Commercial Production of BSFL
Demographic evolution, impact of climate change on natural resources and necessity of their sustainable management, require increasing the global food production by about 70% before year 2050 in order to feed the 9 billion inhabitants the planet will count by then. The necessity to feed such a growing population generates a constant pressure on both plant and animal productions.
Industrial rearing of chickens, pigs and fish is in continuous expansion due to increased consumption by humans. This growth is intimately dependent on the availability of protein sources for sustaining animal productions. Although rather anecdotal until now, insect rearing opens heuristic perspectives well beyond the field of animal feeding.
The Black Soldier Fly BSF larvae increasingly emerge as a sustainable alternative method for organic waste treatment. Moreover, they are efficient converters as they produce a protein and lipid-rich biomass from substrates that can be poorly used by monogastric animals. These characteristics, linked to a short production cycle, make BSF larvae very good candidates for intensive production, as far as the domestication and the production of the insects are controlled.
In this article we will review a semi-industrial pilot commercial rearing unit.
Commercial BSFL Production Facility
The production facility which we are going to discuss today can turn all kind of Biowaste into in to high protein feed for your animals. Black Soldier Fly larvae are the best, balanced feed for chickens, lizards, fish and anything else that benefits from high protein feed.
The list of what you will need for this build will vary. If you live in hot and sunny places will
Only need to build the frame and cover it with mosquito net. For those of you who live in the UK, you need to insulate the box, provide heating, lighting, a lecking place (Usually leaves, where the female sits and waits for her mate) and airflow. It will include a procedure of making only one box, you can make multiple boxes for commercial production as per your requirements.
Below are the list of things you need:
- Sheets of thin ply wood. 6-8mm.
- Sheets of thicker plywood. 12-16mm.
- Sheets of insulation board 25mm thick.
- Lengths of 50mm baton.
- Decking screws.
- 4" Extractor fan, 4" Ducting, 4" Carbon air filter.
- Mosquito nets, Hinges.
- Door draft excluder sticky strips.
- Oil heater.
- 50Watt LED floodlight. (MUST BE 50w or more or flies won't mate. They require BRIGHT sunlight.).
- Circulation Fan.
- Bottles of liquid. (They store heat and help prevent wide fluctuations in temperatures.
- Thermostat controlled Plug. (One for heat and one for coll.
- Inline on/off timer.
- 5m of 3 core cable and a plug.
- Multi plug.
- Maggot bin. (This box has space for 2 bins).
Step 1: Insulated Base
Black Soldier Flies require a decent area to fly around because the first part of their mating ritual is aerial. The box will have the dimensions of 1.2×1.2×2m tall. We will be using 50mm baton.
Cut 4x 2m Lengths and 9x 1.2m lengths. (The extra length is for the door which hangs off the cross piece. Next cut corner supports for each corner. Out of 50mm Baton about 20cm long with two 45°angles. Now put together the frame.
Step 2: The Floor
Cut a piece of +-16mm ply to the exact outside dimensions of the floor. Now tip your frame over, apply wood glue to the bottom of the batons that were previously touching the floor. Now screw the plywood bottom onto your box. Now that you have the bottom attached, lift the frame backup. Your 16mm plywood bottom should now be all that touches the floor. Next, cut 25mm celutex to fill in the floor, inside the square made by the bottom batons. Once in place the celutex should completely hide the 16mm ply. Lastly, cut thin ply wood to cover the celutex over. It too should fit inside the square made by the bottom batons. Once in place, varnish the thin layer of ply and then silicone around the edges to prevent any future spilled water from seeping into the celutex which insulates the floor.
Step 3: Putting on the Sides of Your Box.
The sides of the box are simple. A layer of 25mm celutex covered on the outside with a thin layer of ply wood 6-8mm ply is perfect and cheap but provides protection for the celutex.
Start with the back, once the back of the box is on, you should cut the celutex and ply wood for the Left and Right sides but don't stick them in place just yet. We are going to put a mosquito net across the front of the box, above the cross piece. The sides will hold this in place.
Run a bead of silicone along the left and right rear upright. Now put the left and right side sheets of celutex and thin ply wood in place but only screw them in along the rear upright on both sides. This will leave space for you to put the mosquito net in place. Once you have cut your mosquito net to leave you with a double layer, run a bead of silicone around the front upright and both cross pieces on each side. Now put the mosquito net in place on one side. Get it laid smoothly over the silicone then push the celutex+thin ply onto the silicone on that side before screwing it in place.
Step 4: The Roof and the LED Floodlight.
This will involve few steps.
- Cut a piece of thin ply to cover the entire roof but only screw down the back. Now cut celutex to fill the cavity below the roof inside the surrounding batons.
- Now, cut a length of thick ply to hold the celutex in place. Screw this length to the underside of the batons between the front and rear top cross pieces.
- Mount the LED flood light to a 30cm length of 50mm Barton then screw the bottom to the cross piece of plywood from #2 above.
- Cut a hole in the side of the box at the top. The side you choose should be easily visible to you where you plan on running the box.
- Mount the in line 24hour timer to run the floodlight while also mounting the thermostat controlled power plugs. This will control your heater to keep the box inside the optimum breeding temp range. Carve out a section of celutex to flush mount both the thermostat controlled plugs and a 4 plug extension lead which will be powered 24/7 from the power entering the inline timer.
- Stretch out the mosquito net and screw down the rest of the roof to hold it in place. Now your mosquito net is stretched out smooth and your light and power is done.
Step 5: Covering the Mosquito Net in winter
Cut a piece of celutex and thin ply to cover the mosquito net in winter. Screw it in place above the cross piece. Cut a circular port and put on a door with a seal. This allows you to check on the system without opening the big door, just the little one towards the top of the cover of the mosquito net.
For the door, cut a piece of celutex to cover the opening. Now cut two pieces of thin ply wood to cover the inside and the outside of the door. (We used offcuts for the inside of the door) Now bolt the door together and bolt the hinges to the door before screwing them to the cross piece.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
- Cut a 4" hole in the back corner opposite to the power timer for the light. This will run as needed to clear any smell. (It should only smell if you put too much meat into the system).
- Mount the carbon filter to the inside below the extractor. This eradicated the majority of smells while preventing flies from escaping.
- Hang your small oil heater from the roof to hang just above the cross piece. This will plug into the heat plug of your thermostat controlled plugs. Set the heater to 80% if it has it's own thermostat. Alternatively if you prefer not to use the thermostat controlled plug, you can experiment with the heater and discover how high to set it to keep the temp between 26 and 30°C.
- Hang as many cola bottles down the back corners. The liquid will hold heat and stop huge fluctuations.
- Fit a fake branch of leaves about 30cm from the top to the box. The females will sit on the leaves and wait for the males they choose.
- We set the extractor fan to run for half an hour 4 times a day. We also made it vent into a pipe that carried it's exhaust out through the wall.
Step 7: Maggot Box
Now you need a Maggot box, which you can place in the breeding box. You can learn to make a Maggot box by following below link.
The domestication of BSF has just started, and data on the biology of this species are still fragmentary. Beyond its commercial applications, BSF also is a major field of interest for fundamental and applied research. Following a series of dedicated experiments and production trials at a pilot scale, this research progressively led to the development of rearing technologies for the mass production of BSF larvae, which are described to an unprecedented extent in the present article. As with any innovation, some aspects of the production process still have to be improved and some experimental results need further validation before they can be up scaled at the level of mass production.