For those that do not know my background with the BSF and how I actually began working with it, my story has some interesting pivots as I progressed through graduate school. My initial work (mentioned previously I believe) was with forensic entomology at Clemson University (where I did my MS with Peter Adler- love the hair in your photo, Peter!). I then spent two years at the University of Hawaii working with Lee Goff. After those two years, I moved back to Georgia and teamed up with Dr. Sheppard.
From the beginning, he was convinced the BSF could be used to recycle waste and produce protein, and of course, I agreed with him. But what I learned from the literature was that Dr. Sheppard, and now me, was climbing a steep mountain of disbelief from many of our colleagues in medical-veterinary entomology (livestock entomology). This insect has historically been viewed as a pest species in livestock facilities- specifically, layer facilities (poultry facilities where eggs are collected).
BSF larval densities would be so great the manure would "spill" from the collection basins, which was seen as a problem. Of course, what we know now is this "spilling" was actually do to larvae dispersing from the manure to pupate. Dr. Sheppard went on to develop a system to self-harvest these prepupae and we see his design used by many still today.
I would like to point out that it is important to understand all aspects of a system- good and bad. What I mean is it is good to understand why livestock entomologists for decades viewed the BSF as a pest. Only through these discussions can common ground be found and solutions determined resulting in opportunities for everyone involved. Today- we celebrate the BSF and its use as a model for sustainable waste management and protein production.
So, keep this in mind- no everyone will agree with you. Some will think it is cool, but a fad. Others will simply find it disgusting. My advise- stay focused, professional, engaged, and try to educate. For every five that do not agree, one will... and who knows, that one might be the next start-up that successfully grows BSF for waste management and protein production.
Here is an article you might enjoy reading.... pay attention to other pests discussed (e.g., house fly, darkling beetles) as they are on the same path the BSF community has been navigating for a long time. We know appreciate these species for the same reasons as BSF.
Axtell, R. C., and J. J. Arends. 1990. Ecology and management of arthropod pests of poultry. Annual Review of Entomology 35: 101-126.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Supporter of BSF
Individuals with over 25 years research experience with the black soldier fly. We are passionate about the science behind the black soldier fly and its ability to convert waste to protein.
Get Notified Here
Install an RSS app to get notified from us when a new post is up!