The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

A thriving black-soldier-fly colony

Black soldier fly bin

Black soldier fly laying eggsHow do you know when your black-soldier-fly bin is fully colonized?  Keep stuffing kitchen scraps in, and pay attention to how quickly the contents decline in size.  At first, it'll be a bit like a compost pile --- wilting and general decomposition will reduce your scraps' volume down a bit, allowing you to add more a week or so later.  Then, suddenly, your fly larvae get on the job and the voracious grubs eat the contents in mere days.

I'll be posting over on our chicken blog next week about what we're feeding our black soldier flies, and about our first trial of offering the pupae to our chickens.  But I thought you'd like to see a few photos of the bin in action in the meantime.

There are now hundreds of grubs of various sizes visible through the walls of the bin, a clear sign that
the few larvae I added out of the yard, plus the batch of eggs we purchased, aren't the only source of larvae.  Not that I'd need that information, since I caught a female black soldier fly in the act of laying her eggs on an onion skin.  No oBlack soldier fly larvaene seems interested in laying in the cardboard strips on the top of the bin, but the cycle of life is definitely working anyway.  I've also seen a lot of yellow soldier flies buzzing around, presumably adding their offspring to the festival.

I love it when experiments like this just work, with nearly no effort on our part.  Woohoo for a thriving black-soldier-fly bin!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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