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 Electric Fence for BSFL 
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Post Electric Fence for BSFL
Taking my inspiration from Brian aka Tarvus (link)** I ran a test of an electric fence for a BSFL bin. The larvae have a reputation as escape artists. This is a small scale test of an electric 'fence' to keep them corralled. Two thin strips of aluminum tape are connected to a small 9 volt battery. Any larva that touches both strips at once completes the circuit and receives a non-lethal shock



** Brian's website has been hacked and is temporarily down. His YouTube video of an electric fence on a worm bin is here

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Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:18 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
Awesome! I had the same idea and I was delighted to see your tests.


Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:40 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
Update with the storage tote (58.4cm x 41.3cm x 31.4cm LxWxH) version of the fence:

Image


So far so good. In the 12 days since the fence was energized no larvae have been found outside of the bin as compared to six found in the two previous days. The bin is totally enclosed in a netting bag so I'm fairly confident that no larvae are getting past the fence. Prior to energizing the fence retrieving wandering larvae from the netting 'bag' had become part of the daily routine.

Battery voltage has only dropped from 9.15 to 8.96 VDC so there is no evidence of the high humidity (80%) in the bin causing partial shorting. I had been concerned that this might drain the battery quickly.

I have only been able to observe one larvae attempt to crawl over the fence only to be shocked and drop to the floor of the bin.

Edit to add YouTube link


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Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:40 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
The battery drain seems to be very minimal which makes sense as the circuit only closes when a larvae touches both strips at the same time:

2012 April 02 : 9.16VDC

2012 April 26 : 8.93VDC

No larvae have got past the fence during this period. Some raise up their upper body seemingly trying to arch over the fence but fall back to the bin bottom.

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Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:37 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
The electric fence's battery has only dropped 0.43 volts or 4.7% over the past month as shown in the chart below. No larvae have got past the fence during this period.

Image

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Thu May 03, 2012 9:51 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
The performance of the fence has degraded over the last month and a few larvae were able to escape from the bin on six occasions.

Image


I think there are several contributing factors;

  1. Material deposited by the flies and larvae on the bin walls and the fence tape may be protecting the larvae from shocks.
  2. The foil surface of the conducting tape is delaminating and coming off.
  3. The adhesive backing of the tape lifted from the bin wall in a small area.
  4. Declining battery voltage reached a level where the larvae can tolerate the shock.

Cleaning of the tape strips in response to item 1 may have contributed to item 2. The conductive aluminum foil is very thin and doesn't stand up well to any abuse. Copper slug tape might be thicker and a better choice. Another possibility is using wire which could be 'welded' to the bin wall with a soldiering iron. In any case replacing the fence while the bin is active will be a challenge

The high humidity (80%+) in the bin may also have contributed to items 2 and 3.

To solve item 4 a small "wall wart" transformer that outputs approximately 9VDC could be used but a battery is preferred because it allows the bin to be easily moved.

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:15 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
Won't it be easier if you exploit the fact that the larvae are photo-phobic?
A fluorescent lamp placed close to the lip of the bin should deter crawl off. We're actually testing this right now, by putting a small fluorescent reading lamp on top of our testing bin, and so far its working quite good (12 hour test so far). The larvae tried to crawl up, and when they come to a certain distance from the light, they just jump back down.

[Edit]
PS: Yes, I'm the same Arkatufus as the on youtube.


Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:52 am
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
Arkatufus wrote:
Yes, I'm the same Arkatufus as the on youtube.
I've copied over my response to your question on YouTube below and added links.

"They may be photo-phobic but they will still climb out under full light conditions as the videos show. Plus there is the cost factor of having a light on 24-7.

The fence is not ideal either as the foil tape eventually delaminated creating gaps the´╗┐ larvae could crawl past. I may try again with wire.

There are passive barriers too which break the surface tension of any water on the walls and causing larvae to lose their grip and fall back into the bin."

See these threads by PeteB for information on a couple of types of passive barriers (link) and (link). Velcro strips have also been used.

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Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:11 am
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
BW, earlier in this thread you mentioned using copper slug tape as a deterrent, and I wondered a) if you tried it, and b) if you tried it w/o battery assistance.

The reason copper works against snails and slugs is probably due to their high water content, but would it work against the prepupae's kinda/sorta carapace?

If I can beg/buy/attract some flies, I was planning on trying it, but if it doesn't work without a battery, I won't bother to look for my tape.

I was also wondering if an attached, inward-curled piece of metal (like piece of malleable copper or aluminum tubing would discourage them, or dump them back into the bin.

But I do find this business of being somewhat behind the curve in corralling a vat of bugs somewhat ... discouraging. We're said to be at the top of the food chain -- there should be a simpler way than using some intricate form of an electric fence. :?

Outsmarted by bugs... sigh.....

Sue


Fri May 24, 2013 6:23 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
BelgianPup wrote:
BW, earlier in this thread you mentioned using copper slug tape as a deterrent, and I wondered a) if you tried it, and b) if you tried it w/o battery assistance.
No I never tried copper tape.

Quote:
The reason copper works against snails and slugs is probably due to their high water content, but would it work against the prepupae's kinda/sorta carapace?
I think you're right that the drier skin of the larvae might prevent the copper from stopping them.

Quote:
I was also wondering if an attached, inward-curled piece of metal (like piece of malleable copper or aluminum tubing would discourage them, or dump them back into the bin.
The trick is to break the surface tension of the film of water which they use to climb. PeteB uses a plastic extrusion with two downward facing parallel ribs which he finds to work quite well.

Quote:
But I do find this business of being somewhat behind the curve in corralling a vat of bugs somewhat ... discouraging. We're said to be at the top of the food chain -- there should be a simpler way than using some intricate form of an electric fence. :?

Outsmarted by bugs... sigh.....

Sue
If your hobby involves playing with BSFL prepare to be outsmarted ;) They never seem to read the instructions.

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Fri May 24, 2013 6:36 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
BorealWormer wrote:
The trick is to break the surface tension of the film of water which they use to climb. PeteB uses a plastic extrusion with two downward facing parallel ribs which he finds to work quite well.


This sparked an idea...

There is a product called "Rainex" that does a phenominal job of keeping rain off of automobile windshields. The rain literally beads up so well that unless it's raining VERY heavily, wipers aren't even needed. It's a wipe-on, wipe-off product that leaves some sort of coating (polymer?) that reduces surface tension on the windshield allowing the water to bead up and blow away.

Perhaps a coating of Rainex along the top few inches on the inside of plastic bucket or plastic tote or plastic BioPod BSF bins would work to eliminate the surface tension of condensed moisture thus preventing crawl off? Might be fun to watch the wandering BSF maggots "hit the skids" so to speak! :o

I never zapped BSF with my electric fence, but the electric fence on my worm bins, a six pack of beer and an electric headlamp provided me HOURS of free entertainment! 8-)


Fri May 24, 2013 7:25 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
Tarvus wrote:
... I never zapped BSF with my electric fence, but the electric fence on my worm bins, a six pack of beer and an electric headlamp provided me HOURS of free entertainment! 8-)
Wow I've heard of the six pack method of harvesting vericompost but this sounds like even more fun. Why am I not surprised that you discovered this ;)

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Fri May 24, 2013 9:34 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
You guys! :roll: :lol:

Be careful, or you'll have a hit TV show on your hands... :D

And just a friendly piece of advice: don't pee on the electric fence.

Sue


Sat May 25, 2013 12:56 am
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
When I was cultivating crickets for my CP's (carnivorous plants) I came up with the idea for an electric fence to contain them and it worked well.

18 gauge enamel coated wire (a.k.a. magnet wire)
Super glue
fiberglass resin
disposable paint sponges
2000 grit sand paper

Using the super glue to occasionally tack, I took 2 lengths of the wire coiled around the enclosure multiple times spaced roughly the width of the wire until I had a barrier about an inch and a half wide.
The width made sure that if the crickets had no choice but to complete contact and if they started dirtying up a spot I had time to catch it and clean the fence.

Next I painted the fiberglass resin onto the fence for adhesion. I did 10 coats to make sure the wire would be nice and embedded and wouldn't come off, I may have over done it but better safe than sorry.

Next I used the sand paper gently to expose the wire and here is where the reasoning for the enamel coated wire comes in. The coating was red, This allowed me to ensure I exposed 100% of the subsurface on the wire.

I ran the unit with a 7.5v dc adapter and could plug a battery box to it in case the power went out.
When the crickets would foul the surface I would clean the fence with vinegar and salt.
I used the enclosure for 2 1/2 years until I decided it was easier just to buy freeze dried bloodworms and grind them into a powder for feeding my plants.


Sat May 25, 2013 11:13 am
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
Very nice design Vater Araignee. Do you have a picture you could post here?

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Sat May 25, 2013 11:20 am
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
BorealWormer wrote:
Very nice design Vater Araignee. Do you have a picture you could post here?

Unfortunately I don't, and I sold the enclosure.
It was back in the day before digital was so pervasive.

I will be replicating it because I have decided the BSFL will be a good starting place to help me get over my irrational fear of maggots.
My stopping block right now is that I live in Michigan and have to figure out how to create an outdoor over winter method that my landlord wont object to.
The maps say I live in 6a but truth be told I'm in a micro climate zone that is technically 5a.
The real Michigan is good for that. :lol:


Sat May 25, 2013 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
Tarvus wrote:
Perhaps a coating of Rainex along the top few inches on the inside of plastic bucket or plastic tote or plastic BioPod BSF bins would work to eliminate the surface tension of condensed moisture thus preventing crawl off? Might be fun to watch the wandering BSF maggots "hit the skids" so to speak!


Hey Tarvus, I'm bringing this post back from the dead sort of speak! I was wondering if the idea worked? so far in my understanding the best way of preventing crawl offs are by maintaining the best conditions possible but this was a good idea, did you gave it a try?

Regards.


Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:48 pm
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Post Re: Electric Fence for BSFL
Or how about some of this Super Hydrophobic Coating!


Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:51 pm
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