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I can't grow BSFL because we are a zone 4/5 - they just aren't native here - but I love the concept and they sound like both awesome composters and wonderful, productive fish food.  Since I just wrote a blog post about them, and am selling the BioPod, they little guys are on my mind.  Is anyone using BSFL to feed their fish?  Is anyone doing this in a zone 6 or below?  What are your thoughts?

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I'm jealous, I too am up in zone 5..blah. I wonder if they would survive living in the greenhouse year round? I would imagine they would take flight in the summer months and then die prior to coming in before winter... hmm, maybe a butterfly type sanctuary for them and I harvest from there. Nah, too much effort, Sylvia, I guess we will just need the others to ship some to us, say every other day? jk
Two Jay said:

It might be a fun thing to try and not an expensive experiment either, if you make a composting bucket. Mine cost nothing since I had everything already to make it with - old bucket with lid, milk jug, piece of old garden hose, duct tape (of course). It won't win a beauty contest but it functions. Throw one together, stock it larvae and see what happens. You could upscale to a biopod if it works. All it would take would be an occurrence of successful reproduction once in a while to keep it going. It's great for composting kitchen scraps. Since I packed the bottom of my bucket with landscape cloth it seems to be dry inside the bucket - no muck yet. The flies are not a pest. It's rare to see one here and in fly form they live only a short time, without eating, existing only to reproduce. You could post on the Black Soldier Fly blog to ask if anyone has tried it.
I suppose the trick would be finding a source of Larva to re-stock each spring and see if the population will stick around and keep the bin going over summer. Ya might only need to re-stock once per year.
The more I thought about this, the more I think it will all work out. My reasoning for attempting this is not simply to feed my fish and chickens (50+) but as demonstration to show others how to think outside the box.

Does anyone know if BSF live in Kenya? I have a friend there who is working with orphanages setting up farms and one thing he is intrigued by is the AP system. BSF could help feed the chickens, they have some running around, and fish. The area he is in has water, decent soil, some organic materials to build compost etc. An AP system would work quite well.
It may not be necessary to restock each spring if the pod is in a heated greenhouse. I took larvae out of a refrigerator this morning and they all looked dead and I mean dead. Once they warmed to ambient temperature, they were just fine, very active.
If you can keep a population alive through the cold of winter (they do slow down) perhaps you wouldn't need to re-stock. So long as you don't let the pod freeze and keep feeding them enough to keep them warm, maybe it would work.
Adding another project to the list... I will build my first unit, test it over the next year or so and see how well it performs, if all goes well, I will buy a Pod. Thanks for the encouragement.

TCLynx said:
If you can keep a population alive through the cold of winter (they do slow down) perhaps you wouldn't need to re-stock. So long as you don't let the pod freeze and keep feeding them enough to keep them warm, maybe it would work.

Was thinking of names for this and here are a couple I have come up with

Detriticulture (Detritivore are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing organic matter))
   Vermiculture could fall under this general category so not too specific
De tri di culture

Pupaculture pew pah culutre 

Larveculture Lar vey culture 

Pupaeculture Pew pay culture

 (Black Soldier files are used for their pupa / pupae / larve)


Hermetiaculture ( her me tisha culture or her met ti ah culture idk tbh)

based off the genius name Hermetia


Hillucenculture (hil lu cen culture idk tbh)

based off the species name H. illucens


Stratioculture (strat tio culture)

based off the greek name for the black soldier fly Stratiomyidae


Vermiculture is called such because of the vermicast the worms create (castings / poo / end product) in the process of eating the food. Which is odd considering, ... are most Vermiculture people after the worms more than the compost or both? With Hillucenculture (think this is most specific name above) we are after the pupa (mabey pupaculture is best then?) and not the tea / leftovers which by the way can be used to feed worms. So maybe combining the two you would get the Detriticulture >./p>


Thoughts? I know this is an old thread but I am raising it from the compost piles


Raising meal worms would be easy but they require a grain to grow in and thus would require an outside source of food, the most common used is oats.

Too much thinking for me but BSFL are great for disposing of kitchen scraps and feeding fish/chickens.  We've used them for fish bait too and they were good.  They wintered over well in N. Fla and are active again.  It's unusually warm here already.  I plan to ramp up with a big composting bucket this year.  We'll have plenty of garden scraps to feed them.  They tend to show up in our regular composting bins too.


I'm not sure that meal worms require a grain.  Someone told me of raising them in rabbit manure.

Burton Rosenberger said:

Was thinking of names for this and here are a couple I have come up with



Love research like this



They love cow manure.  That's an interesting paper, much food for thought.

Burton Rosenberger said:



Love research like this



Morning goodness


Soldier fly, Hermetia illucens L., larvae as feed for channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque), and blue tilapia, Oreochromis aureus (Steindachner)
Article first published online: 21 APR 2008
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2109.1987.tb00141.x

Abstract. Three feeding trials, involving pre-pupal larvae of soldier fly, Hermetia illucens L., grown on poultry manure, were conducted to assess: (1) channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque), response to substitution of dried meal larvae for the fish meal component of the catfish diet and (2) if feeding 100% whole or chopped larvae to channel catfish or blue tilapia, Oreochromis aureus (Steindachner), will support normal growth comparable to those fed a commercial diet. Effects on fish quality were also evaluated. Replacement of 10% fish meal with 10% soldier fly larvae resulted in slower growth over a 15-week period for subadult channel catfish grown in cages (trial 1). However, the replacement did not reduce growth rate significantly when channel catfish were grown in culture tanks at a slower growth rate (trial 2). Feeding 100% larvae did not provide sufficient dry matter or protein intake for good growth for either species grown in tanks (trials 2 and 3). Chopping of the larvae improved weight gain and efficiency of the utilization.


Fly Prepupae as a Feedstuff for Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss
1. Sophie St-Hilaire1,*,
2. Craig Sheppard2,
3. Jeffery K Tomberlin3,
4. Stephen Irving4,
5. Larry Newton5,
6. Mark A McGuire6,
7. Erin E Mosley6,
8. Ronald W Hardy7,
9. Wendy Sealey7
Article first published online: 28 MAR 2007
DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-7345.2006.00073.x

Fly larvae may provide an effective method to mitigate two large and growing global concerns: the use of fish meal derived from capture fisheries in aquaculture diets and manure management in livestock and poultry facilities. A 9-wk feed trial was conducted to determine whether fly larvae could be used as a partial fish meal and fish oil replacement in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, diets. A trout diet was formulated to contain 40% crude protein and 15% fat. Sixty-seven percent of the protein in the control diet was derived from fish meal, and all the fat was derived from fish oil. Two of the test diets included using the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, prepupae, which are 40% protein and 30% fat, as 25 and 50% replacement for the fish meal component of the control diet. The total protein derived from black soldier fly prepupae in these two test diets was 15 and 34%, respectively. A third test diet included using housefly, Musca domestica, pupae, which is 70% protein and 16% fat, as 25% replacement for the fish meal component of the control diet. Data suggest that a rainbow trout diet where black soldier fly prepupae or housefly pupae constitute 15% of the total protein has no adverse effect on the feed conversion ratio of fish over a 9-wk feeding period. In addition, the diet with black soldier fly prepupae permitted a 38% reduction in fish oil (i.e., from 13 to 8%); however, fish fed black soldier fly diets low in fish oil had reduced levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their muscle fillets. The findings from this study suggest that either the black soldier fly or the housefly may be a suitable feedstuff for rainbow trout diets.


Rearing methods for the black soldier fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae).
Sheppard DC, Tomberlin JK, Joyce JA, Kiser BC, Sumner SM.
Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Tifton 31793, USA.

The black soldier fly, Heretia illucens (L.), is a nonpest tropical and warm-temperate region insect that is useful for managing large concentrations of animal manure and other biosolids. Manure management relying on wild fly oviposition has been successful in several studies. However, confidence in this robust natural system was low and biological studies were hampered by the lack of a dependable source of eggs and larvae. Larvae had been reared easily by earlier investigators, but achieving mating had been problematic. We achieved mating reliably in a 2 by 2 by 4-m screen cage in a 7 by 9 by 5-m greenhouse where sunlight and adequate space for aerial mating were available. Mating occurred during the shortest days of winter if the sun was not obscured by clouds. Adults were provided with water, but no food was required. Techniques for egg collection and larval rearing are given. Larvae were fed a moist mixture of wheat bran, corn meal, and alfalfa meal. This culture has been maintained for 3 yr. Maintainance of a black soldier fly laboratory colony will allow for development of manure management systems in fully enclosed animal housing and in colder regions.


Black Soldier Fly: Compiled Research On Best Cultivation Practices(most information gleemed from many papers on rearing fly's some links below)


rearing studies I have found

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