An Oldie- but a Goodie!! First paper published on colony maintenance of the BSF
So this paper was actually the second that Dr. Sheppard and I published together on the black soldier fly. I thought I would share it for those that might not have seen it.
Let me know if the link works or not.
This paper outlines colony maintenance of the black soldier fly. The main factors to consider are temperature (27-30C), humidity (70% or higher is great), and access to good sunlight (unless you use artificial lighting- to be discussed later). Funny story about this paper- Dr. Sheppard had me trudge waste deep through chicken manure, under a flock of layers (egg-laying chickens) that are literally raining manure down on me, to collect larvae that we would bring back to the lab as startup material for our colony. I believe the conversation was-
Jeff: Dr. Sheppard, do we have to go in there (meaning waste deep in chicken manure under chickens pooping down like a torrential rainstorm)?
Dr. Sheppard: No Jeff.... you have to go in there (and yes, I do believe he had a small smile on his face).
I consider this experience to be a true baptism in sustainable agriculture.
Needless to say- we were successful in getting the colony up and running. A few things I have learned since its publication that might be of use to you:
1. The methods outlined here are for a colony in Tifton, Georgia, USA. Have flexibility with your system... while it is science... there is a fair amount of art as well.
2. When you get a good source population established, think of how to keep your genetic stock high (too much inbreeding could be bad).
3. Keep your colony clean- BSF will lay eggs just about anywhere there is something decomposing- so clean out the dead flies.
4. Water your flies- they need the moisture to survive; but don't over-water them. Water that accumulates in the cage potentially could result in flies laying eggs in places you do not want them to be laid.
5. Harvest eggs daily- doing so will prevent different aged eggs from being collected at the same time which will reduce long periods of neonate (newly hatched larvae) collection (just one day rather than multiple days).
6. Consider having larvae, larval frass (insect poop), or digested larval material mixed with fresh material to induce fly attraction to this site for oviposition.
These are a few items that come to mind.... ask questions... will help me with my recall on this topic.
Until next time- Good luck and Happy BSF Farming!
Jeff Tomberlin, PhD- BSF ecologist
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.
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