Black Soldier Fly Bio-Composters – 6 gallon (23 liter) and 12 gallon (43 liter)
This system is designed to be operated outdoors, in areas with a wild black soldier fly population. Please confirm that BSF are present in your area before ordering. Our BSF mapping project may help, and you may contact us for an opinion.
Composters are built as orders come in, and the time to ship can be from a few days to a few weeks.
(Shipping anywhere in the U.S. – Please contact us for international rates)
6 Gallon Bio-Composter – Florida residents (SHIPPED TO FL ONLY) $68 + shipping & handling
12 Gallon Bio-Composter – Florida residents (SHIPPED TO FL ONLY) $88+ shipping & handling
6 Gallon Bio-Composter $68+ shipping & handling
12 Gallon Bio-Composter $88+ shipping & handling
The 6 gallon (23 liter) bio-composter has a working (wet) capacity of 5 gallons (19 liters), and will process approximately 2 pounds (1 kg) of household food waster per day, depending on several factors such as type of waste, ambient temperature, colony density, proper maintenance, etc. The 12 gallon bio-composter has 10 gallon (38 liter) wet capacity, and can process approximately 5 pounds (2.2 kg) per day.
Refinements are constantly being made, and I will try to change the photos as needed, but you should expect the unit you receive to be a little different from any photos on this site.
You can navigate to the following link for information about the concept and details of the original version of the 6 gallon unit: LINK
Bulking material – not included (some type of bulking material must be added for proper operation)
This system is designed to be used with some type of bulking material, and the drainage system will not function properly without it. The amount required is between 1/3 and 1/2 of the total volume of the composter. This can include wood mulch, hardwood lump charcoal (see below), pine bark, etc. We have discovered that while pine bark mulch works very well in most cases, some batches contain a lot of resin which can possibly gum up the system. We still prefer pine bark, and if you use a batch that has excess resin you can easily fix the issue by rinsing with Dawn Ultra dish soap. For more on our experience with pine bark you can read the following forum post: LINK
Hardwood lump charcoal (biochar) – not included
We have successfully used biochar as half of the bulking material, and in theory, charcoal could have advantages in a BSF composter. If you would like to research biochar this article is a good place to start: LINK
The charcoal we use is sold for cooking on barbecue grills, and is fairly common. Here are a few links were it is sold: LINK LINK Lump charcoal is different than charcoal briquettes which we do not recommend. Lump charcoal typically comes in irregular shapes and sizes, and it’s probably best to break it into pieces that are approximately 1 inch/2.5cm square or smaller, but not so small that it could clog the drainage slots. You can easily break it up with a hammer.
Advice about any aspect of using this composter is available at our forum. This is much better than answering questions via email because everyone benefits by making the answers public. Another benefit of the forum is that the entire community is able to answer questions so a wider knowledge base is available. Registering and posting comments on the forum is a simple process and we will be happy to help with the process as needed. The registration link is located in the upper left corner of the forum: FORUM
You may find the Bio-composter support section of our forum here: LINK
We normally use FedEx ground to ship the composters to the 48 contiguous United States. In some cases the cost of FedEx is significantly higher than our published shipping price, and if so we will use USPS instead.
We use the same flat shipping rate to Hawaii and Puerto Rico, but we use the USPS, and shipping takes a few weeks. Expedited shipping is available, but it is relatively expensive.
Our composter is made from lightweight, but relatively durable components. We have used units made from similar materials for several seasons, but do not offer a guarantee, which allows us to price the unit as low as possible. Damage during shipping is covered by FedEx.
Assembly consists of attaching the lizard barrier, bolting the two lid pieces together, and attaching the drain tube/valve. Instructions for set up and operation can be found here: LINK
You can find a video of the assembly process here: LINK
This system consisting of vertical and a horizontal slotted pipe, combined with bulking material as mentioned above (not included), and has been proven to provide superior drainage. The slots in the pipe are better than circular holes for containing the compost while allowing effluent (liquid waste) to pass through. This provides good filtration without the problems associated with filter pads, screens, etc. Blockages in the drain plumbing are easily cleared by flushing with a stream of water from a garden hose. The perforated pipes also allow air to reach the lower levels of the waste and therefore help control anaerobic bacteria. The larvae aid in keeping the slots open by constantly passing through them resulting in a low maintenance-effective drainage system.
CAUTION: The vertical drain pipe is held at a 90º angel by a small plastic piece that is glued to the horizontal drain pipe. Twisting the drain outlet (horizontal) pipe may resulting in breaking that plastic piece. If you wish to re-position the flexible vinyl drain tube by rotating it on the drain outlet, it is best to support the vertical pipe while doing it. Over time, the vinyl tube will begin to rotate more easily on the drain outlet.
Drain tube and valve
The key to keeping this system balanced is regular rinsing/flushing with water. To make this process as convenient as possible we include a length of flexible vinyl tubing and a high quality pvc valve. You can learn more about this by reading the assembly and operation page: LINK We also include a short length of pipe that is shipped inserted into the valve, but not glued. This helps channel the liquid into a neater stream.
Self harvesting system
One benefit of BSF larvae is that, upon maturing, they will migrate away from the food source (waste). This allows for passive systems for collecting them. This single ramp system has been proven to be very efficient at channeling the mature larvae into the collection bag. You may view a video of a test of this system here: LINK
The clear canister that is included with these composters allows the user to see what type and quantity of larvae have been collected. It resists flooding by rain and contains the larvae very well. You may install the 90º pvc elbow with the short length of pipe without using glue as the friction should be enough to hold it in place.
BSF larvae are very good at escaping from containers and Velcro hook tape is a relatively effective way to contain BSF larvae. The Velcro in this unit has been carefully applied and should resist peeling. Occasionally it becomes necessary to repair gaps (vertical tunnels) that form if the tape pulls away from the wall of the unit. These areas can be carefully cut out and replaced using the extra Velcro included with your composter, or they can simply be filled with silicone caulk.
Egg collection strips
Your Bio-Composter ships with a strip of corrugated cardboard sandwiched between two strips of corrugated plastic installed on the lid. These are attractive egg laying sites for female BSF entering your composter. The plastic pieces can be cleaned as old egg casing build up, and of course you can add more cardboard strips as needed. Cardboard strips are handy if you want to transfer eggs to another unit in that you can simply drop them into the new composter and they will protect the eggs until they hatch and then the cardboard will break down in the compost.
Lizards and frogs can make a significant impact on your BSF colony by eating the females as they enter the unit to lay eggs. The lizard barrier provided is a plastic mesh that allows the BSF females to enter the unit but prevents these small predators from entering.