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 Trying to breed indoors? 
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Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:31 am
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Post Trying to breed indoors?
Hello all.
I'm currently attempting to breed BSFL indoors in a large shed. There are windows to the south and small ones to the west, though a tree prevents late day sunlight from entering the western windows. I have several windows open slightly, and I find the adults often hang out on the screens. I have yet to see any mating, however. I may have missed it though, I saw a small white larvae today in the bin... I've started leaving the light on in the shed, though I've been reading they need TONS of light to be triggered to breed.
Should I enclose them in a smaller cage so I can put more light on them? What lights have been successful without the addition of direct sunlight? Most indoor success stories I read also have a small time each day where direct sunlight was used.
The idea is I want to get an indoor population going steady so I have a continuous supply of larvae through the winter. I plan to heat the shed so they continue to develop. There may be some direct sunlight for much of the day in winter, as the angle of the sun will shine right through those south windows. I'll have to leave them closed for warmth, however, so no UVB for them then...


Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:33 pm
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
Aziara welcome to our forum :) If you'd like you can introduce yourself here (link).

You may want to look at the Small Scale Indoor Breeding topic (link) for some ideas although your project sounds a bit larger in scale. Here's a short summary of lighting used by people who have been successful with indoor breeding of BSF (link)

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


Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:44 pm
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
Oh! For some reason I thought that thread only was one page :oops: I'm not used to this forum yet.
Looks like trying to keep them happy is easier in a smaller space. I think I'll try a big clear Rubbermaid tote with 3 100watt-equivilent compact fluorescents, possibly in reflectors. Looks like someone on the thread had success with a similar setup.


Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:10 pm
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
I've moved the adults and pupae to a big rubbermaid. The spiders had figured out that the adults liked the windows, and kept webs set up no matter how often I tore them down.
I still haven't seen any breeding, though I see a lot of buzzing and wrestling when I have the lights on, which is from approximately 9:30 am to 3 pm.
I couldn't find compact fluorescents, walmart no longer carries them due to mercury concerns. I'm using some leds instead. It nice, because they can land right on the bulb and not get burnt. I have 2 of these bulbs, and this is what my enclosure looks like:
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The side light has a hole in the wall, so there's no obstruction. There is a screen on the top for ventilation, and that's where the top light sits. The little cans have some compost in them from the larvae bin. There's loose dirt and pupae all over the floor. I occasionally spritz the walls with water.

Do I need more/different lighting? Or have I not given them long enough to breed?


Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:03 pm
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
Aziara wrote:
... Do I need more/different lighting? Or have I not given them long enough to breed?
I think the lighting should be fine for the size of the bin. Do you have any egg traps? See BSF egg traps made easy (link)

What are the temperatures in the bin?

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Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:55 pm
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
The temperature tends to be slightly higher than the rest of the shed, so probably mid 80's until this recent cool snap, so probably upper 70's right now. If it gets below 70's I'm going to start heating the building.
I hadn't built any sort of egg trap, every time I've done it with wild, free flying adults, they always choose to lay their eggs directly on the wall of whatever the compost is in. I figured they'd do the same with the small cans, but perhaps I do need an egg trap.
Is breeding particularly quick? I know the local 'lovebugs' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovebug stick together for most of their adult lives, so I guess I'm expecting something similar.
I changed out the little compost cans to some fresh wet chicken feed. I know the smell of that after a few days (when it starts to turn) definitely draws in wild females, so I'm hoping for the same reaction in the box.


Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:17 am
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
The egg traps are not a necessity but placed close to the food source they can be an easy way to find and quantify egg clutches. University researchers would use them in cages which had no other attractive sites for the gravid females to lay their eggs.

Your temperatures sound find and mating flies will remain coupled for a few minutes.

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Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:38 am
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
Based on my little experience and observations, I'd say that the mating process is quite violent.

There are papers arguing that these flies do have have optimal light characteristics that will induce mating. From my observations of mating that i have seen under sunlight, I'm under the impression that these flies procreate like cats. The male will try to hump the female without consent, or at least that what I feel whenever I have see the process occur.

Sunlight is a bunch of things and very different in nature with respect to artificial light in terms of content, distance, colors and intensities , I believe it's about finding the right combination (if there even is a light bulb with such right combination.)

I've been unsuccessful with HPS, MH, and CMH light bulbs. I have are a huge number of reasons of why it might not be working, but there are so many factors hard to control with artificial lights that it's hard to make a plan to filter the failure causes.

I'm thinking it might be greenhouse design time for me.


Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:04 pm
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
Rickydilia wrote:
I have are a huge number of reasons of why it might not be working, but there are so many factors hard to control with artificial lights that it's hard to make a plan to filter the failure causes.
I'm thinking it might be greenhouse design time for me.


It gets even more complicated than that ......
Some lighting combinations will indeed produce egg clusters, but a high percentage can also be sterile.
It's a pity that egg fertility was not addressed in the 'Zhang Paper'.
Greenhouses also have their problems, i.e. humidity and temperature can be hard to control.


Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:26 am
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Post Re: Trying to breed indoors?
I thinking herding this flies with lights like a shepherd does to sheep might be a good idea. We don't need to have them in a greenhouse all the time, just when we want them to procreate, and even then, according to Tomberlin and co., most matings will happen in the morning time. So having a 24/7 greenhouse seems a waste to me when the rest of their cycle does not require the same sunlight.

I'm thinking, only when there is certainty that will be sunlight in the morning, the greenhouse should be heated and humidify to the ideal mating levels.

I like the idea of economizing the greenhouse time and usage, but how can we tame & move these flies with :idea: :idea: :idea: ?


Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:00 pm
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