Attracting black soldier flies-the basics

Attracting BSF (Hermetia illucens) Attracting the initial black soldier fly (BSF) females to start up a BSF composter can be problematic if you don’t understand the basic principles involved. Of course the first step is to determine if your area is populated by BSF, but once you’re satisfied that they’re present it shouldn’t be too difficult to attract them. Realistic…

Corn cob for start up of a BSF composter

Keeping the beginning waste moist is important for two reasons; any newly hatched larvae are at risk of dehydration, and moist waste is better at giving off the odor which serves as a beacon for egg laying BSF females. The three inch layer of moistened cob was designed to increase the bulk in the new unit with something that would absorb and retain liquid without overloading the unit with food waste.

Attracting black soldier flies with corn

Once the BSF are established the result is a nearly odor-free process, but in the beginning it’s best to have a strong odor so the females can locate the unit. I like using fermented corn because even though it has a strong odor I don’t find it as offensive as most rotting food. It’s not a smell that I necessarily like, but it’s one I can live with during the set up phase and once I’ve got a dense colony I can go back to the normal, mild and pleasant odor of a balanced BSF composter.