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 how to work with BSF tea 
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Post how to work with BSF tea
I've never worked with the tea so I could use some advice. If I understand correctly "tea" would be castings soaked in water and strained, whereas the pure liquid waste from composting is called leachate.

I'm regularly flushing my black soldier fly composters with water so I have a fair volume of tea. It seems to be rich in nutrients based on the dark color. I often leave a unit completely flooded for a few hours or overnight and I believe there is a lot of fine material in the liquid. That's part of why I'm flushing the units; to wash out the very fine particles so that the units don't clog.

I'm not likely to have a lot of extra time to research brewing and using the tea so any basic advice is welcomed.

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


Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:57 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Hi Jerry,

technically, according to my buddy Gordon Wybo (worm raiser extraordinaire), the tea terminology is properly used for brewing worm castings or other microbial products in a process that feeds them (molasses) and has a good deal of aeration. Leachate is often referred to as tea, but it is a more complex mix of stuff resulting from a compost pile or the soil bin runoff occurring with a Garden Tower , as I understand it presently. Tea is basically water with an exponential growth of aerobic microbes, thousands of species in a good batch, and whatever molasses is left over from their feeding. Some folks add other amendments to beef up the nutrient quality and thereby enhance their foliar spraying of the end product. Fish emulsion, seaweed liquids, etc. Some consider those as custom tea blends. Leachate is more of a hit-or-miss proposition. Good stuff but variable in composition, microbes etc. I like both of them for their different compositions. Leachate has the humic and fulvic acids and their related gels and chelated minerals in it. It is richer in many respects.

I did a ton of flushing my first year and took buckets of it and left a scent trail down the driveway that led to my bins. I don't really know if it worked, but I had a ton of flies laying. One day I think I counted 50. I don't know how that stacks up to other areas of the country. I saw a video last night of a garden that was jam-packed with BSF, many of them mating. Once I figure out how to downsize my photos I'll update on the row of bins with the gutter-to-bucket system I have here.

I ran across a picture of your indoor/outdoor system. That looks really great. I'm tempted to give it a try. Nice work there!!


Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:22 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Oh, and yes, most folks strain out the residual castings, especially if they're using a sprayer to apply. I leave them in occasionally when I'm just drenching my Garden Towers. The more the merrier sort of thing.


Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:25 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Quote:
technically, according to my buddy Gordon Wybo (worm raiser extraordinaire), the tea terminology is properly used for brewing worm castings or other microbial products in a process that feeds them (molasses) and has a good deal of aeration.

Thanks John. Is this what you would recommend I do with the liquid I get from flushing my units?

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


Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:03 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Hi Jerry,

I'll ask Gordon what he thinks about that. I'd think that if it smells good there's likely a bunch of good microbes in your leachate and the aeration with molasses would up their numbers considerably. Whether it would change the smell towards greater BSF attraction than it already has, I don't know. We've both had good success with straight leachate poured over scraps so I think it would be difficult to determine. One benefit I can see is the reduction of any anaerobic bacteria in the leachate. Especially if you put a bit of BioZome in the aeration bucket you brew in.

We're mostly involved in the soil enrichment side of things in what we're doing here and the bacteria and fungi that we know are in worm tea is exactly what we want in great numbers for the numerous things they do to create fertile soil, guide plant roots, symbiotically interact on carb/mineral exchange with plants and so on. I haven't looked at the microbial side of BSF bins. With worms, they are transported in their gut and then into the soil and to the plant roots and some are involved in breaking down the worm's food sources. A wider population of aerobic bacteria in a BSF bin might be a really good thing. But that would be as easy as sprinkling some worm castings in there to get churned around and distributed. It might speed up the breakdown of food, as if the BSF's really need that. ;)

Another benefit of a wider population of aerobic species could be to reduce the presence of anaerobic bacteria.

I guess it's one of those things where it's not required but certainly doesn't hurt and might help in other ways than just potential attraction.


Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:37 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Thanks John. My primary interest with the BSF tea wouldn't be as an attractant but as a soil amendment. Now that I'm up and running for the season I'm not thinking much about attracting BSF. I'm creating a large volume of liquid by flushing several units and I would like to do something productive with it. I have a buddy who is an avid gardener and he might run some tests on plants for me.

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


Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:49 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Driftwood wrote:
Once I figure out how to downsize my photos I'll update on the row of bins with the gutter-to-bucket system I have here.


I use Microsoft Paint. You probably have that on your PC already. Just open the pic in Paint, click the resize button and you can resize by percentage or by a specific pixel size. Quick and simple! 8-)


Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:17 am
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Thanks Tarvus,

does it matter what the setting on the camera was?

Is it better to use a raw file or JPeg when using Paint?

I'm having a lot of fun these days now that I have a hand-me-down SLR from my wife. Bugs, wildlife, plants etc.
But my knowledge is slim to none on settings.


Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:53 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
hey Jerry,
oops, I kinda went off the track there. I saw Tarvus' picture of the tree he planted and my eyes popped out. :shock: I'm getting some fig tree cuttings soon and will definitely use the BSF compost mixed with sand to start them. One thought for soil amendment is that if you have access to worm castings you can either use them in the tea brew or just top dress and cover them with some soil and then every time you water with straight leachate, the nutrients and aerobic microbes from the castings leach down into the soil and to the plant roots. Brewing with them is best though if you can. 24-36 hours with as many bubbles as you can make with whatever airpump. And then use the tea ASAP - definitely within 24 hours. Some folks run more than one airstone at the bottom of their brew bucket. I think it depends on the pump maybe. I do about ten gallons at a time in my vortex brewer and use equal volumes of molasses and castings. Usually a full standard size glass measuring cup of each.


Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:10 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Driftwood wrote:
Thanks Tarvus,

does it matter what the setting on the camera was?

Is it better to use a raw file or JPeg when using Paint?

I'm having a lot of fun these days now that I have a hand-me-down SLR from my wife. Bugs, wildlife, plants etc.
But my knowledge is slim to none on settings.


I think Paint will open most image files, Driftwood. Whatever the file type, I always save the edited file as a jpeg since the file size for jpegs tends to be smaller and quicker to upload. 640X480 is adequate size for just about any pic you want to post online.


Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:37 pm
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
first try on resized picture

There's usually 3 or 4 females buzzing around when the tea is brewing.


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Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:14 am
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
I seem to remember reading that earthworm tea, mixed with molasses and water and aerated has to be used soon after it's finished, that you can't store it. I think the reason is because the explosion of microbes can't be supported for very long, they die, and then they stink.

Personally, I would "finish" it by soaking a bunch of biochar in it for 8-10 hrs or so, then add all of it to your soil, char and tea both.

WARNING! These suggestions are based on a faulty memory. What I know and what I think I know could be two entirely different things. :shock:

Sue


Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:41 am
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Post Re: how to work with BSF tea
Driftwood wrote:
first try on resized picture
Might have overdone it a bit ;) As Tarvus mentioned " 640X480 is adequate size" or even 800x600 fits the forum nicely.

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Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:01 pm
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