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 Small Scale Indoor Breeding 
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Post Re: First Digs
Skilletlicker wrote:
... any advice on where I'm at so far and why immature larvae seem to be migrating to the second tub would be very helpful.
Using the bedding the larvae came in for the second tub is a good idea. Coir is fine too.

For what to feed them see What foods do BSF really like to eat, a list (link)

The ramp system is usually effective in larger bins but there will always be immature larvae mixed in. Since you're looking to use BSFL to feed smaller fish you might want to use a single tub with something like 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.

Image


Forty minutes later:
Image

Alternately you can just place a slice of bread on the surface of the bin contents for a few minutes, then lift it off. Both these methods work because only the light colored immature larvae eat.

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BorealWormer

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


Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:31 am
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Location: Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Post New Colony Revolts
There was a large-scale revolt in the new colony today. Larvae climbed out of both the feeding tub and the pupating tub. The escape continued out of the 1½-gallon storage bin into and then out of the shoebox. Some were found under the microwave, computer keyboard and on the floor. I'm wondering if they were just trying to escape the heat. The temperature inside the apartment was about 85°F and shortly after taking the lid off the larvae bin, an instant-read thermometer showed 85°.
Lessons learned:
  • Grubs don't need a ramp to get out of a straight-sided plastic container.
  • The lips on the outside top of containers are a significant obstacle for getting back into it though.
Combined the two tubs into a larger one that should permit easier reentry and put wet coir into the bottom of the small storage bin where hopefully they will pupate when ready. Picture below. Is this sound, at least for the time being?
Attachment:
2ndTempHousing.jpg
2ndTempHousing.jpg [ 105.69 KiB | Viewed 207 times ]

Read through this thread beginning to end. Will need to do so again following more of links but at least I think I have an overview. One thing is clear. I was imagining a Smaller Scale Indoor Breeding system than what seems to be commonly used. It is possible that the scale I had in mind is not workable. BorealWormer is using a 53-liter storage tote. If that's the smallest practical size then that's what I'll use. I would like this to succeed the first time and don't think I'm smart enough to invent the new wheel. When I decided to do this I thought I could use the top tier of this worm bin. The tray is 11.25" x11.25 x 5" deep and the lid raises the ceiling 4" center front and 2" sides and back. I wondered if that was enough flying space for the adults. Since then I've been persuaded that it isn't a good idea because red wigglers and soldier flies don't make good housemates regardless of the attic space. But how small can I go without being in that extreme where everything is a struggle? Is a 20-Qt., 19-L bin big enough to supply two hungry, growing goldfish? 2½ years ago you said you didn't know how small a container would work. Clearly, you are learning as well as teaching. Any ideas now? If so I will defer to your experienced judgment. This might be pressing the matter but [b]any ideas on the relative size required for feeding vs. pupation vs. flying space?[/b]

On 6/22/2014 BorealWormer, you wrote that you were feeding 3,000 to 4,000 larvae 6 grams daily with 20 to 80 adults. How many grams of larvae per day were you harvesting? When mine first arrived they seemed to be about 0.10 grams each. What is the rule of thumb for the weight of BSFL?

You also wrote, after your system was up 1 year, there were fewer larvae escapes possibly due to a more mature and diverse ecosystem. Which makes perfect sense to me having fairly recently learned a little about maintaining fish in a very small aquaponic system. Are we talking about something akin to nitrogen cycling and growing colonies of beneficial bacteria? If so maybe I should plan on either using fish tank water in the BSF system or at least dechlorinated water. At one point you mentioned using rain or snow water which reinforced that idea.


Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:37 am
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Post Re: Small Scale Indoor Breeding
As you're probably figuring out raising BSFL will be a lot different from raising worms. Their need to fly to mate and crawl off to pupate really complicates indoor bins.

The larvae climb vertical surfaces using the surface tension of water. 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). I experimented with an electric 'fence' (link) but I don't think as practical as the others.

I'll try to answer your questions in point form later.

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BorealWormer

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


Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:03 am
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Post Re: New Colony Revolts
Skilletlicker wrote:
Is this sound, at least for the time being?
Quote:
That will keep your larvae alive and allow them to pupate. The adult flies probably won't reproduce as they need space, light, heat and humidity. There are lots of examples in this thread of various indoor bins which can provide these conditions.

Quote:
But how small can I go without being in that extreme where everything is a struggle? Is a 20-Qt., 19-L bin big enough to supply two hungry, growing goldfish? 2½ years ago you said you didn't know how small a container would work. Clearly, you are learning as well as teaching. Any ideas now? If so I will defer to your experienced judgment.This might be pressing the matter but any ideas on the relative size required for feeding vs. pupation vs. flying space?
A larger bin is better if you have the space. It allows a bit of a buffer if you need a constant supply of live larvae. 19L might be a little small but good for experimenting.

Quote:
On 6/22/2014 BorealWormer, you wrote that you were feeding 3,000 to 4,000 larvae 6 grams daily with 20 to 80 adults. How many grams of larvae per day were you harvesting?
I've never done regular harvesting so can't really give you a number. My setup is more of a long term experiment on how long an indoor system can last.

Quote:
When mine first arrived they seemed to be about 0.10 grams each. What is the rule of thumb for the weight of BSFL?
"Counts of mature BSF per unit of weight - 5556/kg or 158/oz or 2525/lb" (link)

Quote:
... You also wrote, after your system was up 1 year, there were fewer larvae escapes possibly due to a more mature and diverse ecosystem. Which makes perfect sense to me having fairly recently learned a little about maintaining fish in a very small aquaponic system. Are we talking about something akin to nitrogen cycling and growing colonies of beneficial bacteria? If so maybe I should plan on either using fish tank water in the BSF system or at least dechlorinated water. At one point you mentioned using rain or snow water which reinforced that idea.
I can still have larvae crawling up the sides of the bin when the bin is in sunlight and there's condensation on the walls. I minimize this by keeping humidity in the bin below the point where condensation on the walls occurs.

Using rainwater, or distilled water, makes sense as it mimics what the larvae and flies would experience in the wild. I imagine fish tank water would be much the same.

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BorealWormer

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


Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:29 pm
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Post Re: Small Scale Indoor Breeding
BorealWormer wrote:
As you're probably figuring out raising BSFL will be a lot different from raising worms. Their need to fly to mate and crawl off to pupate really complicates indoor bins.

Yup. Turns out I'm just not willing to devote the space required for their aerial mating. Sara and Maybelle will have to have to enjoy the 500 I started with while they last. To postpone maturation, will stop feeding except as a collection strategy.

Thank you for your very kind explanations and advice.


Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:00 am
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Post Re: Small Scale Indoor Breeding
Some reptile owners have stored the larvae in fridge although I remember a report of the larvae eventually pupating even at these cold temperatures. As long as they're in fairly dry material it should work in the short term.

How do your fish like earth worms? Worm bins are so much easier to operate.

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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 Dec 03, 2018 11:22 am
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