The Black Soldier Fly prepupae are on the run. Okay, so they don’t run or even wiggle very fast, but still, we keep finding prepupae in the oddest places around the house. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, black soldier flies and their offspring do not carry disease vectors, and so to me, the larvae are more like caterpillars that turn into butterflies. Actually, here’s a funny little side note (speaking of butterflies), did you know that lots of butterflies love to sop up manure juice? Nom, nom, nom, so the next time you think it’s precious that a butterfly lands on you, you should probably ask it what it was drinking and sitting on. Black soldier flies don’t do that. I must say that it’s not a butterfly’s proudest moment, but it’s true…they love poop. But I digress!
So our ramp in for the BSFL bin doesn’t prevent them from falling off the side and missing the bucket. The end result is little black larvae trying desperately to find dark warm place to pupate. Since they’re getting ready to pupate, they’ve emptied their stomachs of any food, and will no longer eat anything. It would be a mistake to think they are looking for food or water. All they want is a warm, dark, safe place to pupate. That’s not too much to ask right?
We walk around with a jar on patrol to find little larvae and return them to a safe spot.
Each night and even during the day, we’ll look for these little guys trying to find their way to a resting place. My sweet husband doesn’t share the same understanding as me when it comes to disease vectors, and I found him crouched over a few prepupae trying to scoop them up with a fly swatter. I cocked my head to the side and said, “What the heck are you doing?” and he started chuckling, stating the obvious, “I’m picking up the larvae.” I then asked him why he was using a fly swatter…why not pick them up with your hands? He was crouched down in front of our door at the time, and I said, “I bet there is more dirt on the floor coming into our house than on those little guys.” He quickly got over his hesitation to handle these little guys with his bare hands and started picking them up with his hands.
No biggie. Up close BSFL look like something prehistoric. To the touch they are smooth, and not slippery or slimy in anyway. If Waffles found one on the floor, he would encounter the best treat ever. Waffles crate is actually in the room where we keep the black solder fly bin, and I’m sure he’s probably had a few wiggle their way into his crate.
Black soldier fly larvae are very nutritious for pigs, and I look forward to time when I have so many of them that I can grab a handful and give Waffles a special treat! What? You don’t dream of sticking your hand in a bucket full of maggots? *Snork!*
We don’t have any black soldier flies yet, but I think they could emerge soon. I think I’ve collected about 500 prepupae so far in the bucket over the last week. This morning there were a lot more than usual, which I was thrilled to see.
If this particular bin were outside and the catching bucket were just a trough, chickens and ducks could just walk up to the trough and eat whatever fell in. That’s the beauty of the black soldier fly bin, it’s a self feeding system. The only reason we have the bin in our house it to make sure all the pupae survive and make it to adulthood, mate, lay eggs, and continue the process. In late spring, we’ll move the bin outside, and set up several more of them, including in the greenhouse.
My little dark babies are part of the key to the amazing health and vitality of chickens, ducks, pigs, game birds, in all stages of life. From being a young chick or duckling, to being a full sized pig, black soldier flies can provide everything they need.
One last thing about BSFL…
Keeping them is a full on sensory experience. What I mean by that is that the black soldier fly larvae engage your sight, demanding that you look at them. They perk up your ears as you listen to the way they chomp through the food scraps or wiggle around in the wood shavings with the familiar sound of “snap, crackle and pop.” Remember that breakfast cereal? Well, that’s the sound that comes from the bin and the shavings. They beg you to touch their smooth bodies after they come out of the bin, and the earthy smell they create in the bin, invites you to stick your nose in the bin a little deeper. And depending on what part of the world you were raised in, you might even be tempted to taste one. I haven’t been tempted eat my little dark babies, but no judgement on anyone else who’s tempted. Go ahead, and report back to me on the taste please!