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GaryD

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

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Hi Mark.

Yep sure, I'll get some photo's. I just cleared out a heap a few days ago by hand.

All it is, is a standard worm farm and there is constant supply of BSFL. Not a huge amount, say about a handful every week. I have started collecting them now and freezing them getting ready for my system. If I had of known how useful they were, I would have done it months ago. Instead I was sticking them in the compost bin.!

I do notice they certainly increase in numbers when we have a warm spell, but over winter I didn't see any drop thats for sure, and I feed the worm farm around every 3-4 days.

That's why I was so keen to see GaryD's photo of the compost bucket with a slot cut out of it in Prac Aquap... magazine. I thought, gee that'd make collecting much easier than picking them out by hand. But I'm not keen to cut up my worm farm box. Hence, I'd like to get a biopod.

Cheers

T

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Hi Tony,

Instead I was sticking them in the compost bin.!

.....and that wouldn't do any harm at all......they'd just transform into flies.

Good to see you're on your way with BSF. The more I have to do with them, the more fascinated I become.

Gary

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I've joined the Biopod/BSF "club" - David delivered my Biopod today.

We had a great chat about a wide variety of subjects - he is an interesting man and a pleasure to do business with.

They are hand made in Vietnam - I find that great cf everything else made in China.

He also gave me some larvae/eggs and loads of tips on successfully using the Biopod.

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I too am joining the BSF/Biopod club with David making the long trek to Fernvale with my biopod today. I had visited Gary the weekend before last and seen his in operation and by coincidence two days later found BSF larvae in my rather crude "trap/enticer". Looking forward to David's visit and getting this thing into operation.

Peter

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A query re BSF - I know they don't eat citrus peel and eggshell but..

1 is it ok to chuck in citrus peel and eggshells into the biopod anyway?

2 are there any scraps that are a no no?

3 are deceased cane toads ( ones with fatal head injuries!)

ok to put in the biopod for the BSF larvae to eat?

thanks

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Hi Tom

David delivered the pod as planned and we located some eggs on the exterior of the worm farm so we transferred those. If they don't appear in a couple of days I'll transfer over some larvae from my polystyrene enticer which has a few in it now.

We discussed what can and can't be dropped in and from memory David suggested to ommit heavy bone, avocado skin and seed, mango seed and high cellulose items. He didn't see citrus and onion as being a real problem. We agreed that I'd do an experiment with the cane toad, by isolating some larvae in a bucket, introducing a cane toad which has been involved in a fatal accident as well as some household scraps. The object being to see whether the larvae die out or the toad dissapears. Probably be a while before I have sufficient larvae to try that one but I'll let you know what happens anyway.

I agree with your earlier comments and found David to be an extremely pleasant and informative fellow. Enjoyed his short visit immensely. He also brought his 85 year old mum Faith with him and she and Joy had a great time together. I'm really enjoying this experience as I'm meeting so many nice down to earth people.

All the best ... Peter.

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I put egg shell in mine - I just crush it up. I figure it will help the calcium levels in the finished compost.

I also ad citrus peel to mine - although not too much. I went a bit overboard with citrus peel when I first got itdue to a huge supply of over ripe manderines and it turned the pod a bit acidic.

Now I tend to just add a few peels and cut them up small and mixed with other kitchen waste.

I also add banana skins - but cut them up into 5mm long bits with scissors. Otherwise they are a bit stringy in the final compost.

I tend to also add tissues and paper to the biopod - it helps keep the moisture levels under control.

I have even added brown courugated cardboard ripped into small bits when it gets really soggy. Im due to add some cardboard to mine come to think of it as its a bit wet.

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Hi Mark.

Sorry it has taken me awhile to reply.

Since you questioned that temps are approaching 30 degrees and you haven't seen any BSF yet, I have been monitoring my worm farm and compost bins. There are a stack of flies around both. They are situated right next to each other and they actually get about 3-4 hours of morning sun. The temp inside the compost bin is averaging 20-25 degrees easily. Little less in the wormfarm. And that is with outside temps still around the 15-20 degree mark.

We had a cold spell here for the last 2 weeks and now that I am monitoring BSF stocks closer I am seeing definite stalls and then increases as temps fluctuate.

But I think having both the wormfarm and compost bin so close to each other, this is helping the stocks..! Still looking forward to getting a biopod though. Digging the BSF out by hand is a real 'love job'.

Cheers

Tony

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Hi,

I have been getting good harvests of BSF every day and lately have noticed a smaller version in the collection bin. Can anyone give me some hints as to what it might be???

Different sizes in larvae means one of two things......larvae of different fly species.......or too high a temperature for BSF larvae which causes them to crawl off prematurely.

Gary

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Thanks Hamish/Gary,

The fish still seem yo like them whatever they are.

The biopod is in a shady spot under a shadecloth cover and I seem to be getting both sizes of larvae so maybe different species but I will keep an eye on the temps over the next couple of weeks to see how they compare to what crawls off.

Its been said before but they are very interesting critters.

Cheers

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Be interested in how the cane toad thing goes. They are really toxic and the only real problem I see is that if the BSF can handle the toxins does it get carried on in them. So if you feed them to the fish do they get poisoned or just really high.:D Also do you put the BSF casting into a worm bin after woods. This was something I was interested in as it would allow food to be pre-processed for the worms.

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Hi,

I chucked a toad into my biopod and noticed a large number of dead larvae soon after. I would have to do more work to determine absolutely that it was the toad that poisoned them but I suspect that it was.

BSF castings (larvicast?) retain up to 50% of their original protein value after processing by the larvae so they can definitely be used for worm bedding. We plan to do exactly that.

Gary

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Yes Duff - adding the BSF castings into a worm bin for final processing is a good idea. BSF tend to leave a pretty smely goo behind - not really what you would call useable compost. Worms make a better job of finishing it off.

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G'day,

I seem to be having trouble getting enough larvae to self-harvest. There seems to be plenty underneath working away but I'm getting only 10 or so each day. Also, there's a lot of giant mosquito-looking things around, as well as ---AARRGH the dreaded small hive beetle (shb). I saw them being attracted the first evening I started the Biopod, & thought it was a good thing, as the BSF was supposed to eat all other stuff, but the beetles are actually BREEDING.

The problem is they are close to my bee-hives, & anyone with hives will realise what a disaster the SHB is. So, I figure until I solve this, & get the BSF to eat everything else, my hives are in danger. It's finding the right balance. Is anyone else aware of this? I seem to remember someone else on this forum having bees but I can't remember who.

So one step at a time-- until I can secure a reliable source of fishfood,(plan to temporarily feed to the chooks) I'll put the aquaponics system on the back-burner

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Hi Bryan,

Once your BSF larvae get well established they will displace most other flies and bugs.

The larvae take about 14 days (in optimum conditions) to get to the point where they self-harvest.

Are you sure that the "big mosquito-looking things" aren't adult BSF?

Gary

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I'm in production! - getting 10-20/day past 4-5 days

Interestingly I am getting 3 things in the collection tub - the bsf

larvae -easy to identify, another whitish grub about 1/3 the size of the bsf

that I would consider a normal maggot and then an even smaller larvae as well.

All off to the chooks or tipped into the fish tank

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Hi,

We re-commissioned our BioPod today. I'd emptied a couple of weeks ago because it was stinking to high heaven. I tend to put anything that might have once been alive into my unit (contrary to the directions) and it got to the point where I was reluctant to go near it.

The other problem was that we keep it in the chicken yard and our layers had dug around it so much that it was at risk of toppling over.

Anyway, we back on the track now......only fruit and vegetable scraps from here on.

Gary

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Finally got a good harvest--about half a cup, & then back to less than ten or so. My wife looked at then at night & saw great activity - they were escaping everywhere so she did a harvest & froze them. But by morning it was back to a dozen or so. Seems they are active just after dark - also, someone admitted :o they didn't fit the lid properly.

It's more than two months now & we were hoping for a more reliable supply of protein. Hardly seems worth the effort - or maybe I'm missing something?

Also, the Hive Beetle still survives - about the only thing except BSF, and the chooks refuse to eat them!!!

One thing's for sure - chooks sure love the BSF!

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Hi Bryan,

Once BSF get established around your place they will produce thousands of larvae. When my BioPod is operating at capacity, the average daily harvest would be equal to 1 - 2 coffee mugs.

Before we got the BioPod, we used a compost bin to grow the BSF. It wasn't unusual for the compost bin to get half full before the adult flies would bother with it. Once they decided to move in, however, the compost bin contents would shrink in volume dramatically (and turn black) and within days there'd be millions of writhing larvae. We'd put the compost in large plastic tubs and, using a home-made harvester, we'd separate the larvae from the compost. It wasn't unusual to get 3 litres of the larvae from 30 litres of compost.

Another thing.......it's a good idea to let some larvae go so that they develop into flies. The more flies, the more eggs and the greater the amount of larvae.

Gary

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Guest Castaway

I thought some of the members here would be interested in seeing GaryD's biopod system in action at this link

Gary was kind enough to allow us to film his backyard system in action presented by someone called Murray...I forget his last name but apparently he frequents this forum :D - in his new DVD on Aquaponics thats just out.

Those are Gary's hungry chooks that you see in the video that are well acquainted with BSF Larvae in this clip. I noticed some people just want to grow the larvae to feed their chooks! A waste of a valuable protein.

Thanks Gary.

Frank

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