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 BSF project in Colorado 
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Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:47 pm
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
As of today, most of the grubs are about 2-4mm long. However, I did notice one GIANT grub already that cant be more than 3 weeks old and is already half an inch or so, my guess is it must have found something really good to eat? I have dumped out all of the egg traps and counted 4 or 5 separate egg masses that were laid and hatched out so given the fact that at most there were around 50 adults, I'd consider that a pretty successful breeding rate. Everything is still in the tote and I have placed it at a slight angle inside the larger container, with food and moisture collecting at the bottom I figured this would give them a good place to sit tight while I work on a new bucket design that will be the future home for this new generation. One of my concerns is keeping humidity high while still allowing the bin to cool off during the day, as the greenhouse regularly goes above 50C during the sunny days. I noticed the grubs enjoyed gathering under the sponges in the breeding tote, maybe a larger version of that could do the trick? or perhaps making a shade to cover the bin, as it is already sealed with plastic the humidity inside should stay high.


Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:14 pm
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
biobehaviorist wrote:
As of today, most of the grubs are about 2-4mm long. However, I did notice one GIANT grub already that cant be more than 3 weeks old and is already half an inch or so, my guess is it must have found something really good to eat?
Jerry has an interesting post about variation in growth rate on the blog (link) with this photo:

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I'm guessing that this is nature's way of spreading out the development so they all don't mature at the same time. This may help to lessen predation or reduce pressure on food resources.

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Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:19 am
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
biobehaviorist wrote:
I have dumped out all of the egg traps and counted 4 or 5 separate egg masses that were laid and hatched out so given the fact that at most there were around 50 adults, I'd consider that a pretty successful breeding rate.
Yup that sounds good for that population. Were the egg masses in the flutes of the cardboard or elsewhere?

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Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:22 am
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
All of the egg masses were laid inside the flutes except one which was deposited on the clothespin in the tiny space behind the spring holding the two wooden pieces together. I made cardboard sandwiches about the size of a deck of cards and put them on the rim each cup and found eggs laid either inside the flutes or in between the pieces. The adults received plenty of natural sunlight to do their thing, and the sponges were kept moist, but that was really all of the maintenance required. temperatures were between 50 and 100 degrees F inside the greenhouse during the mating period.


Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:14 pm
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
biobehaviorist wrote:
... I have one theory tho, that the sawdust might not provide them with the "sheltered" feeling. Cockroaches are known to be postively "thigmotactic" which means they seek cracks or crevices that are small enough for them to feel their surroundings pressing against their bodies. Perhaps final instar BSFL are the same way? they might not care about the damp sponges, they just want to burrow and feel safe from being crushed or discovered?
I'm finding that some of the prepupal larvae in my system are collecting under the margarine container which I use to rear the larvae. This is a 1550cc tub which is almost full and must weigh more than a kilogram. It sits mostly on the bare dry bottom of the bin with only a tiny scattering of dirt under it which I guess allows the larvae access. My concern is that if allowed to pupate there that the flies won't be able to get out when they emerge.

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Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:01 pm
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
Further to my last post above the dark prepupal larvae really like to collect under the two tubs inside my bin. So many in fact that they can form a layer a few centimetres deep and actually move the tubs. It might be the "thigmotactic" behavior that biobehaviorist mentioned or possibly a type of hibernation response as my bin is kept at the lower end of the temperature range for BSFL ... or something else :?:

biobehaviorist any updates on your system?

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Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:13 pm
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
In my experience, the brown grubs will always cluster together under an object, no matter if it's wet or dry, light or heavy.
Here you see grubs in leaf litter which is 6" deep. If it's much deeper, the grubs will stay below the surface.
That said, if those walls get wet, they will climb out and vanish into the garden :)

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Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:30 pm
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
PeteB wrote:
In my experience, the brown grubs will always cluster together under an object, no matter if it's wet or dry, light or heavy.
Interesting. What do you think the purpose of this would be in nature? Avoiding predation? Temperature moderation? Party time? ;)

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Here you see grubs in leaf litter which is 6" deep. If it's much deeper, the grubs will stay below the surface.
I'm relieved to hear that. My bedding is only about half as deep and I thought the shallow depth might be a factor.

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That said, if those walls get wet, they will climb out ...
Yes they will and my electric fence isn't able to stop all of them.

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Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:50 pm
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
"Interesting. What do you think the purpose of this would be in nature? Avoiding predation? Temperature moderation? Party time?"

I have no idea. Of course, here we are dealing the grubs in a confined space. If you dump a handful in the garden, they will disperse in all directions. I've read that they can crawl up to 100 meters.


Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:38 pm
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
A long due update on how things are going over here... we ended up killing off the 2nd generation before they were able to pupate due to the high temperatures. After reconstructing the box we started over with a new 5,000 large grubs and have had them for about a week. In order to combat the heat this summer the box is stationed next to an evaporating wall and is under shade cloth in the greenhouse. Air temp surrounding the box should be around 80-100 F at most, hopefully. The box is made with plywood and the ramps level off into an area that will either be used for harvesting or for pupation. This box is designed to support the whole life cycle without ever having to transfer grubs/ eggs/ adults. The lid is made from greenhouse plastic and forms a decent seal around the top. Grubs are reared in the center and either are harvested or allowed to emerge as adults and will simply lay eggs back into egg traps in the center after mating. The grubs are in a clear plastic tote for now with coco coir and are being fed shrimp feed that got contaminated with mouse droppings. Once the population increases i will probably take out the tote. The bottom is a solid piece for now, I am reluctant to add a drain because I am afraid the box could dry out too easily. As it is now, the thing holds moisture pretty well. The tote has holes drilled into each end to allow grubs to move in and out. Already, some dark grubs have congregated at the base of one of the ramps, not sure if they will begin to ascend or go under the tote to hide. Things seem to be working out pretty well, grubs have been active all week but the box smells pretty strange, I am hoping things will balance out after it gets going.
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Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:11 am
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
So the smell did not get any better in fact it got much worse. The bottom of the bin has always been a challenge and I'm sure I haven't found the right solution but whatever your grubs are sitting in should have some kind of porous, absorbent, or drainage mechanism incorporated or else you will have a foul anaerobic layer sitting in the bottom of your bin. I have since removed the tote altogether and the wood bottom has stayed pretty neutral in terms of smell. I am also experimenting with using a garlic oil spray that is used on our vegetables to deter pests. My hope is the garlic will help reduce the foul smelling bacteria. We are also prepping for the adults that will undoubtedly be emerging in the days to come by adding egg traps to the bin made from scrap cardboard from the swamp cooler.


Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:37 am
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Post Re: BSF project in Colorado
biobehaviorist any updates on your system?

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BorealWormer

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:54 pm
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