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 Newbie questions 
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:52 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Modesto CA
Post Newbie questions
Hi all,
I'm new to this and have a few questions.
Just put my BSF eggs from Jerry in my new bin.
1. How long before I start rinsing the bin?
I would think the tiny larvae would wash out at this stage.
Yet I know it's good for the health of the colony.
2. If they all self harvest, do I put some back in the bin to keep the cycle going?
I'm guessing I wouldn't want to harvest them all.
3. I couldn't get a pic (to quick for me), but the other day I saw what maybe a BSF go in.
But it had clear wings, looked like slight yellow stripes on the back.
Are they all completely black in color or could this be one?
4. Winter is close. I am in California so the coldest it gets is 25-35 degrees.
Is there a way to preserve the colony for next season? I'd like to help some from dying off this winter.
They will be in my garage
Thanks so much


Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:51 pm
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:35 pm
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Location: Central Florida, USA
Post Re: Newbie questions
Hi Bluechicks, thanks for joining the forum!

Quote:
1. How long before I start rinsing the bin?
I would think the tiny larvae would wash out at this stage.

Yes, I would wait a few weeks before flushing. Ideally you should wait until you see evidence that your local BSF have started laying eggs in your composter. When you do flush you can pass the effluent (liquid waste) through a fine mesh strainer to catch most of the larvae.

Quote:
2. If they all self harvest, do I put some back in the bin to keep the cycle going?

Once they turn dark and self harvest they will be ready to pupate. I recommend protecting them through pupation while you're trying to build up the colony. You can do that by placing the dark larvae in a container with a lid, with a few inches of sawdust, wood shavings, coir, etc. The container must have holes near the top so the adult BSF can get out when they emerge in a few weeks. You may see some large light colored juveniles in the collection container. They're usually ready to turn dark soon so you can just put them in the pupation container along with the dark larvae.

Quote:
3. I couldn't get a pic (to quick for me), but the other day I saw what maybe a BSF go in.
But it had clear wings, looked like slight yellow stripes on the back.
Are they all completely black in color or could this be one?

They're black with purple highlights in certain lighting. The legs are white and black:
Attachment:
adult-15-minutes-after-emergence-from-pupation-800px.jpg
adult-15-minutes-after-emergence-from-pupation-800px.jpg [ 73.77 KiB | Viewed 4261 times ]


Quote:
4. Winter is close. I am in California so the coldest it gets is 25-35 degrees.
Is there a way to preserve the colony for next season? I'd like to help some from dying off this winter.
They will be in my garage

In areas where BSF are found in the wild, I assume they overwinter in the larval or prepupal stage. There have been cases where BSF composters have been insulated and maintained through the winter. I tried it last year, but like you I live in a mild climate and almost all of my larvae pupated. There's potential for working with BSF during winter, but I have little experience with it. Hopefully someone with more knowledge will have some suggestions.

I hope that helps.

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


Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:17 pm
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:52 pm
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Location: Modesto CA
Post Re: Newbie questions
Thank you Jerry, that helps so much :)


Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:19 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:52 am
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Location: SW Florida
Post Re: Newbie questions
I am experimenting with a dry bin with great success. If you feed things like melon and tomatoes, you are going to see anaerobic conditions far faster than with dry feedstock. My recommendation when starting out is to keep things relatively dry. Once you start to have multiple generations in your bin, rinse as you see fit. By "relatively dry" I mean a dampness level similar to used coffee grounds (which are excellent by the way) or leftover pancakes.


Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:33 pm
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Post Re: Newbie questions
Thanks for sharing this MRW. Alternative approaches are great, and may be more attractive to certain people.

It seems to me that wetter waste might create a better scent trail, and would be faster for initially attracting BSF. I haven't had issues with excessively anaerobic conditions using a wet method, but perhaps a drier approach will be easier for some people. It's nice to have options.

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


Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:24 am
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Newbie questions
I am having trouble with finding a way to make a pupatiin bin. Mine is just a plastic bin with some ripped up paper products with water applied every so often to provide humidity.
I am pretty sure I know what BSFL look like, but there are these very small larvae that look like that could be BSFL but they crawl with the dull end of their body and what looks like the mouth of a BSFL seems to be their tail.
I also need help on identifying BSFL eggs and young hatchlings I can really only identify pre-pupae and pupae.

Please help! :D


Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:17 am
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Post Re: Newbie questions
Compostingguy16 welcome to our forum :) If you'd like you can introduce yourself here (link).

Your pupation bin sounds good especially misting the bin to provide some humidity. Could you post a picture of the larvae? You should also take a look at the These Are Not The Larvae You Are Looking For (link) and Photo reference guide for identifying Black Soldier Flies (link) topics. Lots of photos of larvae in those to help you.

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Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:42 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Newbie questions
These are the larvae I am not sure about. Sorry couldn't get a great photo.


Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:37 pm
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Post Re: Newbie questions
Does anyone know how to upload a picture. I cannot upload my unknown larvae picture.


Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:54 pm
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Post Re: Newbie questions
How To Add Videos and Pictures To Your Posts(link)

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


Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:14 pm
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Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:09 am
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Post Re: Newbie questions
I agree with Jerry about that .....


Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:55 am
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Post Re: Newbie questions
I'm trying to set up an indoor system. I put a container of 600 larvae in with 3-5 inches of random kitchen scraps. They system was working fine but now, all of them have hatched and died and none of them have reproduced. I don't have a way to control humidity or temperature. I have them in a 6x6x6ft mesh box. The compost bin I have them in is about 1.5ftx2ft and 3 inches of wood shavings and 3-5 inches of compost. I have a small tray of water with mesh on the walls so that they can climb out. What should change?


Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:29 pm
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Post Re: Newbie questions
LReed welcome to our forum :) If you'd like you can introduce yourself here (link).

LReed wrote:
... I don't have a way to control humidity or temperature. I have them in a 6x6x6ft mesh box.
The flies require controlled conditions to mate including strong lighting and high humidity. Is your mesh box exposed to sunlight or do you use artificial lighting?

Quote:
... The compost bin I have them in is about 1.5ftx2ft and 3 inches of wood shavings and 3-5 inches of compost. I have a small tray of water with mesh on the walls so that they can climb out. What should change?
See the Small Scale Indoor Breeding topic (link) for some ideas on what has worked for other folks.

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


Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:57 pm
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