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 Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bins 
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Post Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bins
An interesting bulletin from the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION

Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin (link for PDF file)

Quote:
SUMMARY 
 
Although they seem ‘yucky’, Black Soldier Fly larvae can actually play an important role in breaking down organic matter. They aren’t harmful, but to reduce their numbers, “tune” your compost by adding more brown materials, and in your worm bin, bury food scraps under 4” of bedding. 

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


Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:14 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
Dear Boreal Wormer,

I am interested in the PDF you posted, but I can't seem to access it. Could you do a little copy/paste action for me?

I'm interesting in controlling (read: eliminating) the population of BSFL in my vermicompost bin. I realize they eat a lot of stuff, but they're a bit out of control and they make the bin quite wet.


Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:19 am
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
thetalkstops wrote:
I am interested in the PDF you posted, but I can't seem to access it.
Try it now. The site was down last night but I was able to download the file just now this morning.

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Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:00 am
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
Here's another page with suggestions on "How to Get Rid of Soldier Flies From Worm Farms" from the ehow.com site (link).

Both of these suggest screening over any vents in the worm bins to stop female flies from entering to lay eggs. I don't know how effective that would be as the flies could lay their eggs just outside the screen and I believe the newly hatched larvae are small enough to get through the screen.

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Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:52 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
I have found that if the bedding is deep enough the earth worms just go deeper. I've considered putting a screen between the upper and lower bed. The worms can get through but the larger BSF larvae cannot -- and I think the BSF larvae stay above, where the food is anyway. The BSF don't seem to feed on the bedding whereas the worms do. No problem with starving the worms.

One other thing that happens when feeding the the BSF with lots of water ladened fruit and vegetables, they create a lot of liquid that drains lower and must be removed. The liquid, a leachate (called by Dr. Brett Roe, vermiliqueur) is considered by many of folks in vermiculture to be piss from the devil. But it is not. In fact, with the exception of a very high proportion of potassium, it makes an almost ideal hydroponic solution. But the potassium jacks the pH to about 8.5 (that is as high as I can read it). It will kill your house plants in a hurry. However, in aquaponics, the problem they have is with the pH getting acid -- and they typically add potassium to raise the pH. So, it may be a nice organic solution to a perennial problem. No one seems to know, however, why the potassium is so high.

m

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Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:33 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
I'm seeing a few posts on vermiculture related forums requesting help about this problem. Myself I'd be doing a dance of joy if this happened but I can understand why some folks aren't. If there are any easy ways to keep worms and BSFL separated in outdoor bins please post here and I'll link back to this thread.

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Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:43 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
I can't think of anything other than keeping the worms in a screen enclosure.

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


Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:30 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
This person has a 2'Wx4'Lx2'H flow through worm bin with a large population of BSFL that have raised the temperature of the bin to the point where his red worms are leaving for cooler locations. They're contemplating either trying to pick out the BSFL (futile) or dumping the contents and starting over. My advice was

Quote:
You have to consider that unless your bin is, or can be, isolated from the adult flies they'll probably just reestablish (note I didn't say re-infest - I like BSF) themselves. One female lays several hundred eggs.

Note that using screen on just the bin will probably not work. People have reported BSFL in septic tanks and it's thought that females lay their eggs on the outside of screened vents and the newly hatched larvae crawl through the screen.

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Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:21 am
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
Screen sould work but if it's placed close over the top of the bin it will only serve as a great egg laying material for BSF. I think placing it several feet (a few meters) above the bin would work, but it would probably be better to have a solid cover with screen sides. If the sides were separated from the bin by a foot or two (.5 meters) with a layer of dry material like sawdust on the floor I doubt the newly hatched larvae could make the journey into the bin.

I hope that made sense. I think a screen enclosure something like I'm using for BSF reproduction would be more than adequate for keeping BSF from infiltrating the worm bins.

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Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:47 am
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
Jerry wrote:
I hope that made sense. I think a screen enclosure something like I'm using for BSF reproduction would be more than adequate for keeping BSF from infiltrating the worm bins.
Yes that's what I was thinking too but it's probably not what the worn bin owner would be wanting to hear.

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Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:12 am
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
Actually I think it could be a lot smaller and still work assuming a solid top as opposed to a screen top. I think .5 meters distance from each side and a solid top should do it.

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Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:20 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
I also suggested your method for harvesting immature larvae (link). Not sure if that would attract worms too.

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Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:45 am
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
Hello,
I am new to this site and trying to get information about BSFL in my worm bin. I have had them before- in previous years (only in summer) but this summer- there a more than I have ever seen before roughly a 200-500. And I see tons of eggs- which I guess maybe I never noticed before?

I have always thought they were okay but now I wonder if they are okay. Again just b/c the volume of BSFL in my worm bin.

I do worm composting as a way to recycle. I don't know much about it all together- but it has worked for 5 years for me. Can anyone tell me if BSFL in my worm bin is a problem?

Thank you for any information

Jenni


Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
jennjenincolumbia wrote:
... I do worm composting as a way to recycle. I don't know much about it all together- but it has worked for 5 years for me. Can anyone tell me if BSFL in my worm bin is a problem?

Jenni firstly welcome to our forum :) If you'd like you can introduce yourself here (link).

If recycling is your primary goal then either BSFL or worms will do what you want. However there are some problems with having the two species in the same bin:

1. BSFL process food waste rapidly releasing a lot of moisture from the waste in a hurry. Purpose built BSFL bins have drainage systems but worm bins may not. This can make conditions in the bin soupy and not attractive for worms.

2. BSF are seasonal so if they drive the worms out they may not be around in the winter when the BSFL are absent.

There are probably other concerns and hopefully others will chime in here.

If you have a wild population of BSF we would love to add your location to our Black Soldier Fly Mapping Project (link). See the 'Range and Identification' section (link) for instructions.

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Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:39 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
Thank you for the information. The worm bin does have a drain spout I leave in the open position. I collect the tea (waste) and use it to fertilize my plants. I also use the old worm bedding when planting new plants- and plant the red wiggler worms too.

I feel concerned for my red wiggler worms: (

It is interesting, to me that some people say the "grubs" are not a problem in the bin. I would not be worried about them except this year the numbers of grubs/BSFL are unbelievable. Again I have seen them in the years past- just never this many. Maybe there are closer to a thousand. It is hard to know. I don't like to look at them as much as I do my red wiggler worms. They kind of freak me out....however I have been trying to tell myself they are okay.

I feel at a loss- b/c I am not unsure as to what to do. Is it possible to get rid of them? I don't want to kill them, but I also don't want them to kill my red wiggler worms.....

Jenni


Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:58 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin
Jenni there are a few suggestions in the previous posts above.

I'd suggest trying this method for harvesting immature larvae (link). You could give the larvae away or even sell them (pet stores sell them for about a dime a piece).

I have my worm bin inside a 'bag' made from curtain sheers. I use it to contain fungus gnats but it should work to keep out the gravid BSF females. You'll have to keep an eye out for any egg clusters deposited and destroy them.

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Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:21 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bins
There's some information in this article on http://www.edthatmatters.com

Composting Using Black Soldier Flies (BSF) and Their Effect On Earth Worm Bins (link)

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Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:30 am
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bins
Thought I'd cross post this here as I often link to this thread in reply to posts on vermiculture related forums requesting help about this problem.

Tarvus wrote:
(link)
BorealWormer wrote:
Thanks Tarvus. I was hoping you'd stop by as you've been in the 'hothouse' so to speak. Did you ever have any issues with BSF in your worm bins?

Worm bins are BSF magnets in my experience, BW. Having kept worms in both Georgia and Florida, I have never had a worm bin that did not attract BSF eventually. I feel they are actually beneficial for worms - churning food that is inedible by worms into smaller worm-consumable chunks inoculated with beneficial bacteria and susceptible to various fungae which is what the worms eat.

My initial BSF experience started with compost piles in which both worms and BSF thrived.

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Fri May 23, 2014 12:26 am
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bins
I think size is key. My first bsf came as contamination in some worms I bought from florida. I didn't know them and had a small bin and as the bsfl rapidly expanded the worms died out. I later have measured soldier masses to be 148F, so I now beleive they simply steamed my worms to death. However since then by dealing with much larger bins and having lots of leaves and paper in my worms the seem to not be such a problem. I do agree though that it's impossible for me to keep my worm bins free of bsfl.


Fri May 23, 2014 1:06 pm
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Post Re: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bins
I placed some worms up one end of the compost pile. They have migrated to the perifery of where the BSFL congregate and partipate in the leftovers keeping a cool distance. They seem to be doing well.


Sun May 25, 2014 8:03 am
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