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Prompting a black-soldier-fly crawloff

Lots of black soldier flies

One of my favorite features of our black-soldier-fly bin is the clear plastic, which lets me see exactly what's going on inside.  While this might not be quite as cool as an observation hive (grimy grubs versus beautiful bees), the transparency does make it easy to notice how many larvae are working inside.  And, this week, the feature helped me realize that a bunch of black pupae were congregating in the bottom of the bin.

Escaping pupaeThe instructions tell you to flood the bin with water once a week to prevent this exact problem...but I forgot.  Luckily, it wasn't too late to harvest all of those yummy pupae.  A couple of hours after flooding, I dropped by the bin and saw that there were pupae filling the ant moat (which I'd luckily forgotten to fill with water as well) since they'd all tried to crawl out so quickly that there was a traffic jam in the entrance ramp to the collection bin.

Mark helped me collect all of the escaped pupae, and we ended up with about three pints worth!  In fact, based on how much the contents of the bin dropped in height after the crawl-off, I suspect we might have lost another pint of pupae before I noticed the great escape.  Luckily, "lost" pupae will just turn into lots of adults to repopulate the bin, so it's all good.

The moral of the story?  If you don't keep a close eye on your bin and need to do an emergency flooding, stand by to prevent escapes!

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