The BioPod™ – a disclaimer

 

toaster

The BioPod™ is not an appliance

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.

Your involvement

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 grubs 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 considered an invasive species.

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(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.

Update: Since we now have a discussion forum we will be disabling comments here on the blog. Anyone can read the forum, but to join in on the conversation you will need to register. This is an easy and painless process, and it’s necessary to keep spammers from, well, spamming up the place. :)

The forum can be accessed here (forum) and you will see a link for registration in the upper left corner of the forum. The legal language on the registration form is very basic and is what came with the forum software. In short, we won’t share your information, and please don’t be vulgar or break the law. ;)

  •  Posted by at 1:13 pm

  3 Responses to “The BioPod™ – a disclaimer”

  1. Jerry, based on the opportunities around here to collect yummy things for the BSFs we’ve decided to jump in and start with the Protapod. Before we buy one from somebody else I thought I’d check in and make sure we can’t get one through you.

    Peace and respect,

    Bill

  2. Thanks for thinking of us Bill,

    I haven’t personally used a ProtaPod but the concept is mostly the same as the original BioPod. The biggest difference is that ProtaPods don’t have a lid. They must be placed under some type of cover to prevent rain from flooding it, and 1/4 inch wire mesh cover should be made to keep out critters. If you want to operate the unit in the winter you would swap the wire cover for a plywood cover. Of course you would need additional insulation for winter operation. Like with the original BioPod you also need a filter material to line the bottom of the unit.

    I see that ProtaCulture is retailing the ProtaPods for $350 and we would be willing to discount that price. Unfortunately shipping is very expensive for ProtaPods because they take up an entire pallet and must be shipped by a specialty carrier. This can literally add hundreds of dollars to the delivered price. If you want a shipping quote I’ll need an exact address which you can send via email or the contact us link.

    Thanks.

  3. I was surprised to find that many people who moderate the yahoo groups thought me to be a spammer or thought that I was trying to sell something when I listed your web site on all of the yahoo groups that I am a member of. I grow BSF here at my North West Fla. home. I love chickens and I thought that I was being helpful by trying to share the info that is available on your site for FREE!! Maybe I should write advertisements for a living. Everyone thinks that I am selling something ,but I have nothing to sell. I do not see anything for sale on your site except new or used biopods,,,and they are the last things on the list of topics !!! Thank you for your photos and your info. I live on social security and have very little money to spend on this type of things,so I am glad to learn a free way to make my own growers! I learned something very strange recently about the BSF larva!! Purely by accident,,I found that they do NOT drown in a bucket with too much water !!!