Black Soldier Fly Most Asked Questions

Posted by Spencer Doepel on

                                       Black Solider Fly FAQ

Food futurists accept that sustainability-minded humanity will increasingly incorporate Insects as alternative protein. The black soldier fly (BSF) has huge potential and capable of efficiently converting a wide variety of organic materials, from food waste to manure, into insect biomass. They can be grown and harvested without dedicated facilities and are not pestiferous. Their larvae are 42% crude protein and 29% fat, although they are higher in saturated fats than most insects. They do not concentrate on pesticides or mycotoxins. They are already grown and recommended for use as animal feed.

In this article, we will try to answer frequently asked question which came into people’s mind when they talk about BSF.

What is Black Soldier Fly?
A black soldier fly or Hermetia illucens is a common and widespread fly of the family Stratiomyidae.BSF is a fly that holds some unique properties. It's not a pest like the regular house fly, and so it can actually be put to use by humans.  Black soldier fly larvae play a similar role to that of red worms as essential decomposers in breaking down organic substrates and returning nutrients to the soil.

Why are they called soldier flies?
One theory is they look like the old knights in shiny armor, Very neat. Because of the clear areas on the abdomen, the Black Soldier Fly is sometimes called a Window Fly.

Is black soldier fly dangerous?
While this is true for the common flies and their larvae, but the BSF through all stages of its life-cycle is harmless to humans.

Do blackflies carry disease?
Black flies will fly up to 10 miles in search of blood. They do not transmit the disease to humans in the United States. However, injury from black fly bites can threaten the lives of livestock and even people when present in very large numbers, typically in late spring and early summer.

Where do black soldier flies come from?
The black soldier fly is one of a group of true flies. They are found mostly in the tropical/subtropical Western Hemisphere and Australia, breeding in compost, manure, and outdoor toilets.

What attracts black soldier flies?
One method to attract the black soldier flies is to start a compost bin using a mix of kitchen scraps that are a couple of days old. This mix of kitchen scraps can include any kind of vegetable scraps, corn on the cob, rotten potatoes, coffee grounds, fruit scraps, or other types of putrescent compost.

What can black soldier flies eat?
Black soldier fly larvae are scavengers and thrive on many kinds of decomposing organic matter, including algae, carrion, compost heaps, manure, mold, plant refuse, and the waste products of beehives. They have large and powerful chewing mouthparts allowing them to shred and devour waste.



What are black soldier flies used for?

BSF is useful for managing large concentrations of animal manure and other biosolids. Manure management relying on wild fly oviposition has been successful in several studies.

Where does black soldier fly lay eggs?
The female black soldier fly deposits a mass of about 500 eggs in cracks and crevices near or in decaying matter such as dung, carrion, garbage, and other organic waste. The eggs hatch into larvae in about four days.

How do I know if I have a black soldier fly larvae?
The key to soldier fly identification is the presence of its distinctive larvae. Larvae are dark brown, torpedo-shaped, and flattened. The larva grows to over one inch in length. The larvae and pupae of the soldier fly are distinctive in appearance and are key in identifying this type of fly.

How big is a black soldier fly?
15 to 20 mm
Black soldier fly adults have a wasp-like appearance and are black or blue in color. Soldier flies also have two translucent "windows" located on the first abdominal segment. Adults range from 15 to 20 mm in length.

How much do black soldier fly larvae eat?
On average, a black soldier fly larva will consume twice its body mass on a daily basis. Imagine a 150-pound human eating 300 pounds of food in a day every day for two weeks. These tiny monsters pull off this feat on a regular basis. It's a good thing that they do eat so much, during the duration of their two-week larval stage, black soldier fly larvae will consume all the food they will use for the rest of their lives.

How long do black flies stay around?
Black fly season typically starts in the middle of May and runs through late June or early July. The flies are most active several hours after sunrise and an hour or two before sunset due to the humidity of the air and the position of the sun.

How do you keep black soldier fly larvae alive?
To store, keep them in their lidded cup at room temperature. If you plan to keep your worms longer than 2 weeks, moving the container to a cooler spot (50-60 degrees) will help extend their life. Just make sure to allow them to return to room temp before offering to your pet.

How long does a black soldier fly live?
5-8 days
Adult BSF's live for 5-8 days. In this time they must find a mate and lay eggs. The eggs take about 4 days to hatch, and then the larvae will take roughly 2 weeks before they are ready to pupate (become adults).

 Is Black Soldier Fly is a good source of nutrition for animals?
The dry weight of Black Soldier Fly larvae (BSFL) contains up to 50% crude protein (CP), up to 35% lipids, and has an amino acid profile that is similar to that of fishmeal. They are recognized and utilized as alternative sources of protein for a feed of poultry, pigs, and several species of fish and shrimp.


Can peoples eat BSFL?

To be exact, the larvae are what humans can eat, and they're well worth trying out. At the larvae stage, they're packed full of nutrients, as they're looking to ingest as much as possible before they move to the fly stage of their life cycle. Black soldier flies are best known for being an excellent source of protein.

Are black soldier flies good for bearded dragons?
Black Soldier Fly Larvae are great staple feeders for bearded dragons, geckos, chameleons, and various other animals. Its excellent enrichment for your pet and they are a slow-moving fly, so they are easy to catch.

Is black soldier fly farming profitable?
The Farming of BSF does not require extra effort or space; It can easily be managed and can be produced in a small area. It can act as a great profitable tool for small entrepreneurs

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