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Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
#503169 03/15/19 05:28 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503171 03/15/19 07:56 PM
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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?

Last edited by Bill D.; 03/16/19 06:40 AM.

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You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503175 03/16/19 06:43 AM
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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.

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 03/16/19 06:49 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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503214 03/17/19 11:12 AM
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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?

Last edited by Bill D.; 03/17/19 01:35 PM.

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Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503225 03/17/19 06:53 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503250 03/18/19 11:07 AM
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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.

Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503263 03/18/19 04:45 PM
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[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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503265 03/18/19 05:00 PM
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[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.

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 03/18/19 05:31 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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503358 03/20/19 05:57 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503398 03/21/19 03:01 PM
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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]


Last edited by Mike Whatley; 03/21/19 03:12 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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503476 03/24/19 12:05 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503662 03/28/19 07:14 AM
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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.

Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503668 03/28/19 08:07 AM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503692 03/28/19 02:03 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503694 03/28/19 02:15 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to give us the write-up Mike! Keep it coming.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503702 03/28/19 04:01 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503774 03/30/19 05:15 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503777 03/30/19 05:36 PM
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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.

Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503779 03/30/19 06:10 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503780 03/30/19 07:32 PM
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I saw a news story recently and recalled your thread.

Sort-of-related.

https://youtu.be/kf8eLedxHvw


Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #503785 03/30/19 09:28 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504070 04/07/19 08:26 AM
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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]

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 04/07/19 08:43 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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504133 04/08/19 04:26 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504171 04/09/19 07:13 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504218 04/10/19 06:51 PM
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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).

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 04/10/19 06:57 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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