Black soldier fly 101
I became intrigued by black
soldier flies a year ago, but quickly
realized that we didn't have enough food scraps to grow these hungry
larvae. Now that we've tapped
into the community's waste, it's time to
revisit black soldier flies. In the rest of this lunchtime
I'll explain why we think black soldier flies are worth adding to our
farm and how we plan to go about it, so today I just want to talk a bit
about the flies themselves.
are black soldier flies?
is a small, black fly that spends most of its life in the larval
stage. Black soldier fly larvae eat any kind of decaying organic
matter, including food scraps, human and livestock waste, and more.
Black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) are tiny and they don't
bother anyone, so until people started harnessing them as composters,
we didn't pay much attention to them. This map, from Bugguide.net,
is "based on images submitted and identified by contributors. Range and
date information may be incomplete, overinclusive, or just plain
wrong." Experts on the internet report that black soldier flies
live in zone 7 and warmer, but we have them here in zone 6 and the map
suggests they might even dip into zone 5. You can see adults from
April to December in the Deep South, and from about June to September
do we care about black soldier flies?
Black soldier flies have
the potential to quickly compost all kinds of organic waste, from swine
excrement in huge factory farms to food scraps from apartment-dwellers
with no room for a compost pile. As you'll see tomorrow, the
larvae are high quality livestock feed.
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