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Black Soldier Fly

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Black Soldier Fly adult
Black Soldier Fly larvae
Bioconversion unit for Black Soldier Flies - image courtesy of Dr. Paul Olivier.
Bioconversion unit for Black Soldier Flies - image courtesy of Dr. Paul Olivier.

Parts of this text were taken an article by Dr. Paul Olivier - please read the original here.

Larvae of the black soldier fly (BSF), Hermetia illucens, can be used for the bioconversion of many kinds of organic waste, including putrescent waste such as meat and dairy products. Soldier Grubs are not associated in any way with the transmission of disease. They do not bite, bother or pester humans in any way. In fact, they send out a (pheromonal?) signal to house flies: get lost !

Soldier Grub bioconversion units are also called grub composters. A commercially available grub composter is called the BioPod™ and is developed and trademarked by ESR International, LLC. A nominal 2-foot diameter BioPod™ Classic and the newly designed BioPod™ Plus can process over a metric ton of putrescent waste per year. A nominal 4-foot diameter ProtaPod™, weighing about 40 lbs (18 kg), can process well over five metric tons of putrescent waste per year. Note that the Soldier Grubs are totally self-harvesting. They abandon the waste only when they have reached their final mature prepupal stage, and they crawl out of the waste and into a collection bucket without any mechanical or human intervention.

Applications and Product Ecology[edit]

  • Soldier Grubs can be fed to chickens, fish, pigs and other animals needing high protein feed; therefore the grubs can become an important part of any integrated food and waste management system.
  • Extraction of oils from Soldier Grubs has been proposed for making diesel-like biofuels and a protein-rich feed additive
  • Whatever is left after the Soldier Grubs are done eating can be eaten by worms (vermicomposting), dramatically reducing the weight and volume of the compost
  • The frass, or insect poop, from the soldier fly larvae can be used directly in the soil as a fertilizer and organic matter additive.
  • Leachate from wet wastes is partially broken down by larval secretions, and it can be used in different dilutions for foliar and direct soil applications. See Dipterra's website [1] and Black Soldier Fly Farming [2] for more information.

Further Links[edit]

Academic research[edit]

Recent research into the hygiene aspects of managing faecal sludge with black soldier fly larvae[1] suggests that it is effective in reducting some, but not all, indicator pathogens so may be of use as part of a sustainable sanitation management system.

  1. Lalander, C., Diener, S., Magri, M. E., Zurbrügg, C., Lindström, A., & Vinnerås, B. (2013). Faecal sludge management with the larvae of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens)—From a hygiene aspect. Science of The Total Environment, 458, 312-318.