My story about worms and BSFL

tlynch001(9)June 3, 2014

I was excited about the idea of worms composting all my leftovers, so when I got a few hundred worms I made a nice box for them and then started tossing in the rinds/skins from watermelon and cantaloupe and mangos and whatever else the kids were eating.

Of course, it was far too much, and I learned about BSFL. Because overnight the box was full of them. It's true. You can literally hear them eating your food. And I could throw in as much as I wanted...the problem was the box turned into a sticky gooey mess. The poor worms were all stuck huddling in a corner in the box.

I was thinking maybe I should be a BSFL breeder, but they are just creepy. So I shredded up ALOT of cardboard (turns out my low budget PX1000 shredder could handle it) and mixed it all in with the icky muck in the box. Equally importantly, I stopped feeding them.

I checked the box a week later. All the BSFL are still there, but not moving. But the worms! They are everywhere! I'm thinking that the BSFL broke the food down and once I made the environment more livable for the worms, the worms threw a party.

As a test, I threw in some more watermelon and the BSFL 'woke up' and went back to work.

So I'm not sure what path to take right now. Get the maggots to break it down and let the worms at it? Or just feed them with much more moderation and let them live together in harmony. If I find a good solution I'll post it later.

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11otis

IMO, you have juggle the situation perfectly. If you don't mind having BSF flying around once they graduate from the larva stage. It is a good way to go if you have too much kitchen scraps, just make sure BSFL don't take over the bin. You might want to start having fish or chicken to help you keep the BSFL population balanced, lol.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 3:38PM
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terrafoe(7b-8b)

I would separate them into two different bins.. BSF/L can overheat and kill the worms if the balance isn't kept steady.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 7:10PM
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equinoxequinox

Double Post.

This post was edited by equinoxequinox on Wed, Jun 4, 14 at 6:50

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 11:53PM
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equinoxequinox

Great first post. I learned a lot. Please continue to let us know how this all works out. A poster named I think it was Red Hen used to post about this topic somewhere but I have not seen any posts in a long time. The posts were interesting. As I recall I think it ended up being too difficult. The BSFL do preprocess everything dealing with volume highs and lows and then the worms put the material into nice individual packets. But the BSFL make the bin somehow not super conductive to worm greatness. Perhaps only because one can not sell worms to people who then get worms and BSFL to their shock.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 6:49AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

Worm bins are BSF magnets so having separate bins will not work unless the bin is isolated so the female flies cannot lay their eggs. You'd probably have to have to build a screened inclosure or move the worm bin inside your house.

tlynch001 may have found a partial solution by adding a lot of shredded cardboard. BSFL will not eat cellulose where worms will.

Here is a link that might be useful: Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Worm Bins

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 2:43PM
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MaryAnn1950

I THINK I HAVE A BSF INFESTATION. I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY ADULTS AROUND. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THESE ARE BSF LARVE. SHOULD I GET A LOT OF THEM OUT AND USE CARDBOARD TO TRY TO KEEP THEM OUT OR JUST STOP FEEDING SCRAPS AND DO THE CARDBOARD THING.? THEY ARE CAMERA SKY. I HOPE YOU CAN SEE THEM. SORRY ABOUT THE ALL CAPS !!!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 4:14PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

A close-up photo would be needed to be sure but yes those do look like BSFL

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:37PM
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equinoxequinox

Maybe during July and August your kitchen scrap volume is such that you need BSFL to do the massive work they are great at. Check out BSFL bins. Be sure to add dry bedding to absorb the large quantity of moisture they are able to release from food sources. Their castings are handy to have around to feed to your worm bin in the lean months. Yet BSFL visit right when you need them too. You might want BSFL and worms in two different bins. If BSFL have infested your bins you might want to stop feeding and add lots of bedding. I have not had BSFL grace my bins so this information is from reading the archives and BSFL sites. It is almost like a combinations of methods to handle kitchen scraps is needed. This could be a combination of soup stock, chickens, goats, BSFL, vermicomposting, one of those composters that spins, in the ground composting, above ground composting. Did I miss any? There should or at least could be a hierarchy of best use of the resource practices for kitchen and yard resources.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:49PM
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armoured

Can't think of a better place to paste this:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-09/cape-town-to-get-biggest-fly-farm-as-maggot-meal-replaces-soy.html

(In short, a CapeTown firm is establishing a fly compost facility, which will be used to produce 'fly meal' protein - essentially a replacement for other types of proteins used in things like fish farms.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:24PM
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MaryAnn1950

I think I will stop feeding for a while and put in the dry bedding and shredded cardboard. Yes I probably have been putting in too many scrapes and I didn't order but 500 red wigglers. I am going to order more worms and slow the feeding down to let the red wigglers catch up.. I want to have just a compost bin my soil is very wet so when I can I will purchase an above ground bin. And I will have plenty for that I am sure. Thanks for the help everyone!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:12PM
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