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 Should I start over? 
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Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:05 pm
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Post Should I start over?
I’ve only had my bin going for about a week or so, but I think I botched things. Some background first – I know some are going to find this gross, but it’s what I did. I thought my husband was going to be able to build the official bin about a month before he did, so I started collecting BSFL from the recently filled and removed composting pooper ‘bucket’ (very large). It had LOTS of BSFL. At about that time, one of the lambs on our farm died so I put him in a thick black plastic garbage bag and covered him with many thousands of BSFL. The pooper had a lot of sawdust in it. I know that the larvae can’t eat the sawdust, but it came with them.

So – the lamb is long gone and never did smell particularly bad. Not a good smell by any means, but not what you would expect from a carcass. I think I’ve got second or third generation grubs as it took so long for my husband to get time freed up to make the bin. I’ve fed them with food waste and UCG and rabbit/guinea pig poop. Unfortunately, the rodent poop has lots of grass, twigs, small parts of left over plant material that didn’t get eaten and fell through the grating with the poop. Mostly cellulose (plant structure) and not something the grubs can eat. More like straw than anything else. In any case, I’ve got many many thousands of grubs, but the medium they’re in has old sawdust, LOTS of lamb hair, and the ‘straw’.

I did a lot of reading before starting but totally missed the concepts of bulking material and rinsing the bin. I just dumped the contents of the garbage bag into the bottom of the bin, added UCG and rodent poop and stirred daily. Today, after reading from this blog, I decided to flush the bin. It has a shower drain at the bottom middle with screen over it. I added about 10 gallons of water and ended up with a horrid soup. The material clogged the drain and even moving my fingers over it rapidly didn’t result in much drainage. I tore off the screen and even the larger holes got plugged but mostly, the medium just absorbed all the water and held on to it. I’m a long time vermicomposter and knew it would turn anaerobic if I left it overnight. I used cheesecloth to squeeze out the water about a half a gallon at a time. I’ve ended up with about 8 gallons of still too wet medium in 4 buckets and about 2 inches of the stuff still on the bottom of the bin. I only got about 2 gallons of the water out! I’ve got plenty of adult flies and want to give the grubs to the chickens, but I know they’re probably crawling out of the buckets as I sit here. Is there any way to salvage the thousands of grubs I’ve got going or should I just dump the whole thing into the (very large) worm bin and start over? I’ve been collecting the small pieces of cardboard tied over the bin with pockets of eggs in a container with a little bit of papaya skin in the bottom, so I have a start, but I don’t want to wait the time it will take them all to hatch and mature to have something for the chickens. I know. I’m impatient. Sorry this is so long. I keep forgetting to bring my camera out to where the grub bin is. I'll try to add some soon.

I’ve had problems with the grubs finding places they want to go other than what I’ve prepared, but I need to solve this problem before worrying about that.


Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:12 pm
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Post Re: Should I start over?
I'll try to provide some links and hopefully others will chime in too.
Susan wrote:
... Is there any way to salvage the thousands of grubs I’ve got going
You might try the Immature Larvae Collection Device or ILCD (old butter tub) (link). This is simply a container with some small holes around the bottom edge. Food is placed in the container which is placed on the surface of the frass. The larvae crawl in through the holes to get at the food and then can be easily harvested.

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Forty minutes later:
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Quote:
... I’ve had problems with the grubs finding places they want to go other than what I’ve prepared

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).

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


Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:33 pm
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Post Re: Should I start over?
Thanks for such a quick response, Boreal Wormer! I put something basically the same in my bin this morning around 9 or 10 am with moist cat kibble (that seems to be what you've got). I just checked now (4pm here) and there's not a single grub in it. I don't get much movement during the day though I've tried to make things as dark as possible. Hopefully I'll have better results in the morning. Would over-ripe banana be any better? Maybe I'll put one of those in the middle on top of the kibble.

I did get some self-harvesting overnight last night, but not much. I don't know how many are escaping never to be seen again. I know before the bin was finished being built, I lost many hundreds and have noticed about a 5x increase in the number of BSF adults.

I did have success with this method when I first got the larvae in the pooper we'd finished filling. At that time, the larvae were very close to the top. Now they're all throughout the mixture of lamb's hair, wood shavings etc. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the morning. I'll start another thread for me next, unrelated, question.

Hey, maybe I should call myself Pelagic Wormer. I'm not personally in the deep ocean, but my islands certainly are!


Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:18 pm
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Post Re: Should I start over?
Here's what I got this morning. Some goo, a few larvae (maybe 5 - I could see the goo wiggling in places.) Not much else. That's moist cat kibble and a banana that have sat there since late yesterday afternoon. You can also see the state of the muck I've created. I've posted a picture of the the 'bait bucket.'

I put the photos on my desktop and tried to attach them below, but it continues to say 'file uploading' for more than 10 minutes and then 'connection timed out.' Connection with my own computer??


Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:44 pm
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Post Re: Should I start over?
Susan wrote:
Here's what I got this morning. Some goo, a few larvae (maybe 5 - I could see the goo wiggling in places.) Not much else. That's moist cat kibble and a banana that have sat there since late yesterday afternoon. You can also see the state of the muck I've created. I've posted a picture of the the 'bait bucket.'
It might be that there's such an abundance of food in your bin that the cat kibble is of no interest to them. Not sure what to suggest. I use a slice of bread to harvest from my small indoor system - maybe try that??

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..I put the photos on my desktop and tried to attach them below, but it continues to say 'file uploading' for more than 10 minutes and then 'connection timed out.' Connection with my own computer??
Make sure to resize your photos to 1000 pixels and see How To Add Videos and Pictures To Your Posts (link)

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BorealWormer

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


Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:20 pm
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Post Re: Should I start over?
There is a lot of food. Rabbit poop and banana peels. I'll leave it there and see what happens. I was chomping at the bit to get started and will just have to be patient. I was even saving old banana peels that I would have given to the worms. I guess I'll give them to the worms now as I'm starting from eggs and it will be a long time before I need a lot of food for them. There will always be more banana peels, rabbit poop and coffee grounds.


Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:26 pm
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