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 Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms 
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Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:55 pm
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Location: Stirling, Scotland
Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
No there isn't. Good tip....thanks for that. I'll make up a mesh and put it around the bulb this weekend.

I had one pupa yesterday that was climbing up the side of the box. I put it in the dry container in the right h.s. compartment but it didn't want to stay there. There doesn't seem to be anything climbing the ramp I put in there. The pupa has disappeared somewhere inside the box (I hope - it's pretty well sealed). I have some compost in there to try to keep the humidity up. Potentially there's a few pupae in amongst it all.

Many thanks,
St.V


Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:45 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
From the picture it doesn't seem like you have anything lining your collection bin on the right hand side.

Usually you would want to add saw dust or some dry bedding material so that they stay in your collection bin.

Since it seems like your unit is pretty self contained, I'm not sure how the constant humidity levels would affect the bedding material from doing its job of wicking moisture from the pupae.


Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:10 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StVitus wrote:
...I had one pupa yesterday that was climbing up the side of the box. I put it in the dry container in the right h.s. compartment but it didn't want to stay there.
There will always be a few that don't read the manual and wander. As long as it's just a few it won't be a problem but if a large number are escaping you'll probably want to look at a barrier of some sort. Jerry lines the top interior circumference with the rough (not the fuzzy) strip of two-part Velcro. I experimented with an electric 'fence' (link) and there are also the mechanical barriers used by PeteB (link) and (link).

Quote:
There doesn't seem to be anything climbing the ramp I put in there.
Remember that the larvae are not looking for a ramp they're just circling the perimeter of the bin. As Jerry mentioned it helps to place the ramp tightly against a wall so there's no way for the larvae to get by it.

Quote:
I have some compost in there to try to keep the humidity up.
You'll probably want to mist the bin daily once you have flies which will drink the droplets from the walls. This will also aid in keeping the humidity levels up.

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Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:44 pm
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Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:55 pm
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Location: Stirling, Scotland
Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Dear all,
thanks for your excellent advice.

The edges of the box are curved so it is difficult to get the ramp flush. I have done my best with it.

I have made a protective mesh around the bulb with a bird feeder, except the bulb blew, which may have been my fault by knocking it. The mesh should help against that too. 2 more bulbs are on order!

I had a little delve into the food scrap container this morning to see what was happening. I found some pupae in their which seem pretty immobile. I hope they're still alive. I put them in the dry container and I'll try to find some bedding material to keep them happy. I still have quite a lot of very active grubs which are getting very large now.

All the best,

StV.


Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:46 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
St.V, do you mean the dark, mature (prepupal) larvae? A pupa is the stage where the "skin" of the mature larva hardens and transformation into the adult begins. They don't move visibly in the pupal stage.

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Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:03 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Hello Jerry,

yes, it must be the prepupae, because a lot of them seem to have moved! :)

How long do you think it will be before I start to get some adults?


Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:36 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
BorealWormer would have better information for an indoor system, but generally speaking it takes about two weeks. I imagine temperature would be a major factor.

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Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:46 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
The pupation time will vary - indoors I see around a month but I believe it's related to conditions (mostly temperature).

Tarvus notes "Three weeks as larvae after hatching and three weeks pupation before emergence!" (link)

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Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:33 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
My guess is that the three week estimate is from the time the larvae enter the mature (prepupal) stage.

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Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:37 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Ok great.
So I have a couple of weeks yet before I see some adults.

Other news is that I might be able to get some funding to have a proper insulated vessel prototype made up to take the morts. I'll try to get a design together this week and I'll post it up on here to see what you all think.

Many thanks,

StV.


Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:14 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
1st adult appeared today.

I have quite a lot of pupae there and a few grubs are still feeding.

All looking quite good right now.

StV.


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Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:09 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Hello all,

An up-date of the situation right now and some thoughts:

I have had quite a lot of adults since the 1st one on Friday evening. I haven't seen any evidence of breeding so far though, but I cannot observe them for very long, partly because I'm not there 24/7 and partly because if I look in the box when the light is on for more than a couple of minutes at a time, I'm left temporarily blinded!

I thought I had eggs in the waste box but at closer inspection turned out to be thousands of tiny mites, which I think have got in on an old potato some how. I have got some young grubs, but I'm not convinced they are BSF, given that I haven't seen any mating or found any eggs anywhere. Plus they are about 5mm long which seems like an awfully fast growth rate since Friday. There have been a few small house flies as well and I had a lot of fruit flies to begin with. These grubs are too big to be fruit fly and don't look like typical house fly maggots. They are quite flattened with a sharp head-end, which is fairly like BSFL (?).....but they look quite dark, a sort of light chocolate colour, although this may be the residue of the waste bucket.

I have tried to follow other advice on other threads concerning light, moisture, temperature and a food source. Being British, I use old tea-bags rather than coffee grounds. I wonder about my light regime.... I have it on for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening to try to time it for when I can observe the set-up best. Also I am worried about over-heating so I like to be there when the light is on most of the time. Temperature was close to 30C when I measured it last with the light on. Sometimes it did go down to about 20C with it off and I wonder whether this is a factor. It will be important if this is to work in Scotland also, considering that the set up will probably be in a shed somewhere with outside temperatures possibly going down to sub-zero. Heaviest mortality is usually in the summer, so this might not be such a problem if things can just be ticking over during the winter with good production in the summer.

I will try to take some pictures of the new grubs and post asap, but I have been having some problems with my camera which isn't charging properly.

Your opinions and suggestions are gladly received as always.

Best wishes,

StV.


Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:13 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StV I have some Temperature, Humidity and Lighting Data (link) concerning my small indoor system. This is what has worked for me so far (two years) but should not be considered the only conditions that might work.

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Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:36 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Thanks Boreal,
excellent data collection.

I think my main issue may be humidity. I haven't been spraying which a lot of people recommend. I have been relying on keeping the compost in the bottom of my bin moist. There's been a lot of moisture on the lid of my bin but not the sides. I am going to get a sprayer today.

The temperature is certainly warm enough and the light is intense. I think the spectrum is close to daylight.

I did not manage to get space in the university when I needed it so have it set up in my house at the moment so my access to thermometers and hygrometers is limited. But I measured the temperature at 27C one time. I have since increased the light to 5 hours in the evening so it should be getting warmer still.

Hope to get it working soon because I'm going to run out of adults pretty quick!

Many thanks,

StV.


Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:50 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Just as was I was beginning to give up hope, last night I finally got some mating activity and tonight I have got some eggs at last.

I made some radical changes to the box about 10 days ago; removed all the compost and replaced it with sand and I cleared out all the old food scraps. This got rid of all the mites which had got in there somehow. I didn't have any mating after that although I had seen more activity. Fighting behaviour, similar to Boreal's video mainly. I am now feeling more confident that I can give it to the salmon farms and that they will be able to maintain the population, but I need to see a little bit more mating to be certain. The eggs were unfortunately laid in the sand instead of all the cardboard, so I guess I will need to move them soon. Hoping for more over the next few days as I found a lot of pupae in the compost when I cleared it out. They have been steadily hatching out over the last 10 days or so. I've been a bit busy with other projects to get on with designing a prototype vessel, but will do so now that things are looking more encouraging.


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Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:41 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StVitus wrote:
Just as was I was beginning to give up hope, last night I finally got some mating activity and tonight I have got some eggs at last.
That's great news. It should give you a bunch more larvae to work with on the second generation.

Quote:
The eggs were unfortunately laid in the sand instead of all the cardboard, so I guess I will need to move them soon.
Tarvus and others have posted their incubation methods on the forum in case you're looking for ideas.

Quote:
... Hoping for more over the next few days as I found a lot of pupae in the compost when I cleared it out. They have been steadily hatching out over the last 10 days or so.
A terminology nit to pick ;) Eggs hatch, flies eclose from the pupal case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pupa#Emergence

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:33 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Thanks for the heads up on the terminology Boreal! I'll remember that for when this gets written up.

Yes, I'll look at that more in detail now. At the end of a busy period here so I have more time to work on getting things optimised.

I am thinking of getting some more grubs from the pet shop anyhow in an attempt to keep a good genetic mix. I don't know a lot about fly breeding but I know a bit about fish. I have worked on fish farms as well as my research (which is not genetics!). We always said that we should have a broodstock of 50 males and females to maintain enough diversity and obviously they need to be replenished every couple of years or so. This means adding new ones from the stock you have and it's important to mix this up as much as possible. I think with the flies, mixing it up at the start could prevent problems down the line.

best wishes.


Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:11 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StVitus wrote:
... This means adding new ones from the stock you have and it's important to mix this up as much as possible. I think with the flies, mixing it up at the start could prevent problems down the line.
I've wondered about that too. I also have a worm bin which is another system with an isolated population where in breeding might occur. I've never heard of any problems on the public forums or in published research for either BSF or vermiculture. If your research turns up anything in the literature please let us know.

Adding new 'blood' when you can certainly can't hurt.

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Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:04 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
I certainly shall post anything up that I find.

I remember someone saying about colony collapse a long time ago and that people were unsure as to why. This got me thinking that perhaps a bit of inbreeding could be the problem. Although most people seem to be dealing with semi-wild populations, so you would expect a certain amount of new influx anyhow. It would be interesting to see more on these colony collapses, but I haven't got any data on it.

Do you or anyone else have anything?

Your worms I imagine are hermaphrodites (?). I imagine that they are less susceptible to inbreeding because they have evolved this way.....but as I say, I'm not a geneticist.

Best wishes,

StV.


Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:27 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StVitus wrote:
It would be interesting to see more on these colony collapses, but I haven't got any data on it.

Do you or anyone else have anything?

One possible cause is the "bacteria spike" referenced below from this post (link):

Jerry wrote:
... colony collapse occurs when fifth instar larvae purge their guts causing a bacteria spike which leads to a temperature spike.

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Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:42 pm
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