BSFL Taking Over Bin

wjason777June 10, 2013

Hello, I just recently build a VB48 that I keep in my garage, moved the contents from my WF360 into the VB48. In all I have about 3 maybe 4lbs of worms. When I added the bedding from the WF I did notice above a handful of BSFL I picked what I could then finish adding the bedding. About a week pass and now Im seeing more and more BSFL. It seems like the more I feed the worms the more BSFL I see its as if they are taking over. I see more BSFL now than I see worms. I added a level of shredded paper but that still doesn't seem to help. What should I do in this case? Buy more worms and add more bedding? I have about 30lbs of peat moss that I could add. Also I stay in south east Georgia, the summers here is very hot and humid.Right now my bedding is at about 100 degrees. Here are a few pictures any suggestions would be very helpful.

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chuckiebtoo

BSF ARE repulsive. They're unwelcome. Not at all desirable. But, they are fantastic composters.

From the looks of those pics, you've got a really significant infestation of them. If that situation were mine, I'd probably make myself an outdoor in-ground or raised bin and try to harvest a bunch of the worms for my indoor bins.

I had them once...not to that extent....and the problem eventually went away after I discontinued fly-favorite foods. I mainly fed cardboard, paper, and less liquid foodstock in small shoebox sized mini-bins. And did a lot of undesirable things that made my wife re-evaluate her opinion of my competence.

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 6:32AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

I don't see the problem ;-) Your waste will be processed faster, drainage shouldn't be a problem with a flow through bin and BSFL can fetch a dime a piece in pet stores.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 7:28AM
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dretutz

Newbie here. What do the abbreviations stand for? I think I figured out WF (worm factory?). The rest remain a mystery and I suspect I should know about the dangers of BSFL. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 12:59PM
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wjason777

Vb48= verm bin 48
BSFL= black solider fly larvae
WF360= Worm factory 360

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 1:28PM
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wjason777

Boreal_wormer
The problem is, these larvae is making my bin reach temps of 100 degrees plus. I think my worms are slowly dying and I really don't think they enjoy the company. If I stop feeding

If I stop feeding the worms for a few weeks and let them eat what's in already in the bin do you think the larvae would leave or die out?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 1:35PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

If I stop feeding the worms for a few weeks and let them eat what's in already in the bin do you think the larvae would leave or die out?

It could take a while (see the link below).

Here is a link that might be useful: BSF Forum

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 3:32PM
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Shaul(Israel)

You have two separate problems. If you want to save your worms, you need to bring down bin temps to under 85 F. You might try and see whether BSFL can live in water (like worms can for a period of time). Put some larva into a container of water and see what happens, if they die then you can try flooding the bin to kill them off. But as mentioned above, pet stores will buy 'em for feeding lizards and fish. Chickens and Ducks love 'em too.

Shaul

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 7:13PM
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wjason777

How do I bring the temps down?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 8:54PM
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Shaul(Israel)

You bring down temps with air flow, gel ice packs (in the bin, or blocks of ice which melt), or spraying the inside with cold water. You might need to set up a fan to circulate air in the garage (even if you have windows or air vents), garages are notorious for cooking worm bins during summer months. If your bin temps are over 90F on a constant basis, then your worms will not be 'slowly' dying; they will be 'quickly' dying and all will be dead in short order. 4 lbs of worms is an investment of approx $150-. Seems like a lot of money to waste for the sake of some BSFL..

Shaul

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:38AM
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wjason777

Shaul
4LBs of worms is $72 where Im from. I could get very small fan put it on low and put it in the box with the worms with the lid close. well my temps are over 100 degrees so I know Im down to about 1lb At this point I really dont know what to do.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:22AM
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mendopete

Freeze some water in plastic soda bottles or milk jugs and place in the bin. HURRY!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 9:49AM
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chuckiebtoo

East Texas worm comforter (air conditioner).......$99.00

It might be an extravagant luxury in many places. In East Texas, a necessity.

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:51AM
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chuckiebtoo

East Texas worm comforter (air conditioner).......$99.00

It might be an extravagant luxury in many places. In East Texas, a necessity.

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:53AM
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wjason777

It's hard keeping the temps down with all the larvae because they also produces heat

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:53AM
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chuckiebtoo

East Texas worm comforter (air conditioner).......$99.00

It might be an extravagant luxury in many places. In East Texas, a necessity.

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:55AM
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wjason777

Chuckiebtoo
Nice idea. I'm trying to figure out away to install a fan inside my box. My box already has 3 air vents.
I think it's best I start over. These BSFL are pretty much everywhere. I see just a few balls of worms

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:00AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

I don't know how much help these will be:
Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bin (link for PDF file)

"How to Get Rid of Soldier Flies From Worm Farms" from the ehow.com site (link)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Shaul(Israel)

If there is any way to save whatever worms you can without BSFL mixed in, then do so. Worse-case scenario: dump the whole thing out (on a compost pile) wash the bin with plenty of water and start over. In the future you need to be more proactive in terms of moisture, air flow, cooling (and heating), bedding, food etc. etc. While there have been times when I've not checked on them for a week or two, in general this is not a set-it and forget-it type of hobby. Unfortunately, you have experienced an example of how things can go very wrong, very fast.

Shaul

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Shaul(Israel)

If there is any way to save whatever worms you can without BSFL mixed in, then do so. Worse-case scenario: dump the whole thing out (on a compost pile) wash the bin with plenty of water and start over. In the future you need to be more proactive in terms of moisture, air flow, cooling (and heating), bedding, food etc. etc. While there have been times when I've not checked on them for a week or two, in general this is not a set-it and forget-it type of hobby. Unfortunately, you have experienced an example of how things can go very wrong, very fast.

Shaul

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:45PM
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Shaul(Israel)

Sorry, posted twice by mistake.

Shaul

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:50PM
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wjason777

Shaul, that's what I'm leaning towards to. But first I'm going to try the bread and milk technique that boreal_worms posted the link for. Then if that don't work I'm going to save all the red worms I can then throw all material that was in the bin into my compost pile outside, clean bin, then use peat moss for the new bedding. Only feed worms card bored and chicken mash. I also have some lettuce from my garden that I could freeze then burry it in the bedding. If bin gets to hot which it shouldnt I'm going to instal a fan
Just looking at all the food that was in my bin I really over fed them. That was the problem. And shaul your right, I think I tried to rush things a little to much.

My next question is, with a big box like VB48 that I have about how much bedding should I add to the box with 4lbs of worms?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:55PM
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Shaul(Israel)

Personally, I only use shredded corrugated cardboard as bedding in a large plastic bin. Perhaps others, who know the size of your bin, can better advise you. What I like about cardboard as bedding is that besides the cost of a decent (10-15 sheet) paper shredder, there is no other investment. You can find cardboard boxes outside any grocery store or supermarket and have a years' supply of bedding for free. Although cardboard is not a primary food source, the worms will eventually eat it, making it easy to separate the castings from the bedding. and any leftover food. in my case, cardboard goes together with leftover food (in a new bin) and the castings are everything else. Can't say the same for peat moss. Don't know how you would separate the peat moss from the castings (to be able to reuse the peat as bedding ) or do the worms eat the peat moss as well? Seems like you would have to buy more peat each time. Anyway these are just my own thoughts and anyone with experience using peat moss as bedding is welcome to comment.

Shaul

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:10AM
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chuckiebtoo

Somehow my post was triplicated. Either that, or I've begun repeating myself.

Either that, or I've begun repeating myself.

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Shaul(Israel)

One of the problems with this website is: there's no Cancel button. Once you start posting something, you can edit it but you can't cancel it. When my message was posted twice, I tried to cancel out the second one, but without success.

Shaul

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:41PM
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equinoxequinox

wjason777: Great pictures. One even shows BSFL and a couple of worms sharing the stage.

To cool the bin:

1. Remove cover.
1. a. Leave it off.

2. Stop feeding.

3. The fan should not be under a cover.

To get rid of BSFL:

1. Bring bin outside and in the shade.
1. a. Let the birds do the work.

Also:

1. If there are BSFL eating this fast you need major moisture control.
1. a. Add absorbent material below, above and in the middle.

If you catch these guys in the micro size or as adults we would enjoy seeing those pictures too. They would be educational.

Side question:

Are only BSFL attracted to rotting fruit or are maggots too?
I was thinking house fly maggots are only attracted to meat. How does one tell housefly from BSF when they are in the "L" larva stage?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 12:57AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

"Are only BSFL attracted to rotting fruit or are maggots too? "

BSFL are Detritivores "consuming detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as organic fecal matter)"

"How does one tell housefly from BSF when they are in the "L" larva stage? "

See the link below

Here is a link that might be useful: The difference between BSL and fly maggots

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 9:50AM
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equinoxequinox

Thank you.

They look nearly identical to me.

If they were under a rotting sweet potato were they most likely BSFL?

It is the time of year we should be prepared to meet them unexpectedly.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:37PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

"If you catch these guys in the micro size or as adults we would enjoy seeing those pictures too. They would be educational."

Lots of photos over at the BlackSoldierFlyBlog at the link below.

Sharing lunch with 2000 black soldier flies (YouTube) shows that the flies are not pests

Here is a link that might be useful: BSF photo gallery

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 11:51PM
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wjason777

Ok so Im back home now and the bin is the first thing I checked on. There are maybe 40 worms dead on the floor, some how they got out. Inside the bin all of the food that I fed the worms this pass weekend is gone. The red worms are piled up on the edges and the BSFL are under neath them and in the middle of the bin. When I dig the bedding up in the middle there is no red worms but maybe a few 100 BFSL, I can honestly say the red worms are out numbered at least 4 to 1. Even though there isnt anymore food in the been these BSFL is very active. The bin temp is still about 100 degrees. When I grab a hand full of worms from the edges there are a few BSFL along with them. Picking out the BSLF is going to be harder than I thought.

Should I still dump the bin and start over, or try cooling down the bin with a small fan and dont feed the worms for a few weeks?

The BSFL dont seem like they are going anywhere anytime soon. I even see a lot of younger ones. Here is a Pic

There are a lot more than what these pics are should its just that they move so fast when you peal back a layer of bedding that I cant focus and snap the photo fast enough.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:06AM
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Shaul(Israel)

What you need to do is speak to them nicely and tell them that the reason you're trying to photograph them is in order to post their pictures on the internet, and that they'll all be famous. That way they'll stand still, and then you can take as many pictures as you want.

Shaul

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:23AM
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wjason777

Lol, I talked to them, They said feed me!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:39AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

"Should I still dump the bin and start over, or try cooling down the bin with a small fan and don't feed the worms for a few weeks?"

You have to consider that unless your bin is, or can be, isolated from the adult flies they'll probably just reestablish (note I didn't say re-infest - I like BSF) themselves. One female lays several hundred eggs.

Note that using screen on just the bin will probably not work. People have reported BSFL in septic tanks and it's thought that females lay their eggs on the outside of screened vents and the newly hatched larvae crawl through the screen.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 9:09AM
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equinoxequinox

redhen, as I recall was doing some work with BSFL and vermicompost worms. I have not seen her post since before Chuckiebtoo paused posting. Hey Chuckiebtoo, What would red hen say about BSFL?

Perhaps grab those hand fulls of vermicompost worms and start a new bin? The few BSFL are ok. They will eventually leave. Preventing new ones by the flies seems like it might be a challenge.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 4:05PM
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wjason777

I finally got the bin down to about 85 degrees. I installed a Honeywell fan inside. Im guessing the BSFL are not liking the temps because they are falling out and into my catch trays.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 4:05AM
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chuckiebtoo

Redhen, being the lifeguard that she is, would dive right into that quagmire, rescue the worms, and exorcise the BSF. OR, she would dry out the bin, reduce the BSFL populations, and watch the teamwork those critters are capable of.

BSFL are to be avoided. They aren't a fatal attraction.

Chuckiebtoo

BTW Dry out the bin.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 7:18AM
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chuckiebtoo

Redhen, being the lifeguard that she is, would dive right into that quagmire, rescue the worms, and exorcise the BSF. OR, she would dry out the bin, reduce the BSFL populations, and watch the teamwork those critters are capable of.

BSFL are to be avoided. They aren't a fatal attraction.

Chuckiebtoo

BTW Dry out the bin.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 7:20AM
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chuckiebtoo

Duplicate messaging again. When it happened, screen popped up saying the web page had expired. Well, it hadn't, apparently, until AFTER I pushed the post button.

Posters need to be able to correct these kinds of uh-oh's. How about a deletion option?

Sorry,

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 7:27AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

Im guessing the BSFL are not liking the temps because they are falling out and into my catch trays.

As the larvae mature they turn dark and look for a drier place to pupate and turn into adult flies. It's a characteristic that is used to have then self harvest. Purpose built BSFL bins have ramps for the larvae to climb which empty into collection buckets.

You can feed yours to birds or fish.

The link below will give you a method for collecting the pale immature larvae from the top of the bin.

Here is a link that might be useful: Collecting Immature Larvae

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 2:00PM
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wjason777

boreal_wormer
Thanks I wish you would of gave me that link a few days ago.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 7:00AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

"Thanks I wish you would of gave me that link a few days ago."

So many links and not so much memory (mine) anymore ;o)

This post was edited by boreal_wormer on Mon, Jun 17, 13 at 15:26

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:41AM
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equinoxequinox

See if under "Clippings" the green text in the upper right of each post there is under your post only a "New" "Edit Post" button. If it does not allow you to delete the post, perhaps you can just erase most of the words of the double post.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:36PM
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AustinBill

It sounds to me like, even if I can get rid of most of the BSFL by lowering temp and changing feed, I am likely to have a re-infestation because I do live in South Florida, and temps are not completely under my control. True?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 7:19PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

The answer to your question is yes they will likely reoccur as the gravid female BSF find the conditions in worm bins ideal for laying their eggs as there is a ready supply of food for the larvae when they hatch.

This post was edited by boreal_wormer on Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 20:35

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:23PM
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priswell(9 CA)

Two things encourage BSF larvae: Overfeeding and Overwatering. If you've got enough BSFL to start a science fiction horror movie, you are feeding waaaaaaay too much food for the worms to clean up at one time.

Stop feeding for a while. Add some new bedding. Gently turn the bin every day for a week to help oxidize what you've got. It will release that ammonia and let it escape.

If you really want to get into it, you can get a long-handled teaspoon and flick those BSFL out for the birds to eat. You can even take out globs of them with the bedding, set it out for the birds, then sweep it up after the birds have done their thing and put it back in the bin. It will be somewhat dried out, which will be a bonus.

Technically BSFL will not harm the redworms, BUT worms don't like all that busy activity that the BSFL get involved in, and they don't like the acidic environment that the BSFL prefer, so they will retreat to corners, or try to escape, or just plain die off.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 5:26PM
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equinoxequinox

The BSFL boards have people brewing up all kinds of magic potions to attract BSF's to lay eggs with no success.

October to April worm boards have no posts concerning this topic. The problem goes away with the heat. Luckily the peek of BSFL coincides with garden waste excess time and about the same time as the arrival of zucchini bats. These same BSFL possibly can be used to keep worm bins warm in the winter.

As priswell said, "set it out for the birds, then sweep it up after the birds." Problem solved.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 6:10PM
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Lisa_H(7)

I made the mistake of bringing in my worm bin that had BSFL in it too. I was going on vacation and it was heating up outside. I was afraid it was going to be too hot.

When I got back, I found dried slime trails on my kitchen floor and a bunch of dead larvae. Since then I have been finding dead BS flies every evening when I come home. So...beneficial or not, don't bring those bins into your house (and leave them unattended) :)

My plan in the morning is to dump out that bin, save a few worms and send the rest of them to the compost pile.

Lisa

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:30PM
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