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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens)

The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) is a common and widespread member of the family Stratiomyidae, and quite possibly the best-known species in the entire infraorder. There are several reasons for this:

  • The larvae are common scavengers in compost heaps, since decomposing matter is their food of choice.
  • The larvae are used in manure management, for both house fly control and reduction in manure volume, and the mature larvae and prepupae raised in manure management operations are themselves useful as feed supplements.
  • The larvae are sometimes found in association with carrion, and have significant potential for use in forensic entomology.
  • The larvae are sold as live pet food for owners of herptiles and tropical fish, or as composting grubs. Phoenix Worm is a registered trademark while a more generic term is soldier grubs. The quality in terms of nutrient levels, sanitation, and packing medium, may vary greatly. They store high levels of calcium for future pupation which is beneficial to herptiles. Black soldier fly larvae was first developed as a feeder species by Insect Science Resource.
  • Although extremely rare, the larvae could potentially cause intestinal myiasis or pseudomyiasis in humans. See this case in Costa Rica. There have been a handful of cases worldwide of black soldier fly larvae causing intestinal myiasis and it would most likely be the result of people scavenging food from refuse containers and not cooking it.

Nutrition Comparission with Phoenix Worms brand Black Soldier Fly Larvae.

Black Soldier Fly larvae are commonly sold as Phoenix Worms in Pet stores for fish, birds and reptiles.

Black soldier fly eggs take about 4 days to hatch and are then typically deposited in crevices or on surfaces above or adjacent to the food source.

The larvae range in size from 1/8 to 3/4 of an inch (3 to 19 millimeters). Although they can be stored at room temperature for several weeks, their longest shelf life is achieved at 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius).

The adult fly is a mimic, very close in size, color, and appearance to the organ pipe mud dauber wasp and its relatives. The mimicry of this particular kind of wasp is especially enhanced in that the fly’s antennae are elongated and wasp-like, the fly’s hind tarsi are pale, as are the wasp’s, and the fly has two small transparent “windows” in the basal abdominal segments that make it look like the fly has a narrow “wasp waist”.

Here are a couple of great commercially available units to harvest the BSF larvae:

4ft Commercial ProtaPodª
4ft Commercial ProtaPodª
– $ 350.00
Commercial Grub Composter. 4 Ft in Diameter

BioPod™ Plus: Auto-Harvesting Grub Composter
BioPod™ Plus: Auto-Harvesting Grub Composter
– $ 189.50
The BioPod Plus is a convenience way to recycle your kitchen scraps and restaurant leftovers into valuable feed.

Take a look at our DIY BSF harvester: https://gardenpool.org/?p=704