Black Soldier Flies; raising our own to feed our chicken and fish

Fish and chickens both need protein and fat to be healthy, and buying
organic food can be expensive! It is also not very sustainable — most
fish food includes fishmeal that comes from the ocean, and chicken
food is primarily corn. Thus, we just revived our Black Soldier Fly
Larvae (BSFL) bin, which was dormant during the cold season. The
larvae are a benefit to us because they cut down on our animal feed
costs, and because they are a great way to recycle food that would
otherwise be thrown out. While veggies can be composted, BSFL can eat
a much broader range of food than what can be put into a typical home
composting system, including meat, cheese, and bread.


Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly Larvae


While Black Soldier Flies are prevalent throughout the United States, I’m willing to bet you have never seen one, unless you have your own bin. These flies are not pests — in the last larval stage they shed their entire intestinal tract, so they couldn’t bite us if they tried.


After the larval state they spend about seven days flying in the
treetops trying to mate, then they lay their eggs, and die. They
probably interact with us as often as we with them.

Adult flies enter the black bin from the white pvc opening on the top.
On the underside of the lid, we wrapped some old cardboard around the
opening to the outside, as the adults like to lay their eggs in the
small pore spaces along the edge of the cardboard. Once the eggs
hatch, the larvae fall right on top of the available food. We also
drilled holes in the bottom of the black bin for drainage so that our
rotting food doesn’t smell too bad. (BSFL eat food very quickly and
keep the smell down, plus they excrete a pheromone that warns other
flies to not lay their eggs near by. BSFL will eat all the other
flies larvae, so once a system is established there will not be a fly


Contrary to popular belief, fish do not create omega-3 fatty acids,
they only bio-accumulate them, which means they collect them from
whatever they eat. BSFL, like fish, can bio-accumulate omega-3 fatty
acids, which are then fed to our fish, so we make sure our BSFL get a
healthy mix of veggies in their diet, since omega-3s come from

Soldier fly larvae need a few vital things to thrive in your system:
food, the right amount of water, and relative darkness. In order to
grow a large larval colony, there must be an adequate supply of food.
One square meter of larvae have been recorded eating 15 kilograms of
food per day! Black Soldier Fly Larvae also need to be kept between 60
and 100 degrees to reproduce.  They also prefer dark areas with
humidity between 30% and 90%.


Yet another exciting thing happening at the Middlebrook Center! Stay up to date with the Middlebrook Center by visiting our website or come see in person at 76 Race Street in downtown San Jose and see what we’re doing. We are open during the week until 4PM and on the weekends during our events. Check our our website for updates

Our monthly newsletter is coming soon!

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply