By that I mean you can’t simply buy one, add food waste to it without further involvement and expect it to perform properly. Successful operation of a BioPod requires regular observation of the black soldier fly (BSF) colony and small adjustments designed to keep it balanced. There are only a few simple adjustments involved, but to know which to use you will need to learn about BSF. It’s similar in scope to learning how to ride a bicycle and about as easy.
Often the adjustments are as simple as withholding food scraps for a few days and in other cases you may need to add something dry like stale bread, cereals, or shredded paper to soak up excess liquid (BSF won’t eat the paper). Sometimes you may need to remove the lid for an afternoon, or treat the BioPod legs to repel ants. On average your BioPod won’t require more than a few minutes a day and you can even ignore it for a several days at a time if you manage it properly. The key to making it simple is to study the black soldier fly larvae and to understand how various factors effect them. If you don’t learn the basic behaviors and needs of these fascinating animals then you will probably have difficulty keeping them. If you learn to avoid overfeeding and overheating the colony you’ll be most of the way there.
Please do some research before you buy
Your geographic location and even the altitude at which you live will effect how easy or difficult it is to culture black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens). Culturing BSF is possible anywhere, but if you live along the west coast or in the southeastern U.S. there’s a very good chance BSF are already around you and starting a colony will be relatively easy. If you live in a cold and/or dry climate the difficulty level increases. If you’re not sure about your specific area please contact us and we’ll do our best to inform you.
The main factor is temperature
In general the warmer and wetter your climate, the more likely it is that you already have black soldier flies in your area. Colder and/or drier climates represent less likely places to find BSF and they are the most challenging places to establish a colony. This is also true of elevations over 5000 feet (1500m). The native range of BSF is the southeastern U.S. but over time they have been transported around the world. They are not an invasive species.
(click map to enlarge)
BSF are most commonly found in the USDA plant hardiness zones 7 – 10, but there are often exceptions. The hardiness zones relate to temperature only and while this is the most important factor with BSF it isn’t the only one. I’ve gotten reports of robust BSF populations in zone 6 and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of them in cooler zones in the future.
Don’t let me discourage you
I just want everyone to understand that when you purchase a BioPod you’re entering into a new hobby that may be somewhat challenging at first and also very rewarding. If you like gardening, traditional composting, or vermiculture then you’re a likely candidate for black soldier fly culturing. Likewise, if you watch nature and science shows you will probably find BSF as fascinating as I do.
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