FAQ: Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Illucens)

 

FAQ: Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Illucens)

  • Terminology
  • What is a black soldier fly?
  • What does it look like?
  • Where are they found?
  • What can they eat?
  • Are they safe to humans?
  • How long does a BSF live?
  • So what’s so good about them?
  • Do BSF’s carry diseases?
  • What is a BSF farm?

Terminology

BSF = Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Illucens)

BSFL = Black Soldier Fly Larvae

ABSF = Adult Black Soldier Fly

HF = House Fly (Musca domestica)

HFM = House Fly Maggots

GSF = Garden Soldier Fly (Exeraita Spinigera)

SF = Soldier Fly

Leachate = From Wiki: “Leachate is a widely used term in the Environmental sciences where it has the specific meaning of a liquid that has dissolved or entrained environmentally harmful substances which may then enter the environment. It is most commonly used in the context of land-filling of putrescible or industrial waste.”

What is a black soldier fly?

Hermetia illucens is a common fly of the Stratiomyidae family. The BSF has recently become a huge topic in the compost world because of its ability to convert food scraps into useful product in a super fast speed. It can compost food waste most worm farmers avoid giving their worms to compost like meats with ease.

What does it look like?

Similar in size and appearance to a wasp with no sting the black soldier fly is, as the name suggests, black in color.

An adult BSFAn adult BSF Adult Black Soldier Flies in farmAdult Black Soldier Flies in farm Adults Black Soldier Flies in farmAdults Black Soldier Flies in farm Soldier Fly adultSoldier Fly adult
Adult BSF in farmAdult BSF in farm Adult Farmed BSFAdult Farmed BSF See-through BSF, you can see right through herSee-through BSF, you can see right through her Adult BSF about to fly for the first timeAdult BSF about to fly for the first time
Adult BSF checking wings before flightAdult BSF checking wings before flight Friendly BSFFriendly BSF Wild black soldier flyWild black soldier fly Hatching BSF in a bucketHatching BSF in a bucket
 
 
about the pics:

Finally got an adult BSF to land on my hand for a close up shot.

This must be why they are called soldiers. A Pic from the inside of the BSF farm, multiple Black soldier fly adults, exciting days!

A Pic from the inside of the BSF farm, multiple Black soldier fly adults, exciting days!

Always good to see a Soldier Fly adult

just another adult black soldier fly

A Pic from the inside of the BSF farm, multiple Black soldier fly adults, exciting days!

See-through BSF. This one was on the way out so I’m guessing she is a mother that just laid its eggs

Adult BSF about to fly for the first time. Adult BSF hatching from their pupae in a bucket. These black soldier flies got no special treatment, they  were left in a closed bucket in the garage and stated pupating 2 weeks later.

Wing check! Adult BSF checking wings before flight. Adult BSF hatching from their pupae in a bucket. These black soldier flies got no special treatment, they  were left in a closed bucket in the garage and stated pupating 2 weeks later.

Black Soldier Flies harmless to children.

Wild Black Soldier Fly hanging about

Bucket of Black Soldier Fly pupae hatching into BSF adults. They need no extra care to hatch, just some warm weather will do it.

Where are they found

Currently the black soldier locations reside in zones 5 thru 9 They like it warm and if you live in cooler than 5 it’s still possible to raise them but with more precautions to maintaining a warm environment that simulates their own

What can they eat?

Actually BSF’s don’t eat but their larvae can and do eat all organic material. Examples of BSFL foods are: food waste/scraps, carrion (dead animals), manure. Its interesting to note that 1 meter square of BSFL eat about 15 kgs a day. It should be added that BSFL do not eat high cellulose items but they do break them down enough to make it much easier for worms to eat.

Are they safe to humans?

Black Soldier Flies generally stay away from humans. They don’t eat and no sting or venom, so really have no way of harming humans. As their entire adult life is all about mating and reproducing, they generally will not be seen at all by humans.

How long does a BSF live?

Adult BSF’s live for 5-8 days. In this time they must find a mate and lay eggs. The eggs take about 4 days to hatch, and then the larvae will take roughly 2 weeks before they are ready to pupate (become adults). When they are ready to pupate they will find a dry sheltered area to bury themselves in before taking roughly 2 weeks to emerge as adult BSF’s. This is all assuming that perfect conditions are present. The length of a Black Soldier Flies life before it becomes an adult depends on several factors including weather conditions and how much food is available.

So what’s so good about them?

BSF’s in their pre-pupae larval stage are super efficient in converting waste to nutrients. As mentioned earlier, one square meter of BSFL will eat 15 kg daily and convert this waste to nutrients (they are 45% protein) which can feed poultry, reptiles, swine, fish, etc.

Do BSF’s carry diseases?

Actually they do the opposite – when a BSF colony takes over a site, house flies/blow flies etc stay away. The process used by the BSFL to eat brings oxygen into the waste making it aerobic, meaning it wont smell bad (as long as you don’t overfeed them). Then after they have finished eating they will become adults and from here on in for the rest of their lives they never have to come in contact with any type of waste again since they don’t eat. Generally, adult males will sit on a leaf until they are found by a female who will, after mating, lay eggs near some organic waste.

What is a BSF farm?

A BSF Farm is a farm like any that successfully maintains continual Black Soldier Fly life cycles. A BSF life cycle is short lived. From eggs to larvae to pupae to fly can be as quick 4 weeks but the larvae can slow there growth to last up to 9 months. The adult BSF however is not so lucky, It has a max of 8 days to mate and lay eggs.

Harvest as ORGANIC Feed for Chicken and Fish food and bag the Monsanto GMO corn based dioxin Chicken feed poison that I wouldn’t feed to a rat!

 

 

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