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 Dual Gutter Upgrade 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 7:24 pm
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Post Dual Gutter Upgrade
As you can see, I'm not one to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the "good enough" ;)

I used to have just one gutter, so the crawl off and drainage were mixed.
This design will be much better I think.
I cut out part of the ends of the bins and put screened frames over those holes.
I'll post a couple more pictures once I see if this one looks ok after editing in MS Paint.


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Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:06 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Driftwood wrote:
... I'll post a couple more pictures once I see if this one looks ok after editing in MS Paint.
That's a good size for the forums :)

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BorealWormer

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Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:15 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Here's a front view.
The hinged top is down at night to keep the coons out.
Crawl-off buckets at both ends.
Drainage bucket at one end.


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Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:17 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
here's a view from the other end


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Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:24 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Can you give us some details on your bins? How do the larvae crawl off into the gutters?

Not that you need this but this research project (link on pg 58) used water to flush the larvae from the gutters onto a screen. The water fell into the tub with the pump while the larvae were left to crawl off the screen and fall into a collection bucket. It seems they were having 'traffic jams' in the gutters and larvae were escaping.

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BorealWormer

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Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:32 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Hi BorealWormer - just saw your post as I was getting this one ready.

The square frames are for crawl-off. The mature grubs just cruise around the edges until they find the long cutouts I made in the ends of the bins. They don't seem to mind going downhill, although I've noticed that when they're stressed they tend to cluster at the uphill end. The cuts I made are much taller than I'm going to need because I decided not to let the bins get too full this year. I had it all in motion before I realized that.

These are those bins you find at Home Depot with the yellow lids. I drill holes along the very bottom edge for drainage.

some larvae end up in the drainage gutter, so I just hose it out from one end, pour the drainage bucket through a strainer and put the larvae back into the bins.

lately, as it gets up into the mid 90's here, I'm harvesting early and giving my chickens a big treat. Fans help keep the more active and hot bins dryer and cooler.

I've been adding coarse coir on top of their feedings each time and it helps the texture of the whole pile. They are all smelling really good, just like they should.
I'm dusting with BioZome now and then, as well as sprinkling the bins with worm tea every day for additional microbes.

They're really rocking and the first big crawl-off is due any day now. I have six more bins on the other side that need to be updated with the new design. I've decided to keep the depth of the composting around 4 or 5 inches to reduce the heat. What I did a couple years ago was take larvae from a hot bin and start a new one. I think I'll populate 12 bins in the next few weeks and call it a day. There's dozens of females laying eggs every day, so it's going to be pretty non-linear pretty soon.

Hope you have a great season!!


Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:50 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Driftwood wrote:
...The square frames are for crawl-off. ... These are those bins you find at Home Depot with the yellow lids. I drill holes along the very bottom edge for drainage.
Thanks that explains how the dual level dual gutters work.

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BorealWormer

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Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:02 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
I put wood strips with drilled holes for ovipositing along the top inner edges of the bins.


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Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:22 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Timely upgrade it seems, crawl off began today.

I'd better get back out there and coon-proof the bucket asap.


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Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:39 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Gathering breakfast for the hens.


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Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:08 am
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Our blind hen Hays loves 'em.


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Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:14 am
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
They're crawling off from 4 of the 6 bins today.


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Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:40 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Driftwood wrote:
... The square frames are for crawl-off. The mature grubs just cruise around the edges until they find the long cutouts I made in the ends of the bins ... some larvae end up in the drainage gutter, so I just hose it out from one end, pour the drainage bucket through a strainer and put the larvae back into the bins.
That's a unique bin design. Any idea of the ratio of immature vs prepupal larvae that find their way into the gutters?

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Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:39 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
So far, only mature grubs are getting into the collection gutter. The drainage gutter gets some young and some mature, via drain holes and perhaps crevases where I didn't get the frames flush enough. Maybe 10 percent of overall crawl-off. I spray the drainage gutter with about a gallon of water from the hose and strain out the grubs. The leachate goes into a normal compost pile that's a few feet away so it's pretty easy. I'm feeding those to the chickens for convenience, as opposed to separating out mature from immature. One time it was all immature and I just threw 'em back into a bin.

Ran two fans late today which cover 2 bins each. Everybody seems pretty happy. Yesterday I fed them fermented mung beans from Y2K days. 14 years old but they looked like the day I put 'em in the bucket. Quite a bit of activity today munching on those.


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Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:44 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
In they go to the pupation bin.


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Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:28 am
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Another harvest technique. Dual screened frame with 2 sizes of hardware cloth.
They crawl down and through and most of the compost is left on the screen.


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Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:31 am
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Well, the best laid plans... and all of that jazz. I had the slightest hint of a bin going bad today, with just a few dead ones up top. So I screened out all the larvae from 6 bins and brought them inside to cool down. Slight die-off in two of the bins, way less that one percent. They have some food in their containers, fermented birdseed mix, and they're pretty densely populated. They were measuring around 101 degrees in the house until I put some in front of the A/C and some in the fridge. Got the ones in the fridge down to 94 in about an hour. The A/C cooled ones I've been stirring up and got them down into the mid-80's.

Thinking about simplicity, next time I do infrastructure, if ever, I'm going with plastic cement tubs. Let the flies lay eggs until it seems like enough for one bin, and then use a screened frame to keep them out. Feed the bin, hand-pick mature grubs and put them in the pupation bin. 100 a day would take just a few minutes. Have to keep the compost pile shallow to deter immature crawl off. It's just such an easy shape to deal with and light enough to bring inside for emergencies. I'd use some coir to manage dampness and forego any drainage considerations. The Home Depot bins I've been using are just too deep. There's no way I could come close to maxing them out and have any chance of not losing larvae to overheating. Even with 4 to 5 inches deep, they were probably pushing the limit. I can see why Jerry's figuring out a rinse design, for cooling as well as other things.

Crawl-off would be the issue to solve. Maybe a tight-fitting screen across the top. Don't have to stop all of them, with the kind of numbers I'm seeing here. I can't even guess how many are in the 4 containers I brought in. Easily 100,000. Probably more. It's funny, because we're down to 2 chickens. I think one of them got a stomach ache the other morning.

In lieu of new infrastructure, I think I'm just going to go through the hassle of screening the bins occasionally, and seeing if getting them out of their own waste helps the temperature problem. I'll probably try one large cement tub just to get up the learning curve on it. One thing that's cool about that is how easy it is to dump, stir, wash, etc. Some of the grubs in front of the A/C unit are trying to get out but haven't been successful. The sides are really dry though, with air blowing on them.


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Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:06 am
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
Looks like I'll have to use the flooding cool-down technique. After separating all the larvae and starting the bins fresh, the first two were up to 102 degrees in a matter of hours. So I drilled one inch holes for better drainage. Get some larvae in the drainage gutter but it's manageable. Here's a shot after the first flooding. Well water only gets down to 90, and each flood brings the temp down 2 or 3 degrees, so it takes a few times if the pile is over 100 degrees to start with.


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Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
DW, I wonder if using a lot of coir might help keep the temp down by decreasing the concentration/density of larvae? Also, when I flood a unit I usually leave it that way for a few hours. I wonder if that might be helpful in lowering the temp of the colony...

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Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:52 pm
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Post Re: Dual Gutter Upgrade
I didn't even think about that, but bet you're right and it would give the water more time to absorb the heat. It's kind of late in terms of the design 8-)

It's all good in the sense that there is such a profusion of them this year. I'm having fun handing out baggies to neighbors who have chickens and also sending them to the blog. People always laugh when they hear about it, but there's a fascination once they hear a few details. The pictures you post are really great and I think a lot of people would like to do it in a professional manner, as opposed to my hillbilly thing. I really appreciate this place!!

I noticed that if I don't change clothes for a couple of days the females follow me around. What a hoot. I caught a whif of myself driving up to the corner store a few minutes ago. I'm going to have a T-shirt made somewhere with a big picture of a BSF female on it and maybe a caption that says - "ask me about Black Soldier Flies".

I've got a few more pictures I'll post after this one. Take care out there in Florida land. I used to live on Anna Maria Island off Bradenton back in the 70's, so I've got a real soft-spot for the whole state. Used to dive in the Keys every year and scout out all the old cities like St. Augustine. Loved every minute being there.


Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:17 pm
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