(Sorry Dr. Sheppard, Dr. Olivier and Dr. Tomberlin…)

[youtube width=”425″ height=”344″]http://youtube.com/watch?v=vbFCr18symo[/youtube]

Alana is hands down the cutest of all black soldier fly researchers. Apparently her folks forgot to tell her that BSF larvae are yucky! Good parents. :)

Anyone concerned about Alana handling BSF larvae may want to read this which references scientific studies showing that black soldier flies are not carriers of diseases. There is also a brief discussion in the comments for this post.

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4 thoughts on “The cutest black soldier fly researcher EVER!

  • July 12, 2008 at 7:59 am

    Aww… Alana is cool! I’m still worried ^^;

  • July 12, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Don’t worry Mosey, the prepupal larvae that Alana is handling are as clean as most people. Cleaner probably. :)

    When the BSF larvae transform to the final stage before pupation they undergo some interesting changes. They empty their gut, their mouth is replaced by an appendage to aid crawling, and most importantly they secrete an antibiotic. I believe you take just as much risk when you touch a shopping cart handle, or sit in a movie theater.

  • July 12, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    @Jerry: Thanks for the info! I’m sure the in-depth information about the antibiotic is on your site somewhere, but was wondering where I can find out more research info about it please?

  • July 12, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Mosey. Here’s a place to start:

    Flies that have been used experimentally to process manure include house flies (Musca domestica), face flies (Musca autumnalis), blow flies (usually Sarcophaga sp.) and the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens). Except for the black soldier fly (Furman et al. 1959), all of these are considered pests as adults due to their disease vector potential, behavior and preferred habitats.

    Bacteriological interactions associated with manure digestion by maggots are favorable. Maggots are competitors with bacteria for nutrients and often reduce bacterial numbers greatly, or eliminated them altogether (Beard and Sands, 1973; Sherman, 2000). Maggots may consume and digest microorganisms, and produce antibacterial and/or fungicidal compounds (Landi, 1960; Hoffmann and Hetru, 1992; Levashina et al., 1995 and Landon et al., 1997). As maggots reduce pathogens in manure they may make it safer for organic vegetable production.

    Preliminary studies with black soldier fly larvae indicated a reduction of pathogens in an artificial medium or manure innoculated with larvae. Numerous studies using dried, rendered and fresh maggots as animal feed have revealed no health problems resulting from this practice. Preliminary bacterial culturing of self-collected soldier fly prepupae from a recent swine trial revealed no pathogens.


    Here’s a post from this blog on the subject. LINK

    If you find more articles about this I would love to have a link. :)

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