BSFL Castings for Red Wigglers

Elbourne(8b)July 1, 2013

I have a bin of black soldier fly larvae. I love the way they process large amounts of food scraps so quickly. However, I have read that the resulting castings are not stable compost. Several sources recommend feeding the BSFL castings through red wigglers.

I can not figure out, however, how to harvest the BSFL castings. My red wiggler castings are easy to harvest. I just kind of mix the bin, the worms bolt toward the bottom and I scrape the black gold off the top. Things are not that clean in the BSFL bin. The big maggots infest every level, making the separation very difficult.

Any ideas? Anyone with experience?

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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

Elbourne I've been doing it on a very small scale by putting the BSFL castings in a ventilated container isolated from any adult BSF so no new eggs can be laid in the material. Then it's a waiting game until all the remaining larvae pupate. In my system I trap the prepupal larvae and transfer them back to the main bin. You could just wait and release them as they mature into flies.

BSFL in outdoor bins are seasonal in North America so you could also just wait for autumn.

Here is a link that might be useful: Small Scale Indoor BSF Bin

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 6:11PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

This recent thread (below) has some suggestions on removing BSFL from a worm bin.

Here is a link that might be useful: BSFL Taking Over Bin

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 6:18PM
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boreal_wormer, I like your idea. Here is my experiment: I will make three bins.

1. The Green Bin - This bin will contain my active BSFL colony. I will add all the fresh food scraps to this bin.

2. The Blue Bin - I will take some of the stuff out of the Green bin and place it into the blue bin. The substance will contain the BSFL castings as well as a lot of the larvae themselves. I will then just starve this bin out, i.e. don't add any food and wait for the larvae to turn into flies.

3. The Red Bin - Once the blue bin contains no larvae, I can transfer the castings into the red bin, which contains my red wigglers. The worms can then stabilize the compost.

I have no idea how long the blue bin phase will take, but its worth a try.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 7:29PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

Elbourne in your "Blue bin" you will have to prevent any flies that have emerged from mating and laying eggs. The flies need strong light to mate so if you keep it dark that should work. Also flies will lay eggs on the outside of the bin and the newly hatched larvae can crawl through fine screen or small openings.

Another option would be to freeze the castings.

The Black Soldier Fly Blog has set up a Black Soldier Fly Mapping Project (link) displaying the locations of confirmed BSF sightings/wild populations and seasonal data. If you'd like to contribute there's a 'Report BSF sighting' link in the upper left corner of the map or you can use the link below.

Only locations which are submitted with adequate documentation will be used.

Here is a link that might be useful: Report BSF sighting

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 7:57PM
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Thanks. I almost did post a PS... my biggest concern would be that I contaminate the red bin with BSFL eggs. I guess patience will be my biggest obstacle.

My best bet would probably be just to wait until the winter, but where would the fun be in that? :)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:10PM
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Your blue bin needs a chicken to remove the larvae. Chickens are quite diligent workers, and will trade eggs for BSFL. Maybe that would speed up the process.

I have an old plastic pick-up bed liner that I dry VC in. My chickens hop in and scratch around and de-clump it for me.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:35AM
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A smart one that mendopete.

Plus he's got bodyguard chickens. Those happy chickens are not going to let anything happen to him.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 5:47PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

Elbourne another option might be to 'cook' the BSFL castings. A 'green' way (no powered required) to do this would be to use a simple solar oven or hot box. Basically just a box with a window (plastic or glass) as a lid facing towards the sun.

Here is a link that might be useful: solar box cooker plans

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 2:09PM
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True, it's not too clean, but when I want to add BSFL castings to my Worm Farm, I wait until they've eaten all the fresh stuff, then sort through a portion by hand (gloved), returning the beasts to their bin. If a few larvae get into the worm bin it's no real biggie.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:33PM
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