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 Forum/Composter update 
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:35 pm
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Location: Central Florida, USA
Post Forum/Composter update
I'll start by apologizing for being absent for so long. I love working with and talking about BSF, but sometimes life gets busy and I don't have the extra energy. The past few months have been like that, but I hope to catch up soon.

I'm at a loss about whether or not to keep selling composters, and I need to make a decision soon. Part of the issue is that member Alfredo has discovered/created a new technology that might make BSF composters obsolete, at least for many people. I believe that the current form of BSF composters will be in demand to some extent, at least for a few more years as any new technology comes online, but we need to consider the future of BSF technology when making a decision. My intention after last season was to invest in a large 3D printer to make better parts, and make them faster, but if demand is going to drop I don't think it's a wise investment. A large printer, or maybe a vacuum molding table, would allow me to produce an excellent larva barrier and streamline production of other parts. The Velcro I've used in the past works well initially, but it doesn't adhere very well with extended or heavy use. A vacuum molding table would allow me to make a effective and long lasting barrier.

Building and selling our composter has never been a very profitable thing at the price we charge, but I was hopeful that it might lead to a sustainably profitable business model. The manufacturing changes I was considering might accomplish that, however now there is some (more) doubt given Alfredo's excellent work. (congratulations to Alfredo!)

Of course we have the option of selling the composters in the same form that we did for the past two seasons. To make that work I would probably need to raise the price a bit. We had priced the units so that my net profit was equal to less than I would earn getting the Federal minimum wage. The thought was that the design was more or less a beta model, or prototype, for a design that would be easier to produce in larger numbers. I love providing a tool for people to use and learn about BSF, but to do it on a sustainable basis I need to make a reasonable living at it.

Again, I want to say that I wish I had kept in touch with you all, and I look forward to catching up on what's been happening on my own forum! Thanks for watching the store Mike. ;)

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*I'm not an entomologist, and much of what I write about BSF is an educated guess.


Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:26 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:59 am
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Welcome back Jerry.
I understand that Alfredo is a private businessperson and wish him all success in with his new method, but you can't come on here where we're all raising BSF in composters and just casually throw it out there that composters might soon become obsolete :shock:

What's he doing?!


Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:29 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Thanks for your concern Aussiemoo, but I'm happy that Alfredo is pioneering new BSF technologies. His discoveries might be what it takes to make BSF useful on a municipal scale. I would also like our forum to be one of the sources people can use to publicize new developments.

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*I'm not an entomologist, and much of what I write about BSF is an educated guess.


Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:27 am
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Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:28 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Yes, what is he doing different? i was planning to try the bins this year but your post here about Alfedo has really got my attention. More infor about his method would be appreciated. Sincerly Nimble


Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:38 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Nimble welcome to our forum :) If you'd like you can introduce yourself here (link).

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I Believe The Black Soldier Fly Has The Potential To Be A Beneficial Insect Second Only To Pollinating Bees


Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:46 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Hi Nimble. I don't know much about the new techniques, but according to Alfredo they eliminate the need for specialized containers for BSF composting. Alfredo is hosting a workshop about the new techniques next Saturday in Georgia. pdf file

I doubt that the method/info will be widely available this season.

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*I'm not an entomologist, and much of what I write about BSF is an educated guess.


Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:10 pm
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:30 am
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Location: San Jose California
Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Welcome back Jerry. I can understand how difficult it is to be profitable or even break even with the composter manufacturing business. It's not a very large market, and material cost & shipping are so expensive. Whatever you decide please keep this forum going. I confess this is one of the few regular sites I go to at least a few times a week, even through the cold winter :-)

Not sure what Alfredo is doing, but sounds like he has a separate cultivation chamber from the BSFL raising environment. That seems out of the question for ordinary hobbyists who just want to live in with a smaller ecological footprint. I'm intrigued to find out how he can raise BSFL to full maturity in 7 days during the winter. I can't even do that during the hot summer. Is that biological possible with the BSF specie?

I understand he needs to commercialize to afford his research, but backyard hobbyists like me aren't likely to pay for the registration fee, plus travel, to attend his seminar. That's why we need this forum to feed our thirst. One day when Alfredo's method becomes widely known I'm sure this forum will be the place people come to exchange notes on its implementation.


Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:01 am
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:06 pm
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Location: Miami, FL
Post Re: Forum/Composter update
I am definately interested in purchasing one of your systems!!! :) Please contact me.

Thank you,


Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:39 am
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:06 pm
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Location: Miami, FL
Post Re: Forum/Composter update
It also seems that Alfredo's method is for a much larger scale and thus not feasible for many people. I thankfuly bumped into this forum in an effort to finding an alternative method of raising BSF other than the biopod which is outregeously priced.


Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:49 am
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:06 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Jerry please advise if you will be selling your units as I am desperately in need to get started.
Thank you


Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:43 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:41 pm
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Location: Mississippi Delta
Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Hi Jerry,

I have not read this post till now, sorry I had been busy.

As you said i got a method, not a contained system. We can call it "poor man system" as it does not require heat and it does not increase your electric bill. But most of the containers in the market will work if heating is provided.

I am not a business man, I am a researcher and employee.

Thank you,

Alfredo Llecha.


Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:06 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:03 pm
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Location: Western Australia
Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Jerry wrote:
...Alfredo is hosting a workshop about the new techniques next Saturday in Georgia...

Mr Llecha, did your workshop go well?


Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:35 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Alfredo Llecha wrote:
Hi Jerry,

I have not read this post till now, sorry I had been busy.

As you said i got a method, not a contained system. We can call it "poor man system" as it does not require heat and it does not increase your electric bill. But most of the containers in the market will work if heating is provided.

I am not a business man, I am a researcher and employee.

Thank you,

Alfredo Llecha.


Alfredo - have your organization thought of offering the class on-line? Perhaps you can increase the attendees ten-fold and reduce the registration fee to 10% :-) I would be very interested in taking part just for the education. Food for thought ...


Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:01 am
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Mr Llecha,

I cannot travel far, too many animals to feed so some kind of information packet with pictures and details would be worth $ 200 to me. My feed bill is many times that amount.

Thank you .

Sincerely George Lyda


Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:35 am
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Well we realized that the Workshops are a good way for sharing experiences and knowledge in person, plus showing our system in situ. Most or practically 80% of this time was questions and answers. 9 PhDs and professors from 4 Universities, and entrepreneurs from Chile, Holland, Canada..., attended this 1st BSF Workshop, so we all had a great time. White Oak Pastures organizes a workshop per weekend about several fields regarding organic farming. I do not know if the company is willing to organize another BSF workshop, if there is more potential audience or interest in BSF rearing. I am just talking by my own.

Also I highly recommend the international Insect Rearing Workshop organized by Mississippi State University, I attended in 2011 and it helped me personal and professionally link


Thank you.


Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:52 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Thanks for the update Alfredo. I'm also very busy lately and barely have time to even check the forum. :(

I'm very glad that you had a good turnout, and hope you'll keep us posted about new developments.

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*I'm not an entomologist, and much of what I write about BSF is an educated guess.


Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:14 am
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Hi all. I'm still trying to catch up with the forum and get started building composters, but my "real" job is keeping me super busy. It normally slows down as summer approaches but it's been better than usual. I need to work as much as I can for the next few weeks, and hopefully I can get back to my favorite hobby soon. ;)

My thinking at this point is to produce the bio-composter in the same form as we did last year. That means continuing to use Velcro as a larva barrier. I know that a lip is more durable, but so far I haven't found a way to fabricate one efficiently. The Velcro eventually fails, but even so the composter functions well enough that I enjoy using it. Last season I maintained several units that had no barrier, and the only difference is that sometimes you lose a small percentage of larvae. I always had plenty remain in the composters, allowing some larvae to escape only helps reseed your area.

I had considered upgrading my production with a 3D printer and maybe a vacuum molding table, but with the new developments in BSF technology I can't rationalize the expense now.

I may be a bit busier with regular work this year, so the time to ship a unit will probably be longer than last year.

Thanks for your interest.

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blacksoldierflyblog.com

*I'm not an entomologist, and much of what I write about BSF is an educated guess.


Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
I calculated how much I earned building composters and collecting eggs last year, and my income was significantly less than the federal minimum wage. It was approximately $6 per hour after taxes. (We operate the business in legal fashion so we pay a lot of tax, about 30%, with few deductions) We knew that the the prices we were charging would create a very small profit margin, but we chose to price that way so we could get as many units as possible out into the laboratory represented by many people testing our composter. I'm happy with the results, but this year I can't rationalize investing my time for that wage.

This summer I'll need to focus on my regular job as much as possible. The remaining time will be precious, so we'll be increasing the price of our composters significantly. As previously mentioned, the time to build and deliver a composter will also increase. Our BSF work will be approached more as a hobby than a business, although my partner Bonnie and I will always strive to give the best service possible.

If you choose to order a composter or BSF eggs this year the process will happen as follows. Making a payment will establish your position in the line/queue for the product. The time to ship will vary from a few days to several weeks, and I will keep a running estimate on the order page for each product. If you've paid, and you're waiting for a product, we will notify you when the shipping date is nearing. If at any time you wish to cancel your order simply send us an email and we will refund your payment within 24 hours, probably much less.

Since our BSF composters will be more expensive than last year, I will make every effort to publish do-it-yourself plans for those who wish to build their own. I haven't gotten around to it because last year I was busy building units, and also the price to buy one from us was almost the same as the cost to DIY. Publishing DIY instructions will be a big project for me due to the large number of pieces and steps in constructing our design. Of course I will publish the plans and/or videos here on the forum.

My apologies to anyone who has been inconvenienced by the lack of information about our plans for BSF products. Thanks for your interest.

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*I'm not an entomologist, and much of what I write about BSF is an educated guess.


Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:03 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
I'm still working 6 long days per week at my regular job, but it should be slowing soon. I'm getting my composters set up for collecting eggs, and my garage organized for building....

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*I'm not an entomologist, and much of what I write about BSF is an educated guess.


Tue May 05, 2015 1:16 pm
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Post Re: Forum/Composter update
Again I feel the need to apologize to all who are hopiing to buy eggs or a composter, or who simply want my input about BSF in general. I probably should have just let go of my desire to be involved with BSF since I'm so distracted with other things, but at the least I will maintain this forum regardless of my erratic involvement, thanks mostly to Boreal Wormer's efforts.

I'm going to stop trying to guess what my future involvement will be here and concerning composters and eggs. I hope you all will continue to find this a valuable resource.

Thanks for adding your voice to this forum.

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*I'm not an entomologist, and much of what I write about BSF is an educated guess.


Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:07 am
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