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Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504440 04/16/19 06:35 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504448 04/17/19 02:45 AM
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Congrats Mike. Great to hear when a plan comes together.


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Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504453 04/17/19 04:48 AM
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+1 !!


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Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504455 04/17/19 06:07 AM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504923 04/26/19 02:27 PM
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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!!
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504933 04/26/19 08:14 PM
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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)

Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #504941 04/27/19 08:03 AM
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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]

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 04/27/19 06:03 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 #506493 05/25/19 02:56 PM
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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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Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #506495 05/25/19 03:22 PM
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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.


.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 #506496 05/25/19 03:28 PM
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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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Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #506498 05/25/19 06:29 PM
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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.

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 05/25/19 06:33 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 #507100 06/09/19 05:57 PM
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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?

Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
wbuffetjr #507104 06/09/19 07:16 PM
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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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Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #507125 06/10/19 03:35 AM
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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.

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 06/10/19 03:41 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 #507533 06/16/19 07:16 PM
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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.


.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 #507545 06/16/19 09:46 PM
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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?

Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #507548 06/16/19 10:24 PM
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Mike, How big of bone material do these larva consume??
Very different than house fly larva I'm assuming?


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Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #507557 06/17/19 03:52 AM
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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.


.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 #507988 06/23/19 04:56 PM
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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.


.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 #507994 06/23/19 06:47 PM
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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


2.5 acres, 87' Deep, Previously a Quarry
Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #508011 06/24/19 04:04 AM
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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.


.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 #508027 06/24/19 08:43 AM
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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.

Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #508043 06/24/19 10:27 AM
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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.

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 06/24/19 10:30 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 #508048 06/24/19 12:21 PM
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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'?

Re: Raising Black Soldier Fly Larva
Mike Whatley #508065 06/24/19 02:26 PM
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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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