Black soldier flies in the composting toilet
I finished cleaning out the 2014 humanure this week. In the process, the metal that was covering one side of the 2015 bin fell away and revealed this:
The finding was even more thrilling than this morning's excitement --- watching heat rise off my biggest compost pile. (Yes, I do get quite a kick out of the simple things in life.) Can you tell what's going on?
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If you guessed that black-soldier-fly larvae
moved into our composting toilet, you were right! We'd had hints of
this invasion earlier in the year, but this was the final confirmation
of the symbiosis.
had we seen earlier? First, Mark noticed that if he shone a light down
the hole at night, the excrement writhed with the motion of little
grubs. (I can't think why he never took a picture....) Second, I kept
putting off changing over to a new hole because the 2015 humanure bin
never seemed to fill up. Either we weren't using the bathroom as much as
we did in previous years (unlikely), or something was digesting our
waste as fast as we dropped it down the hole.
I suspect the new addition to our composting-toilet ecosystem began when we bought black-soldier-fly eggs to seed our compost bin
in 2014. The insects built up quite a population over the course of the
summer and fall, but I wasn't able to get the flies to recolonize the
bin this year. (Admittedly, I didn't try very hard.) Looks like they
found a place they liked even better.
If you want to read more about how to incorporate composting toilets and
black soldier flies into your homestead, you can check out The Ultimate Guide to Soil.
Preorder now and the book will show up on your doorstep right around
black-soldier-fly time in 2016. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed
experimenting and writing it!