Insect Farming #1: Black Soldier Flies

Okay, I will not boast about the black soldier fly bin that I built today until I actually witness it functioning properly, but I am quite proud that: 1) It cost me under ten dollars to build. However, there were a couple of hours (or maybe more) of scavenging for materials to account for the low dollar cost. There may also have been a hibernating big brown bat living in the bin pictured below less than 24 hours before the BSF larvae moved in...but that's a different story.

2) This is the second DIY compost system that I built by myself...and the first one was simply dancing around with a drill making aeration holes in five gallon buckets, so this one felt a little more satisfying because it used materials like:

BSF Materials

 

I used the design from this paper (page 7-8), and I followed it quite closely, so if you are interested in this simple design--check it out!

So, I gathered my materials, and got to work!

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In the last picture, the larvae are being welcomed into their new home. You may be wondering, why am I farming black soldier flies? Well...

1) I was intrigued by BSF during my internship at Growing Power, but was too busy with worms, goats, chickens, and vegetables to really process how remarkable they truly were. When I got back to school, I wrote a paper on black soldier flies and got really excited about them---my professor, Louise, got really excited about them...and now we are hoping to shed some light on their use in compost systems in future Animal Science courses.

2) These little buggers are packed with protein and make a great feed for chickens! You can fish with them too!

3) Two words: Waste management!

I would love to go more in-depth with these ideas, but I'll save that for a different day.

Will it be successful?

Give me two weeks and I will let you know! I have some concerns, such as the temperature being too low and finding a proper environment for the bin (ideally by the chickens, but right now it may simply be too cold there). This bin would certainly not survive a Vermont winter without help.

My interest in black soldier flies will continue on into the rest of my studies at Sterling College as I am currently integrating them into my senior project, woohoo!