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Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Maggots)

Photo by Oktavianus Mulyadi: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-a-black-soldier-fly-meet-the-fly-that-could-help-save-the-planet-14591398/

Let’s talk about the incredible benefits of black soldier fly larvae and how you can breed them. These little critters might not seem glamorous, but they’re like superheroes for a small homestead. Here’s why:

Benefits of Black Soldier Fly Larvae:

  1. Protein Powerhouses: Black soldier fly larvae are protein-packed! They have more protein than meat or even soybeans. That’s why they’re amazing for feeding animals like chickens, fish, and even pigs.
  2. Waste Warriors: These larvae are fantastic at recycling organic waste. They munch on kitchen scraps, food leftovers, and even manure, turning all that yucky stuff into valuable protein-rich feed.
  3. Eco-Friendly Farming: By using black soldier fly larvae, you’re reducing waste, which is great for the environment. You’re also lessening the need for commercial animal feed, which can sometimes have a big environmental impact.
  4. Low-Maintenance Superstars: Breeding black soldier fly larvae is easy-peasy! They don’t need much attention, and they can pretty much take care of themselves. They’re like the independent superheroes of your farm!
  5. No Pests or Nasty Smells: Unlike regular flies, black soldier flies don’t bother you, your animals, or your food. And here’s a bonus – they don’t produce bad smells either!

How to Breed Black Soldier Fly Larvae:

  1. Build a Breeding Container: Start with a big plastic container or wooden box with a lid. Drill some small holes in the sides for air circulation.
  2. Create a Comfy Bed: Fill the container with some compost or leftover food waste. This will be the perfect cozy bed for the larvae.
  3. Introduce the Larvae: Get some black soldier fly larvae (you can find them online or from other breeders) and place them on the compost bed. They’ll start doing their magic right away!
  4. Keep it Dark and Warm: These larvae love darkness and warmth. So, put the container in a shady spot and make sure it’s not too cold.
  5. Harvest the Larvae: After a while, the larvae will grow big and fat. You can carefully scoop them out and feed them to your animals. But don’t worry, they’re not interested in biting you!
  6. Collect Their Magic Compost: Oh, and here’s the best part – they’ll leave behind their compost, which is rich in nutrients. Use it to fertilize your plants and make them super happy!

Here’s a detailed video on how to breed black soldier fly larvae:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcEEzrn4RnQ

So, there you have it! Breeding black soldier fly larvae is a win-win situation. They get to feast on your organic waste, and you get to enjoy all the fantastic benefits they bring to your small homestead. It’s a little farm superhero adventure right in your backyard! Have fun experimenting and learning about these amazing creatures!

Feeding Black Soldier Flies

Feeding BSF (Black Soldier Fly) larvae in a homestead setting can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to make the most of waste from other animals and gardens. Here are various ways to feed BSF larvae using organic materials:

1. Kitchen Scraps: Collect fruit and vegetable scraps from your kitchen, such as peels, cores, and leftover produce. BSF larvae love these nutritious organic scraps.

2. Garden Waste: Use garden trimmings, fallen leaves, and weeds as a food source for the BSF larvae. It’s a great way to recycle garden waste while providing nutrition to the larvae.

3. Livestock Manure: Collect manure from your chickens, rabbits, or other livestock and add it to the BSF breeding container. BSF larvae can consume and break down manure, converting it into valuable nutrients.

4. Fish Waste: If you have a fish tank or aquaponics system, you can feed BSF larvae with uneaten fish food, fish waste, and fish carcasses. They’ll happily devour these nutrient-rich leftovers.

5. Compost Pile: Add BSF larvae to your compost pile. They will munch on the organic matter, accelerating the composting process and adding valuable nutrients to the compost.

6. Spoiled Fruits and Vegetables: Any fruits or vegetables that have become overripe or spoiled can be given to the BSF larvae. They’ll gladly turn them into compost and protein.

7. Brewery Waste: If you brew beer at home or have access to brewery waste, such as spent grains, you can feed them to the BSF larvae. They can digest and convert these materials into nutrient-rich frass (excrement).

8. Bread and Grains: Stale bread and leftover cooked grains like rice or pasta can be fed to the BSF larvae. It’s a good way to reduce food waste and provide a varied diet to the larvae.

9. Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds are a rich source of nutrients. You can add them to the BSF breeding container to enhance the nutritional value of the larvae’s diet.

10. Fallen Fruit: If you have fruit trees, collect the fallen fruits and give them to the BSF larvae. It’s a win-win situation, as the larvae get food, and you clean up your orchard.

11. Blood and Offal – use the waste from slaughtering other animals as feed for your BSF larvae. The larvae should be sterilised using a UV light before feeding them to other animals afterwards.

Remember, when feeding BSF larvae with waste materials, it’s essential to ensure that the waste is free from harmful chemicals, pesticides, and non-organic substances.

Providing a healthy and safe diet to the BSF larvae ensures the production of nutrient-rich frass and healthy larvae that can be used as a valuable feed supplement for your animals.

Animal feed supplement

Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae can be an excellent feed supplement for various animals on a small homestead. Let’s dive deeper into their benefits as a feed source and how to handle them safely in an organic and sterilized manner:

www.MD-Terraristik.de via Wiki Commons

Use of BSF Larvae as a Feed Supplement:

  1. High Protein Content: BSF larvae are protein powerhouses! They contain up to 40-45% protein, making them an ideal supplement for poultry (chickens, ducks), fish, and even pigs. Protein is essential for growth and overall health in animals.
  2. Balanced Nutrition: Not only are they rich in protein, but BSF larvae also have a good balance of fats and amino acids. This makes them a complete and nutritious feed option for your animals.
  3. Sustainable and Cost-Effective: Raising BSF larvae on your homestead provides a sustainable way to produce animal feed. It reduces your dependence on expensive commercial feeds and helps you recycle organic waste into valuable nutrition.
  4. Easy to Digest: BSF larvae have softer exoskeletons compared to other insects, making them easier for animals to digest. This is especially beneficial for young animals or those with sensitive digestive systems.

Handling BSF Larvae Safely in an Organic Sterilized Way:

  1. Hygienic Breeding Environment: To ensure a clean breeding environment, use organic matter such as kitchen scraps, vegetable peels, and fruit remains. Avoid using any food that has been treated with chemicals or contains pesticides.
  2. Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean the breeding container to prevent the buildup of waste and pathogens. Remove any moldy or spoiled food promptly.
  3. Temperature and Humidity: BSF larvae thrive in warm temperatures between 77-95°F (25-35°C) and humidity levels of around 50-70%. Maintain these conditions to promote optimal growth.
  4. Adequate Ventilation: Ensure that the breeding container has proper ventilation to prevent the buildup of harmful gases and odors. Adequate airflow is essential for healthy larvae development.
  5. Composting: After harvesting the mature larvae, compost any remaining organic matter along with the BSF frass (larval excrement). The composted material becomes a valuable fertilizer for your garden.
  6. Hands-On Safety: While BSF larvae are harmless to humans, it’s a good practice to wear gloves when handling them, especially if you have cuts or sensitive skin.
  7. Avoid Chemicals: Do not use any chemical pesticides or insecticides in or around the BSF larvae breeding area. These chemicals can be harmful to the larvae and disrupt the natural ecosystem.
  8. Washing Hands: After handling the larvae or their breeding material, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to ensure proper hygiene.

By following these guidelines, you can safely and organically breed BSF larvae as a nutritious feed supplement for your animals on your small homestead. It’s a fantastic way to reduce waste, promote sustainability, and support the health of your livestock.

Harvesting BSF Larvae

Harvesting black soldier fly (BSF) larvae can be a simple and straightforward process. Here are some easy methods to do it:

1. Manual Harvesting:

  • The easiest way to harvest BSF larvae is by hand. Put on a pair of gloves and gently scoop up the mature larvae from the top layer of the breeding container.
  • You can use a spoon or scoop to collect the larvae and transfer them to a separate container.

2. Ramp Method:

  • Create a ramp that allows the larvae to crawl out of the breeding container on their own. Place the ramp at a slight angle to encourage larvae to move towards the collection area.
  • You can make a ramp using a wooden plank or a piece of cardboard.

3. Light Attraction:

  • BSF larvae are attracted to light. Place a light source over a collection container, and the larvae will crawl towards it.
  • Make sure the container is positioned in a way that the larvae fall directly into it once they are attracted to the light.

4. Gradual Collection:

  • Start the breeding process in a separate container while keeping the main colony of larvae undisturbed.
  • After a few days, you’ll notice mature larvae in the new container. Transfer these mature larvae to the collection container while leaving behind the younger ones and pupae in the main colony.

5. Sifting Method:

  • Create a sifting device using a mesh screen or sieve with openings large enough for the mature larvae to pass through but small enough to retain the larger pupae.
  • Place the sifting device over the collection container and gently shake or agitate the breeding container to separate the mature larvae.

6. Use Gravity:

  • Create a collection container positioned below the breeding container. As the mature larvae crawl towards the edges of the breeding container, they may fall down into the collection container due to gravity.

7. Bucket with holes:

  • An easy way to breed maggots for chicken is to make buckets with holes in the sides and hang these over the chicken. Add meaty food scraps. Maggots will breed and climb out of the holes and drop down where the chickens readily eat them.

Remember to harvest BSF larvae regularly to prevent overcrowding in the breeding container and ensure a healthy population. Harvested larvae can be used as a nutritious feed supplement for your animals or as a protein-rich addition to your compost pile. Happy harvesting!

More links, notes and videos

https://wiki.opensourceecology.org/wiki/Black_Soldier_Fly

Here’s another one from an African team working without lots of money:

Detailed Class on Black Soldier Flies:

Video showcasing a commercial BSF operation in Kenya. https://youtu.be/3Zv9b5E3ocs

Detailed one hour long walk through a BSF farm in Kenya – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOWBOf1VGbk

Here’s a detailed video on how to breed black soldier fly larvae https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcEEzrn4RnQ

Nice video showing the entire life cycle in a simple homemade setup:

https://youtu.be/XVKHau12CtE

Local Experts & Suppliers:

Agricycle

You can learn all about growing Maggots new Okahandja at Agricycle. You’ll also get a starter kit with your training.

A flyer of Agricycle’s training

Superfly:

BSF commercial supplier in Windhoek. Superfly grows maggots and prepares fertilizer and chicken feed. They don’t sell live maggots.

https://www.facebook.com/superflybioconverters/

Oliver Bause: +264 81 447 9357

Sven Grüttemeyer: +264 81 200 3045

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