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 could use some help, please! 
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:11 pm
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Location: Denton, TX
Post could use some help, please!
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File comment: Inside view of ramp
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File comment: outside view of BSFL container
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I just finished my habitat for growing BSFL. I have several 40 gal water tanks that are food grade plastic on inside and fiberglass on outside. I cut tank in half, (see pic) and built pvc drainage system into the tank. In the bottom of the tank I put some charcoal from oak and other tree limbs I recently burned, then above that I have wood chips. then on top of that are food scraps and BSFL. I have, I believe several thousand BSFL in the food scraps that are in the tank. I see a lot of activity from BSF snooping around to lay eggs. I built the ramp for the BSFL to crawl up out of 1" flexible conduit. it is anchored at the bottom and top into some pvc fittings. the ramp angle is approx 35 degrees. My problem is it's been set up for two days and I can't see any BSFL climbing up the ramp. Is there something I am missing? Any ideas will be appreciated.
Thanks


Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:46 pm
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
There could be several reasons.

It may be that the larvae are pupating in your bin. They'll do this if it's dry enough that the conditions are favorable for pupation. Also the larvae need condensation to crawl up steep inclines (they use surface tension of water). You could try misting the inside of the bin.

On the the other hand, if it is wet enough the larvae may be climbing the walls of the bin and escaping that way. In this case 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 (link) and there are also the mechanical barriers used by PeteB (link) and (link).

Also, if you have a chance could you post a picture of an adult fly?

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Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:21 pm
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:35 pm
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
Hi SG. Welcome to the forum.

Everything BW wrote is true.

Keeping that in mind I'll add a few comments. To begin with, two days isn't much time to judge your results. I've had some experience with similar ramp designs, and this type of ramp can work but the efficiency isn't very high. The larvae in your unit are more likely to crawl on top the hose than inside it. Cutting a hole or two in the top of the tubing might result in the larvae on top dropping down into the tube and out your exit.

It's important to understand that the larvae don't seek/understand a ramp, they crawl randomly in an effort to get away from the waste once they've finished eating and are ready to pupate. A ramp is basically a barrier (to staying on a horizontal path), and with a barrier on top we can "funnel" them where we want them. In the photo below you can see that when crawling right to left, the ramp channels them up while the Velcro barrier prevents them from moving straight up. The wedge this creates is what channels them to the exit plumbing. It's hard to adapt this to a round container, but maybe that will help in some way.

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6 gal composter - inside 1 800px.jpg
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Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:35 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:11 pm
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Location: Denton, TX
Post Re: could use some help, please!
Thanks for your feedback BW,
Quote:
It may be that the larvae are pupating in your bin. They'll do this if it's dry enough that the conditions are favorable for pupation. Also the larvae need condensation to crawl up steep inclines (they use surface tension of water). You could try misting the inside of the bin.


It may be to dry. How do you determine how much moisture to allow in the bin. I installed pvc drain in bottom and drained all of the water out after flushing unit. I am not seeing any larva crawing on sides of the bin.

Thanks for feedback Jerry,
I looked at the post by PeteB and will see what I can do to improve on my ramp design. I wasn't trying to reinvent the wheel, just attempting to use what I have available, maybe I need to just copy your design.

I will send pics of some adult BSF later today when I see them.

SG


Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:57 am
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
Since you've got several water tanks, you could possibly consider something like this. link Then you've got no ramp to worry about. ;)


Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:29 am
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
Thanks Pete,

My original idea was along that line, but I did not spend much time developing it. I will see what I can do with your drawings to improve on my design.
Does the drain need to be as close to the lowest part of the tank as possible, my tanks have a rounded bottom. with drain in center of the bottom, if I tip it to approx. 35 degrees, the current drain will be several inches above the lowest point in the tank. I'm not sure how to deal installing a drain into the curved area of the tank and getting it to seal completely.
Any ideas regarding this would be helpful.
Thanks again,
SG


Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:51 am
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
Drain location is no critical, but it helps to have it as low as possible. Cutting a hole on one of the sides is also possible.
This is my method of dealing with drains on curves.


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Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:12 am
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
Thanks one more time
SG


Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:19 am
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
SmilingGrandpa wrote:
... It may be to dry. How do you determine how much moisture to allow in the bin. I installed pvc drain in bottom and drained all of the water out after flushing unit.
SG sorry but I missed the fact that you're flushing bin. As you are, it's unlikely that it's too dry. Also, if it was there would be a lot of the empty pupal cases (puparia) left in your bin.

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Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:50 am
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
I guess I'm a little confused as to how much liquid should be in the bin. I have flushed my bin several times, then left it drained. Do I need to keep a certain % of water in the bin or do I need to drain it mostly?


Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:00 am
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
Jerry would know for sure as he developed this method but I believe you drain as much as possible.

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Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:05 am
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Post Re: could use some help, please!
SmilingGrandpa wrote:
I guess I'm a little confused as to how much liquid should be in the bin. I have flushed my bin several times, then left it drained. Do I need to keep a certain % of water in the bin or do I need to drain it mostly?


Most BSF bins tend to be wet due to the waste being processed, especially in humid climates. If you add regular flushing, the waste is most likely very moist, even with thorough draining which is what I do.

Besides leaving the waste moist, flushing will normally result in an immediate migration out of the unit of a large percentage prepupal larvae.

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


Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:05 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:11 pm
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Location: Denton, TX
Post Re: could use some help, please!
Thanks Jerry,

I'm still not seeing any activity on my ramp, I'm thinking maybe the entrance is not be best. May give PeteB's tilted setup, actually that was my first idea, but I didn't have it set up quite right.

I'll keep y'all posted on my progess.

Thanks again for all the help and ideas!


Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:42 pm
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