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GaryD

Other Fly Larvae

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Hi,

We've been harvesting Black Soldier fly larvae for most of the time we've been doing aquaponics.

While they're great chicken food.....and I've even fed them to my jade perch.....they are not without their fair share of issues.

If you feed them to fish, the tough outer skin (exoskeleton) tends to pass through the fish undigested and adds to the solid waste in the tank......and they become much less active (and available) once the mercury drops.

Over the past few months, I've been following a thread by Tony in Tas (a BYAP member) on raising house fly larvae in his BioPod.......as distinct from BSF larvae.

Most of us have experienced larvae from other fly species in our 'pods.

Tony (who found that he was limited by his climate) decided to focus on house fly larvae because, not only because they show up in cooler weather, but they are also better fish food........and he uses roadkill to feed the 'pod.

He reports that, using the roadkill, the smell is not too bad (while a BioPod full of BSF larvae can really stink if they are not free-draining). Apparently, the maggots eat everything but the fur, teeth, claws and bones.

Tony puts flour in the collection chamber which helps to clean the maggots out and makes them easier to handle and contain.

I've experienced a slow BSF season this year.....largely because I keep forgetting to feed the thing......and to harvest the larvae.......so I'm thinking of trying Tony's approach.

Gary

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Some people in my area use what are called "rot bags" for attracting fish to a certain fishing spot in lakes and ponds. They are simply road kill in a mesh net, suspended from a tree branch with a piece of rope. The various flies lay eggs on the rot bag, the eggs hatch, the larvae eat a few bits and then fall into the water where they are instantly gobbled up. Works really well, but the smell can really ruin a fishing trip. hehe

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Some people in my area use what are called "rot bags" for attracting fish to a certain fishing spot in lakes and ponds. They are simply road kill in a mesh net, suspended from a tree branch with a piece of rope. The various flies lay eggs on the rot bag, the eggs hatch, the larvae eat a few bits and then fall into the water where they are instantly gobbled up. Works really well, but the smell can really ruin a fishing trip. hehe

Rope, Mesh? Thought you Americans would know why cats have tails? very good in rivers, for bass over here.

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Rope, Mesh? Thought you Americans would know why cats have tails?

Hahaha.... Thanks for the laugh!

very good in rivers, for bass over here.

Same here. Bass and bluegill are really attracted to rot bags.

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Hi,

Back in early December, I wrote about how Tony from Tas (a BYAP and APHQ member) had begun to use his BioPod to produce housefly larvae (rather than BSF larvae) for his fish.

We originally produced BSF larvae for our fish and chickens. We stopped giving them to the fish because their leathery exoskeletons tended to make a mess in the fish tank......but the chickens are still right into them.

My own BioPod had been performing in a less than spectacular fashion this year (largely due to my negligence) so I thought I might give Tony's idea a go.

Today, I cleaned out my BioPod and (where Tony uses roadkill) I used a redundant chicken.

I'll endeavour to take photos over the next few days.....and post about the outcome of the trial.

If I can consistently breed maggots in a BioPod:

  • I'll have a source of protein for my fish, quail and chickens......at little cost.
  • I won't have to get too 'hands on' with the maggots.....they'll just grow and self-harvest like the BSF larvae do.
  • I'll be able to turn dead chickens, quail or fish (or the wastes from their processing) into high quality animal protein.

Gary

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Gidday Gary,done a little experiment over the xmas holls.

Setup an old compost bin & a new one, with various organic items in d old bin & various meats both cooked & raw inthe new one..the old bin attracted bsf & other flys, but the bsf grubs within aday or two overwhelmed the blowie maggots.The new bin did better with the maggots but I thinkbecause the new bin was within 10 meters of the old bin, the new bin bcame infested with bsf grub with in a couple to three weeks of seeding,also discovered nothing touched the xmas ham.To much salt maybe.My new system is well under way, wil post some photos when i remember to take them.As a side issue my wife doesnt like talking about maggots of any sort ,so i now refer to all maggots as " BINBEASTS " which means they can again be discussed in polite conversation.

Steve A

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Rope, Mesh? Thought you Americans would know why cats have tails? very good in rivers, for bass over here.

True. But over here in the colonies the yank bass pole vault 3 meters to lick the maggots off the bag, do a triple gainer with a half twist before finishing their meal. :) Makes 'em wiry.

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HI Steve,

.....also discovered nothing touched the xmas ham.

Yeah.....you've got to wonder at what they put in the ham (and I doubt if it's salt) that would discourage flies from laying eggs in it.

If BSF are attracted to a food source, they will quickly displace any other fly larvae.....such is their appetite.

I'm hoping that, because they are usually only interested in putrefying foodstuffs, the housefly maggots will get a go. I'm keen to find a way to breed them because:

  • They are better for use as fish food.
  • chooks and quail will eat them, too.
  • They should be able to be produced year round in my climate.....where BSF slow down considerably during the colder months.
  • They will provide a good way to convert high protein processing wastes like chicken, quail and fish guts into high value micro-livestock food.

Gary

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Hi Kellen,

Yes......other species do self-harvest.....which is why I find the idea of using the BioPod so attractive. I can get them without the need to get too 'hands on' with one of nature's more effective disease carriers.

Gary

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I figured that was probably the case, but thought I'd make sure.

I'll have to rig something up myself then as well. We have an abundance of flies here, but we're really out of the BSF range.

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Gidday Gary,

Happy to say maybe the ham was a touch tastier than first thought.

its just about gone this morning,but it was the last thing in d bin until Ijust filled it again.

The last of the maggots are on the run with BINBEASTS hot on their trail.

Steve A

Just had a thought, seeing how maggots can & do climb vertical walls, a redesign on the bin could incorporate the usual outlet for the bsf,as well as a chamber above the bin tocapture d other maggots,Ill play with this idea.

Edited by aquamagic
Had a second though after reading Garys post over. (see edit history)

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Hi Steve,

Happy to say maybe the ham was a touch tastier than first thought.

its just about gone this morning,but it was the last thing in d bin until Ijust filled it again.

On reflection, it may not have been sufficiently rotten for the BSF to show interest.

I checked my BioPod this morning. The skin on the chicken has gone a nice pale green colour and the 'pod was full of flies. Only one maggot visible so far......but I suspect the chicken may be full of eggs and tiny larvae. I'm expecting an explosion of activity in the coming 24 hours.

Interestingly, there is relatively little odour coming from the BioPod.

Gary

post-2-13795787852109_thumb.jpg

post-2-13795787852695_thumb.jpg

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Hi,

Twenty two hours after my last report, the chicken carcass is crawling with tiny maggots and the skin has started to change to a darker colour. Still not much in the way of odour.

I put a cupful of mill run (a mix of bran and pollard) into the collection chamber on the 'Pod to let the maggots self-clean and to absorb any moisture which will assist in preventing them from climbing the sides of the collection chamber (theoretically)......already a couple of fat little maggots in there.

Gary

post-2-13795787853258_thumb.jpg

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Hi,

Some 12 hours or so later, the chicken has a couple of large holes where the larvae have emerged from inside the carcass. There's obviously been a fair bit of activity happening inside because the carcass appears quite hollow.

Gary

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Gary,

I'm really enjoying this thread. That would probably seem a bit strange to most people. We definitely are a different "bunch". hehe

So when do you expect these larvae to begin attempting to crawl to freedom? I'm curious to see what kind of a "harvest" you get from this experiment. From the picture, it sure looks like there is a plentiful maggot population.

I did find the disclaimer to this short little article a bit concerning: http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Feeding-Chickens-Maggots.html

Thoughts?

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Gidday Gary,

its a lot of fun,breeding animals of most sorts anyway.I think the main challenge with the BFmaggots ,is containing them to use, as you would have noticed.The little buggers leave Hoodenie for dead.Ive also found a family of PeeWees have started to fossick around the Experimental Bins every morning, picking up waywood Beastys.

You are right in what you say about d odour though,even with the amount of protein Ive been putting in mybins the odour issue hasnt been a prob, I must admit the area im using is very well ventilated, but still they are in a corner of a Colour bond Fence

Steve A

Gidday kellenw,

you have a very vallid point mate,as with all things experimental, great care must be taken when sorcing inputs

Steve A

Edited by aquamagic
read a later post (see edit history)

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Hi Kellen,

I found the information on that link interesting......but probably for the wrong reason.

I loved the suspended larvae buckets as a means of allowing chickens to harvest their own larvae.

The page also contained some useful hints about accelerating the consumption of the carcasses by the larvae.....while also helping to contain their odour.

As for the disease......that potential exists in every aspect of food production.

Tetanus lurks in every square foot of a livestock yard......similarly with botulism. Q Fever (a disease contracted by meat workers) happens in the strict confines of an export slaughterworks.......and some of the most disagreeable conditions are contracted by perfectly healthy people in hospitals. Let's not forget the swine flu and Asian bird virus outbreaks of recent years.

I agree with all sensible precautions for the prevention of disease. I believe on balance, however, that I'm better off with low disease risk against certain chemical ingestion by eating purchased foods......both 'fresh' and processed.

Having said all of that, I think it's useful for people to hear (and heed) the warnings about disease potential.

Gary

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Gidday Gary,

Could you use a variation of the hanging bucket over your fish tank as well? I think the maggots would devour the offering before the aroma became too offensive.

My experimental bins have not become very aromatic yet, but I do have fairly large colonies of bsf & maggots at the moment ,Ive been putting varied meat scrapes in the bins every 3 or 4 days since xmas,plus the hot days (weve had 10mm of rain at Medowie since xmas ) with very little smell.

Years ago I read in a fishing mag( Barra, Bass & Bream),that Bass fishermen Would seed their favourite spot with a leg of lamb hung from a tree over their river about 2 or 3 weeks before a fishing trip to improve the chances of catching a couple of Bass.

Steve

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Hi,

I took these photos on Sunday.

By this stage, the carcass comprised largely feathers and bones.....with a small amount of connective tissue and the like.

There were plenty of larvae concealed underneath the carcass. Now, I just need to see if they'll do crawl up the ramp into the collection chamber.

Steve......there are plenty of accounts of where people have done what you've suggested.....and you could probably use a slightly more benign bait (like bread and milk).

As the larvae approach the time when they are to metamorphose into flies, they crawl out of the food source.

In the situation you've described, they'd just crawl out of the feeder and drop into the fish tank.

Gary

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post-2-13795787857365_thumb.jpg

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Hi,

My fly larvae experiment has proved to be.......unspectacular!

The chicken carcass has been almost entirely consumed by the larvae......but I've only had a teaspoonful of them appear in the collection chamber.

Several days ago, there were plenty of them writhing around......but now there's only a few dead ones lying in the main chamber.

I'm at a loss to understand where they went. I guess it's possible that they turned into flies and left.....although I'd have thought that they'd have had to go somewhere else to metamorphose.....like BSF larvae.

Another explanation might rest with the fact that, every time I've gone to the BioPod, a couple of little geckos have scarpered out of it. They're either two very hungry little geckos or they're working in shifts.

Anyway, back to the drawing board.

Gary

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Hi Gary

your problem is this:

1. The first maggots on your chicken were Lucilia and Calliphora - Lucilia will crawl out and self clean Calliphora usually will not.

2. your last pics show maggots of Chrysomya a cannibalistic maggot that invades later and eats the others - it will not climb out and self clean and if it runs out of food before pupation will eat others of its own kind or starve. - hence the few week slow maggots left.

3. carrion fauna is a complex crowd and who gets there first 2nd etc often causes quite different outcomes. there are dozens of species of flies as well as many beetles that specialise in having their larvae on carrion.

PS - still looking for some BSFs

do you know anyone who could help?

Gerry Marantelli

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Hi Gerry,

Great information. It explains why our last fly larvae experiment went the way it did.

Can I control which maggots I get by feeding specific things......or will the maggot-eating maggots just roll up anyway?

Gary

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