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Hey Jerry, good to hear from you again. I'm still working with mine. They don't seem to come in here until june/july - I'll check your map and see if that's normal. Talk to you later.


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With such mild weather, my bsf have been active all winter

Now just need to get the chicken coop setup up to complete the
Circle of life

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Glad to hear that you're still working with them Randy. If you ever need some advice please let me know.

Gallop, how long have you been working with BSF? Do you use them for bait?



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Hi GW-
Glad to see you back. I'll be interested to watch the future adventures of the BSF, I've referenced your blog many times in the past couple years.

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Thanks Yolk Sac. You know BSF are common in TN..... smile



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GW-I was going back through the thread and came upon your mention of being a BP distibutor-still doing that?

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Originally Posted By: Yolk Sac
GW-I was going back through the thread and came upon your mention of being a BP distibutor-still doing that?


Yes I am. Since that's the only item we sell it doesn't amount to much money, but it helps me rationalize the time I spend promoting BSF. smile



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Jerry, I couldn't find a record of anybody mapping BSF in AL. When should I expect them?
I'm 40 miles S of I-20, between Atlanta & Birmingham.


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Originally Posted By: rmedgar
Jerry, I couldn't find a record of anybody mapping BSF in AL. When should I expect them?
I'm 40 miles S of I-20, between Atlanta & Birmingham.


I would start looking in late April, but it might be later. I saw one on April 5th in the SW corner of Georgia. Of course it will happen sooner if it's a warm spring. You might want to get some stuff rotting early so you've got something to attract them.



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Ok. Do you still suggest corn?


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I haven't been actively working with BSF for a while so I left off with corn. I know others have had good results using it, the most important thing being that it's had long enough to ferment. That's what I like about using corn is that it doesn't get funky too quickly and therefore it doesn't seem to attract as many fruit flies and other undesirables.

Traditional compost is a great attractant, assuming a certain amount of table scraps are involved.

BSF seem to like the smell of fermenting food in general. If it's got a strong odor but isn't too offensive to humans that's a plus. smile



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GW
It's been about 2 years. I have been very impressed
With gsf, they really are very interesting critters

I would use them for bait, but pond still in planning phase

I plan to use them to supplement the chicken feed in
The spring. I have seen some "automatic" chicken feeders
With a gsf colony in a 5 gallon bucket over the chickens. When
Mature they climb out and the chx get a snack

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Gallop, I have an idea for an extremely low maintenance hanging feeder that you might want to experiment with. It's as simple a thing as I can imagine.

I'll describe it soon when I have a few extra moments.



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As I was harvesting some last year, I tossed about 50-100 in the area around my BP unit. Do you think these might over-winter and harvest? Also, I have my unit in a shaded area, is this good?


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Originally Posted By: rmedgar
As I was harvesting some last year, I tossed about 50-100 in the area around my BP unit. Do you think these might over-winter and harvest?

I think some will. The survival rate in nature for a BSF egg is very low. In a stable population I think around 1 in 300-400 would survive to reproduce. It's not easy being so tasty and nutritious. smile Survival rates for mature larvae (prepupae) would be much higher as a rule since those individuals have made it past the stages where they're easily discovered and eaten by predators.

I wouldn't worry too much about the fate of the larvae you released. I'm sure there are many others from the local population waiting to emerge this spring.

Originally Posted By: rmedgar
Also, I have my unit in a shaded area, is this good?

Shade vs. sun isn't the real issue, it's all about the temperature of the colony. I've recommended that folks in the north keep their units in the sun unless they run into overheating, especially in the NW because anything in the 80F/27C range is considered a heat wave!

To get the colony going in the spring I would try putting it in at least partial sun to get them moving sooner on cool mornings. Warming the unit will also increase the scent that will attract more female BSF for egg laying. I think it might be ideal if you could find a spot that got some sun in the spring and fall but was fully shaded in the summer.



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I've just published a new DIY black soldier fly composter design. It's partially experimental, but most of it has been tested already.



Details can be found here: LINK



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Hi all, just wanted to check in and give an update.

The composter I showed above is working well although I need to modify the harvest system plumbing. The ramps worked very well but the pipes clog up when there is heavy traffic. I've worked out a better system and will modify the unit soon.

I've also been testing a cast concrete composter that has a lot of promise. I've been feeding it heavily and it's been working well. I recently added a standing drain pipe similar to the storage tote composter above and I'm very happy with it. The thing weighs more than 170 pounds, but once it's in place I think the mass is helping keep it cool.



You can read more about it here: Experimental concrete composter

And here's my lab:



Last edited by GW; 06/09/13 06:03 PM.


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GW -- thanks for keeping this thread going.

I don't have statistics, but this thread has got to have one of the highest post counts, and must be one of the oldest continuous threads on the PB site.

I also believe many have benefited from this information, they just haven't posted.

I'm more into raising three different kinds of compost worms -- but, I still enjoy reading your posts.

Ken


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Thanks Ken! So many people find this thread when they start searching for black soldier fly information that I figured it would be a good thing to update it occasionally. I remember seeing it turn over 1 million views a month or two ago and it's already up to 1,104,000 today. It hard for me to imagine that many people finding it, although I'm sure not too many read the entire thread. smile

I drilled holes into the sides of the concrete unit to give the females a good place to lay their eggs. It worked very well!

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Hi Jerry, good to hear from you again. so far, I've only had a few small ones harvest this year, but it looks like things are about to pick up - I see a lot less flies, bugs and gnats. Hope all is well.


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I had this show up a year or two ago in my compost and I thought they were wasp. Now that I know what they are and would like to get them to come back I have not had any luck.

What would be the best way to try to get these started?

Should I try to source some larva somewhere or what would you recommend?

Thanks

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Originally Posted By: MRHELLO
What would be the best way to try to get these started?

Should I try to source some larva somewhere or what would you recommend?


Attracting BSF can take some time but I think it's better than buying them. Compost piles are great BSF attractors, especially if you process a lot of kitchen scraps.

I got most of my eggs to start this year from an established compost pile: LINK

Here's my post about the basics of attracting BSF: LINK



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Originally Posted By: rmedgar
Hi Jerry, good to hear from you again. so far, I've only had a few small ones harvest this year, but it looks like things are about to pick up - I see a lot less flies, bugs and gnats. Hope all is well.


I'm doing great Randy and I hope you are too.



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I just published a new DIY composter design that I think is easy and cheap to build. The same principles can be used on a larger container, although I would use two ramps in a larger unit.



You can find more information here: LINK



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Kind of looks like a fun house that anybody could enjoy. Someday I want to try one of these.

Do you have a set-up like this over a pond to feed the fish?

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