My apologies for being MIA the past few days. I have been under the weather with a cold. Of course, I felt like the end of the world was coming, but my wife said I'm just spoiled- something I cannot deny (blame my mother). Regardless- I am almost back to 100% and ready to roll with the next blog post!
I would like to discuss a cool paper that just came out within the past week. What has been really nice is I have received some emails pertaining to this very paper, which is great as it means the paper is reaching the BSF community.
Th paper of interest today is....
Holmes, L. A., S. L. VanLaerhoven, J. K. Tomberlin, and C. Brent. 2017. Photophase duration affects immature black soldier fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) development. Environmental Entomology: nvx165-nvx165.
This paper is pretty important for mass production of the BSF as it gets into abiotic factors (specifically light) regulating development of eggs and resulting larvae and pupae.
Overview: A lot factors impact how an insect develops- something we have discussed a number of times already in this blog. We know nutrition, moisture, pH (a topic yet discussed in detail), particle size of food, and a host of biotic factors (e.g., microbes) influence how insects, including the BSF, develop. This particular study examined the impact of light duration on egg, larval, and pupal development. They examined three durations of light ranging from no light to 8 or 12 hours of light.
Synopsis: Basically, the major finding was that if you keep your eggs, larvae, or pupae in the dark, they will require about 1/3 more time to develop. Now, this could be bad or good depending on your circumstances. If you are wanting to have high efficiency with regards to producing BSF, you want to have a light cycle in place (preferably 12 hours of light). So clearly this is bad if you do not use light as it dampens development.
Now- I think this can be a good thing to know not just for optimal production. This trait is something you can use to your advantage. If the occasion comes up where you WANT to have a dampened life cycle. Maybe you want reserve material for your colony? Then, you could store material in the dark and possibly extend development. Such a strategy could prove beneficial during times (e.g., winter) when you need to have a surplus, or stock, available when your adult colony crashes or you need to ramp up production for a big order.
As always- I hope this information is useful. Until next time- best of luck and happy BSF farming!!
Jeff Tomberlin, PhD, Survivor of cold this week
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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