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#503169 - 03/15/19 07:28 PM Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I finally decided to try my hand at a BSFL generator. My DIY project consists of 3 totes. 1 large as a main container, with 2 smaller totes inside to feed and capture the puppa as they mature. Got it all put together, positioned and loaded with household scraps in about 30 minutes. Then I placed an order for live maggots from a source in College Station, TX. The whole out of pocket was $60. Hopefully, I'll be producing puppa in about two weeks and will start supplemental feeding.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503171 - 03/15/19 09:56 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5882
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Mike,

I'm no entomologist so help me out here with an explanation on how this works. If you collect all the puppa and throw them to the fish, where does the brood stock come from? Do you somehow let some mature to adulthood to reproduce and continue the cycle?


Edited by Bill D. (03/16/19 08:40 AM)
_________________________

You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!

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#503175 - 03/16/19 08:43 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Yes. The initial stocking of maggots will produce a smell that attracts the adult fly as they feed and grow. The adult enters the generator and lays her eggs in a plate of corrugated plastic sign material that hangs above the feeding area. As the eggs hatch, the maggots fall into the feed and continue the cycle. As they mature to puppa, they crawl out of the feed, up a ramp and fall into a container to be gathered. One female fly will lay hundreds of eggs before she dies. I'm merely giving them a place to do that, then collectng the puppa.

Black soldier flies are everywhere naturally. We seldom notice them because they dont act like your common house fly or blow fly. They look like a wasp, but have no stinger or mouth. Their only purpose is to lay eggs as adults.

They're use as chicken and pet feed is growing exponentially every year. And you are reducing your household carbon footprint simultaneously by not sending your scraps to a landfill or composting because it is being eaten and converted into protein.


Edited by Mike Whatley (03/16/19 08:49 AM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503214 - 03/17/19 01:12 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5882
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Ok. So the strategy is your "generator" relies on native Black Soldier Flies in your area to be attracted to the "seed" maggots in your setup and then used as brood stock. Correct? What keeps other insects like house flies, etc. from being attracted and using the same setup?


Edited by Bill D. (03/17/19 03:35 PM)
_________________________

You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!

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#503225 - 03/17/19 08:53 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
The other flies will show up initially, but the BSFL are voracious and will eat any other maggots that get in their way. They eventually overpower anything else. Once they've become established, the smell changes and doesn't attract the other flies.

That's my understanding from what I've researched thru reading and videos.

I checked the box this morning but so far nothing appears to have found the food. Cooler temps I imagine, but I've got 10,000 larva (maggots) coming. Should be here around Wednesday or so.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503250 - 03/18/19 01:07 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2069
Loc: West Michigan
Great news on the incoming larva! When you have time please post pictures and more posts about your success. I'm hoping you can get me and others going on this.

I too was wondering how you keep the adults around or how new adults come, but it makes senses that you have to have them naturally in your environment and they find their own way to the generator. I'd like to try this once weather warms up.

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#503263 - 03/18/19 06:45 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/MAPQ7DZJvmAcsu9Q6[/img]

The attached is a screen shot from a page of text I actually found from a book on Amazon.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503265 - 03/18/19 07:00 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/195eHYMarC9vtpS69[/img]
This is the generator [img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/MUb8u7vJozfr1UZe7[/img]
You can see I've drilled holes around the top edge to allow access to the adult flies, but I've since also removed the yellow lid completely. Small locators on top of the container provide additional spacing under the plywood for access as well as temperature control (they generate a lot of heat when their feeding)
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/ouRpJLZBxtA5VmAaA[/img]
Inside are two additional containers. Small holes have been drilled into the very lower edge of the larger tote, as well as the bottom of the main container to allow additional waste fluids to drain. Loaded with food scraps, but you can use anything organic....even your pet's poop.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/TutWFmMVgKV7GiFy9[/img]
The stacked cards are where the adults should lay their eggs, up to 500 per individual female. As the eggs hatch, the larva (maggots) fall directly into the feed area. As the larva pupate, their natural instinct is to crawl out of the feed, as their mouths have now become a claw of sorts that assist it in climbing up the container until it falls into the collection bin at the other end.

Other reports indicate that protein/fat/calcium/phosphorous levels are directly linked to what you're feeding the larvae, so I need to research which food stuffs will give me the best combination of each, but your average scraps can produce pupae with >40% protein, 30% fat, and the remainder in Ca with a small level of P.

The P level may require adding something to the feed to boost its level of concentration.


Edited by Mike Whatley (03/18/19 07:31 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503358 - 03/20/19 07:57 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
The mail man left me a notice that my BSFL will be available for pickup tomorrow! Apparently, the container won't fit in my mailbox. Should have more pictures tomorrow.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503398 - 03/21/19 05:01 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Pick up the larvae from the post office after work. I've attached a few pics.
1st is the container. You cant see any larvae, but you get an idea of how this company ships.
2nd is after they've been dumped into the generator. 1000s of the little buggers. All those little white rice grain things.
After stocking the gen, I walked the pond and happened upon a brown water snake, no big deal, but it was trying to eat one of my bullfrogs....ain't happening. Introduced it to my .22 LR snake shot. Saved the frog and added more feed to the BSFL. That's picture #3. If you look close, you'll notice that all the larvae have already worked their way down into the food.

Should start collecting puppa in 7-10 days.

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/3ecz5LVm9axnvtqKA[/img]

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/SmZqBeJ7NqbNBLL8A[/img]

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/DSUuPQxQAH4nkZAs7[/img]



Edited by Mike Whatley (03/21/19 05:12 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503476 - 03/24/19 02:05 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I took some table scraps down to the generator to reload and check on the shape of these larvae. Man, these dudes are some serious eaters. They've already tripled in size from last Thursday. That snake is nearly completely gone now.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503662 - 03/28/19 09:14 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2069
Loc: West Michigan
Post pictures when you have time of the larva crawling out and falling out?

And explain again, the new adult flies come from outside to complete the cycle of life. Do you see new flies flying in yet and laying more eggs?

I'm waiting for air temps to warm up and I'm eager to do the same.

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#503668 - 03/28/19 10:07 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I check the box every other day or so, give the feed a little stir and just see how their growing.

So far, I haven't seen any sign of adult activity, but the larvae are really growing and very active. It typically takes 7-10 days for them to start pupating. That's when they'll start making their move out of the feed. With the cool nights we've had, I am expecting to see that transition start by the weekend and I will definitely provide some pics.

So far, the only other fly activity I've seen are some kind of really tiny fly, but not a lot of those. Hopefully the adults will start finding the chamber soon and start replenishing the larvae. Once they lay their eggs, its 4 days for them to hatch. It's only going to get warmer, so that should happen soon.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503692 - 03/28/19 04:03 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I didnt catch any actually climbing the ramp, but these are the first three volunteers to become fish food.

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/QN6gjVLMXgp7KJhg6[/img]

I did rake back some of the top of the feed to see how the group looked. You can see how much they've grown in just a week's time.

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/NgFSchhipfE7Tgw78[/img]

I collected those first three and tossed them in the pond, where they were instantly inhaled. I'm thinking I may drop some under the box on the ground and let then mature into adult flies to boost the natural cycle. So far, only one small patch of eggs were detected. But its early yet.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503694 - 03/28/19 04:15 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1521
Loc: West Central Missouri
Thanks for taking the time to give us the write-up Mike! Keep it coming.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#503702 - 03/28/19 06:01 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I dont think the three that crawled out were really quite ready, QA. The pupae are generally grayish to dark brown and have a harder exoskeleton than these did. Regardless, they became a treat for three lucky fish.

I'll keep posting as long as there's interest.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503774 - 03/30/19 07:15 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Just a quick update...

After 10 days in the chamber, the larvae have grown to nearly an inch now. Their exoskeletons are developing and I expect to see full on migration starting soon.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/4popP2zyD4meYZo87[/img]
I have discovered a small flaw in my design. The drain holes I drilled in the bottom of the feed tray are too big and a few found their way into the bottom of the chamber. I'll need to add some screen in the bottom.

Even with carian, dog poop, and rotting food scraps, the smell is very tolerable. You can actually hear them chewing on this corn cob...
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/cp8FLvEN52oa9fN68[/img]

Still havent seen any adult activity, so I'm thinking the first 100 puppae or so will get released to the ground to finish their transition to adults in the immediate vicinity of the chamber. After about two weeks they'll emerge as flies, ready to lay eggs about two days later. The smell of the feed should attract them inside and restart the cycle.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503777 - 03/30/19 07:36 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 337
Loc: Texas
Mike,

I've been following your thread with interest. The protein and fat in the dried larva exceeds typical high protein feeds by a good margin. I grew some of them once by accident composting some alfalfa pellets.

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#503779 - 03/30/19 08:10 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Hey Jp

Alfalfa brand is actually considered one of the best feeds you can use. I'm just trying to forego the additional cost of feed when our daily refuse can easily do the trick. I can accumulate enough in a couple days to keep them going. And it has made me start eating better in the process. Strange, huh.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503780 - 03/30/19 09:32 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Tbar Offline


Registered: 01/10/15
Posts: 736
Loc: Texas
I saw a news story recently and recalled your thread.

Sort-of-related.

https://youtu.be/kf8eLedxHvw
_________________________

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#503785 - 03/30/19 11:28 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
There's more and more stuff coming out on the industry all the time. The US is way behind on developing it, as always, but BSF utilization has been in use in 3rd world countries for waste management for some time now. Then it progressed into fish farming as a way to reduce cost in those countries. The main focus here has been directed at chickens and some pet feed so far, but its starting to get more attention.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#504070 - 04/07/19 10:26 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
This morning I was doing a little tube jigging under a slip float and caught another dang crappie, about 6" long. Cant ever seem to catch but one every now and then, and one isnt enough to take time to clean, so I decided to see how long it'll take for my larvae to do their thing on it. It was quickly dispatched and tossed into the generator.

I am really curious as to how long and how much of it they'll consume. Should be an interesting test.

Still no migration effort and no sign of egg laying, but I think it's still a bit cool. This has been the warmest our nights have been so far and very humid and damp. Shouldn't be long now.

Edit:
Took a peek after an hour. They've gotten right to work...

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/p2p3j9Fya8y6R7yU8[/img]

Also found the first migrant pupae. Notice how dark it's become. It's exoskeleton has also become more firm.

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/wADmSAR6zf9eNDV48[/img]


Edited by Mike Whatley (04/07/19 10:43 AM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#504133 - 04/08/19 06:26 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
30 hours later...nothing but a few bones left. Gonna leave them in the fras to see if they eat those too.

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/sw6U6nsKR1r1hhPh8[/img]
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#504171 - 04/09/19 09:13 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Collected about a dozen pupae from the harvesting bin today. Didnt have my phone so no pics. I tossed these into the leaves around the generator so they can dig into the dirt and become adult flies in a few days and hopefully lay a few thousand eggs for me.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#504218 - 04/10/19 08:51 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
The exodus has begun!! A couple of pics for y'all today.

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/sB1AKhhuXsBxfdYL8[/img]

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/MhAFap4jnXBKj3yp9[/img]


Areas of note...
1. Found a clump of what I think are fly eggs in the card stock above the feed. If so, then another 400-600 larvae will be automatically reloaded in about 4 days. There were no eggs yesterday.

2. The collection container is totally dry. The pupae are easily collected at this point and I'll give the fish a treat tomorrow. If you zoom in and look close, the pointed end of the worm is the head. The mouth has now been replaced with a claw to assist it in climbing out. (Totally harmless).


Edited by Mike Whatley (04/10/19 08:57 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#504440 - 04/16/19 08:35 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Played half hookie from work today and spent the rest of the day prettying up the yard and pond. Since I did such a fine job, I decided to treat myself to a cold adult beverage and grabbed the pole. The aeration was running and I was wanting to see if it had any affect on the bite.

I was struggling...nothing wanted to cooperate with the tube jig I was using, so it was time to try out my new bait...black soldier fly larva.

When I opened the box, to my surprise, I was greeted by several adult flies, and they were very intent on being there, even with me emptying the collection bin.

So back to the pond, where I tipped the jig with a larva and made a cast. Almost instantly the float disappeared. Nothing to brag about size wise, but I didnt skunk.

Long story short, the next 30 minutes was one fish after another. Many times the float would stand up and go straight out of sight. Added a few female BG to the holding pen for cleaning in the very near future and caught several really nice bulls, which were politely returned to the pond. Had two come unbuttoned that I sure would like to see, they were brutes, whatever they were.

They absolutely loved the larva, even on a bare jig head. Kind of hard to get a hook in them, because their exoskeleton is pretty tough, but you can catch a couple of fish on one larva.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#504448 - 04/17/19 04:45 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 14030
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Congrats Mike. Great to hear when a plan comes together.
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#504453 - 04/17/19 06:48 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5882
Loc: Boone County Illinois
+1 !!
_________________________

You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!

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#504455 - 04/17/19 08:07 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
To be honest, up until yesterday, I've been a bit disappointed. I collect a couple hundred from the generator every afternoon and have been hand throwing them around the pond, with very little reaction from the fish wanting to surface feed on them. Apparently, they're waiting for them to sink, which takes a while, but they've definitely taken a liking to them.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#504923 - 04/26/19 04:27 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
A brief update...

Went out to collect some pupae and add some scraps to the generator today. Collected about 300 worms. As I was giving the fras a little stir I found several new larvae, less than 1/4" long, so the adults have definitely been doing their due diligence. Now it should be a perpetual generator, producing an endless supply of fresh high protein/fat feed. May have to look into building a small solar oven to dry them for preserving.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#504933 - 04/26/19 10:14 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2069
Loc: West Michigan
That's awesome! post pictures again if you have time.
How often do you have to resupply the food?

Now you could sell some brood stock to others? Would it make sense to sell the mature worms or the tiny larvae?

I want to start so would need a starter supply. I can't do it outside yet since we are supposed to get some freak snow at the end of April in MI (a couple of inches, but hopefully will melt by Monday)

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#504941 - 04/27/19 10:03 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Hey CC. I'm only resupplying the food stock every few days. I definitely accumulate more scraps than I need. Temps regulate how fast they consume it. Some they devour quickly, other stuff they take their time on. I've put in whole snakes and fish that were completely consumed in hours...amazing.

I'm not collecting enough to try to sell,and really dont want to get into all that, but I may make a few gift donations to a few of my friends who raise laying hens, until I get my own anyway.

There are places that are already set up to sell and have much larger operations and can deliver within days of ordering. I may have sent you a PM with the supplier I used in College Station,TX. If not let me know if you want it, or just Google for them. You can also use Phoenix worms as a search.

I can say that when feeding them to fish, you dont see the heavy surface feeding you get with pellets. I was concerned they weren't eating them at all and I might be wasting my time. But I cleaned 25 last Friday and almost every one of them had worms in their stomachs and were really fat. I just started throwing pellets again this week, so it wasnt from that. Because of their size, only larger fish can eat them, but they float forever, it seems like. My next experiment will be drying them out so they can be either ground into meal or just broken up into smaller pieces. You dont lose any protein or fat when dried, so they'll be more accessible to smaller fish.

I'm researching building a solar oven because I really doubt the wife will let me use the house stove!!

Edit; the pic is what I collected today after 24 hours. Some days it's less, some days it's more. As the days heat up, I expect this quantity will be a minimum collection for my setup.

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/SUCgKiUZQ4oaEq7AA[/img]


Edited by Mike Whatley (04/27/19 08:03 PM)
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#506493 - 05/25/19 04:56 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 1002
Loc: in the mountains
Very cool project!!

It would be really efficient to somehow build it over the water where they just fall in the pond when they crawl out!!
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#506495 - 05/25/19 05:22 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I have considered doing that, but I'd have to build some kind of shading to keep the box from getting too hot. As it is, I have the box under a big shade tree out away from the house (wife's stern suggestion). I also have plans to get a few laying hens and intend to use the worms to supplement feeding them as well. I've seen video where the operator had a joint of PVC pipe running from the collection bin out over the water and it seemed to work well. I'm currently collecting about a half pound ever couple of days and saw a whole flock of adult flies near the generator today.

Now I'm experimenting with drying methods to preserve them longer.
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#506496 - 05/25/19 05:28 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 1002
Loc: in the mountains
Wow!! Half a pound every couple days is a LOT more than I was imagining this would produce! That is pretty crazy.
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#506498 - 05/25/19 08:29 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I've never actually weighed them out, so that's just an estimate. It fluctuates up and down depending on how much food I give them. The cool thing is if they dont get fed, they just hang out waiting and can go for days without eating. Their metabolism just goes into park and waits. I put in a whole bunch of old leaf lettuce yesterday and it was all gone this morning. They ate good today...overripe banana and approx. 100 2" fish. It'll all be gone tomorrow too, bones and all.


Edited by Mike Whatley (05/25/19 08:33 PM)
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#507100 - 06/09/19 07:57 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Cody Sandhoff Offline


Registered: 05/16/19
Posts: 28
Loc: Texas
How long does it take to start getting quality results?

Also, do you worry about ants getting into the bins? How many did you let run into adults?

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#507104 - 06/09/19 09:16 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: wbuffetjr]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 587
Loc: NW Kansas
Originally Posted By: wbuffetjr
Very cool project!!

It would be really efficient to somehow build it over the water where they just fall in the pond when they crawl out!!

I've built several of these. 2X6 frame with 1/4" wire mesh stapled to bottom 2X6, build a second box the same way with wire mesh on top, hinge the 2 and you have a "bone box".
4 legs on 2 floats. Works real well to throw road kill, rabbits I shoot, culled fish, etc.. Maggots fall through wire, it's a panfish feeding machine!
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#507125 - 06/10/19 05:35 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I initially threw a handful of pupated larva in the bushes beside the box to let them mature. You dont need to tho. Black Soldier Flies are naturally occurring and are everywhere. The adult female is naturally attracted to the smell. The warmer it gets the faster they mature. Never had an issue with ants....I think they'd just end up as food if they ventured into the box. These maggots are serious when it comes to eating. You can hear them chewing. That's why you wont have an issue with house fly maggots. The BSFL will eat them too.

Output is completely controlled by you and how much food you throw in the box. As long as they have food they continue to mature and crawl out. As soon as they've consumed everything they seem to go into a holding pattern and output stops....until you feed them again. I've collected a quart ziplock bag full in a couple of days.

Now I'm drying them out to keep them longer and give to friends with chickens. One thing I've noticed is you dont see panfish feed on them like you do pellets, but they do feed on them. Stomach contents of 25 BG all included larva and the fish were all very fat. That was before I started throwing pellets. Now I crush the dried larva and throw in the pellet mix so the smaller fish can feed better.


Edited by Mike Whatley (06/10/19 05:41 AM)
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#507533 - 06/16/19 09:16 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I spent $10 on a personal blender and after letting a batch dry for a few days, this evening I converted the dry puppa into meal and tossed it in the pond. After a few minutes a swarm of 1-2" fry were having a field day. Larger fish occassionally coming up to take the bigger pieces.
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#507545 - 06/16/19 11:46 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Cody Sandhoff Offline


Registered: 05/16/19
Posts: 28
Loc: Texas
Any idea how long they can live without food? Our pond is an hour and a half away. I try to make it out at least once every 10-14 days. My parents live there so I could probably get some scraps added from time to time by them.

I have a few restaurant clients that I could probably get as much food trash as I wanted, but not sure if I want to do that or not. Thought about hitting g up a local store and trying to get some rotten fruit that they are tossing.

I read today that they could eat up to 11 pounds a day???

Is it possible to overload? Also, do you have a drain in yours?

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#507548 - 06/17/19 12:24 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 587
Loc: NW Kansas
Mike, How big of bone material do these larva consume??
Very different than house fly larva I'm assuming?
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#507557 - 06/17/19 05:52 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I did a mild cleaning of the fras yesterday. Pulling out potato peels and anything else that had been there a while. I only found one chicken bone in all of it, but I dont usually throw big bones to them. All the skeletal remains of fish and snakes was completely consumed.

I'm not real sure how long they can go without feeding but that is also dictated by temps. They will winter without feed as long as they dont freeze. I've gone as long as four days without throwing anything to them and they did fine. Their metabolism just seems to slow way down and production of puppa stops.

We cleaned out the fridge yesterday so they got a big load of scraps that should last a few days. The amount they eat is relative to temp and just how big your feeding container is. I drilled very small holes in the bottom of the feed tray as well as the main box, but to be honest, theres very little moisture to leak out. The maggots keep a lot of it. I was really surprised how oily the meal is, even after drying in the hot solar oven for several days.
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#507988 - 06/23/19 06:56 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Update...looks like I'm going to have to make some adjustments to the feeding tray. The larval population has grown so that they've begun piling up in the lower corners and climb up the back, instead of into the collection tray. No major deal. I just have empty out the main cabinet and dump them into the collection tray. A good haul today. They half filled a deep aluminum roasting pan (1014x5). In a couple of days they'll be ready to bag up or grind into meal.
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#507994 - 06/23/19 08:47 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Joey Quarry Online   content


Registered: 11/04/17
Posts: 151
Loc: Wisconsin
Awesome thread, Mike. I saw this type of setup on Youtube and I like how simple, cheap and clean it appears. BSFL would make great protein for chickens and I would not have to use a supplemental soy by product. Any insight into this setup?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUomUZrHsFM
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#508011 - 06/24/19 06:04 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I've watched this build before, Joe. Definitely a good way to repurpose some used material into something. If you enjoy building things and have the time, it's a good way to go.

I probably have a bit more cost involved with mine (but not much) and the time involved to put it together was all of about 30 minutes.

I'll be making some adjustments to mine soon to add some top ledges to the feed tray so the larva are better contained and not able to climb out the back end like they've been doing lately. Being made from plastic storage bins, theres no degradation so itll last forever. I did replace the plastic lid with an oversized piece of pressure treated plywood.

I've given several batches of dried larva to friends with chickens and the birds absolutely love them.
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#508027 - 06/24/19 10:43 AM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
roundy Offline


Registered: 09/10/16
Posts: 218
Loc: Beardstown, Illinois
It would be awesome to repurpose roadkill for one of these. I don't think that would be very family friendly though. You would have to get it fresh so to speak and scale things to handle the larger volume.
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#508043 - 06/24/19 12:27 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Road kill, fat trimmings, your local grocery's expired produce, your gardens refuse...it all works and they will go thru it very quickly. Unless it's just absolutely putrid and rank I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a dead rabbit or squirrel, but there are so many options for feed, even dog poop. I walk around my yard with the poop scoop with purpose now. Rather than throw away my trappings when I'm thinning my BG, they get fed to the "bugs" as my wife calls them.

My setup is relatively small and I have literally 1000s of larva in at least 4 stages of development. From 1" to the size of grain of rice, and I dont feed every day.


Edited by Mike Whatley (06/24/19 12:30 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#508048 - 06/24/19 02:21 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2069
Loc: West Michigan
If you have time, post more pictures, also of your design change, that will help all of us!

if you sent 'starter' packs of these critters to other PB users would you have to send the flies, or the large grubs or what and how many does it take to 'start'?

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#508065 - 06/24/19 04:26 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
I bought my starters from an outfit in Texas. I posted the cost earlier in this thread.

I really dont have an efficient way of sorting them into sizes and they're already set up to to make shipments. You dont need adults as you already have them. They are everywhere naturally.

You can actually get started without starter maggots, as the adults will be attracted to the smell. There would be a stronger smell initially since the food stuff would be able to rot more before getting consumed, but if you fill the feed tray with vegetable/fruit mass (lettuce, tomatoes, bananas etc) the smell wouldnt be near as robust as if you used meat. You can put something like peat in the bottom, take a box of oatmeal and wet it down and use that too.

It would just take a bit for the adults to find it and the eggs to hatch, but it will eventually come to life on its own.

I'll be posting pics in a bit.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#508068 - 06/24/19 05:08 PM Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Pics of the generator

The main container and lid
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/epSMjhYLvvknfL9S7[/img]

The feed tray and collection bin
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/5oSyEVxq8i1LiLeD7[/img]

The feed tray rests inside a cutout in the collection bin.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/5wsstGazfFLWKxYy8[/img]
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/uVyFibXWpwJPvVoP9[/img]

I'm going to use this corrugated plastic sign material, cut into about 1.5" strips to build a ledge around the lower end of the feed tray to keep them from crawling out the lower end. I also use it as an egg laying substrate for the adults. They like to lay their eggs in crannies.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/b77qiy9WDnQpM9k28[/img]

Using Gorilla tape to secure the ledges in place. The new ledge overhangs the inside of the feed tray by about an inch. The puppa shouldn't be able to make it over the edge now.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/uhxUmyok66nqr6uA8[/img]

We got 1.5" of rain today. The interior remains completely dry. While doing this, three adult females were impatiently waiting for me to finish so they could do their duty.

Just a few soldiers I stirred up.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/ufbVrF99mwdgKEtj9[/img]

A batch of soldier meal ready to feed the fish. I included this with a cup of Aquamax feed. As soon as the pellets were gone, those 1-3" fry were sipping the surface like goldfish eating flakes.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/pefDay4azkXm6Zgx7[/img]



Edited by Mike Whatley (06/24/19 05:37 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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