. Some of the advocates claim they are second to bees in importance to the environment.

At the time I didn’t know what they were, but these BSF’s were the flies I was seeing in my bins when experimenting with the ‘worm kasha’, and after researching some on the subject I understand how they got there. The two 5-gallon buckets containing the worm kasha were moved outside after the wife condemned them from the garage. The adult BSF’s laid eggs in the blended food which was fermenting outside and when I fed some of the worm kashi to the worms, the eggs hatched and the larvae eventually turned into the flies which I was seeing by the hundreds.

According to one author I read the BSF’s will lay their eggs in the ground to over winter, so the worm bins were no different than their normal habitat. Typically these flies do not come indoors like house flies, so I was breeding them in my worm bins and a few would eventually be found inside the house. Some people actually raise BFS’s indoors during the winter months, but they have to build elaborate tents to contain the adults.

From what I have read or seen so far, the problem thetalkstops seems to be having with BFS ‘s may be due to exposure of the worm food prior to feeding, or possibly from not burying the food deep enough in the worm bin. I still notice a few adult flies around the bins in the summer, but I am not concerned about any problems after reading up on these fascinating creatures. I have a lot more reading to do, but I plan to do some experimenting with BFS’s when it warms up. I have some thoughts on a different way to harvest these from my worm kashi experiment, and anxious to give it a try.

Thanks thetalkstops for bringing this subject up.

Bozeman, MT

Hi thetalkstops - I don't think anyone completely eliminates squatters in their bins, but all of the following may help: freeze the scraps first, bury the food deep, and use the wand of your vacuum to suck the surface squatters off. I have also heard that you can take a fan or blow dryer and blow them away.

All of that said, I would LOVE to be able to compost w/ black soldier fly larvae!!! I contacted this guy for advice and he seemed to think it would be quite difficult to do here in Montana. But it's still on my list of "someday" projects. :-)

There are some cool BSFL videos on YouTube for anyone who is interested.

Greenfield, MA(Zone 5a)

as for the Black soldier fly larve last year I had an excellant batch only made one fatal mistake went to pick peaches look at all those on the ground why not feed to the larve
about half a bushel dissapeared in 48 hours 72 hours later revealed a total wipe out
what ever spray was used killed em all dead real dead
which brings me to this will post a want on the tradeer i read that worms raised in the larve compost do remarkably better cant find any for trade would it be proper to post a trade request for the BSFL

This message was edited Jul 10, 2012 9:02 PM

This message was edited Jul 11, 2012 9:54 AM

Greenfield, MA(Zone 5a)

took a quick glance
yes it has ooodles of information THANK YOU VERY MUCH
working on a project will give inside story for valued information you have definatly topped the list

Bremerton, WA(Zone 8b)

Going back a few posts, there' a couple of reasons to freeze the scraps before feeding to the worms; kills the fruitfly and other eggs/larvae, and freezing breaks down the scrap's cell walls making it easier for the worms to feed.
The BSF adults emerge,live for 3-7 days while mating and then die. Having no mouthparts, they cannot feed and therefore don't deficate. Also, they try to not land on the waste scraps, as they're very weak flyers and get stuck easily. They prefer to lay their egg clutches on a rough, dry surface NEAR the waste(easy travel for the emerging grubs).
Red worms LOVE the BSFL waste; BSFL cannot break down cellulose (corn husks, paper,etc), also,where you have BSFL you most likely won't see any house flys .

To reduce the fruit fly problem, layer some dry bedding (coir) over what you're feeding the worms.

With raising both of them, you'll never have to buy fertilizer or topsoil again.

Long Beach, CA

I can try the dry coir. The dried coffee grounds are working well for now. Thanks for the tip!


Grants Pass, OR(Zone 8a)

These fly's also like an acidic environment. The worms prefer closer to neutral ph. Adding moist (not wet) peat moss will help. I have often used ground oyster shell to raise the ph levels in my bins.

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