Many scientists have known insects can digest manure and produce high quality feed for animals. Biosecurity, the need for a separate facility and labor for harvesting increase the cost of production.
Among the most promising species for industrial feed production are black soldier flies. The fly resembles a skinny black wasp. It does not sting and is difficult to notice since it does not fly into houses or where human beings are gathered.
The black soldier fly’s habits and non-pest status allows for development of low-cost production.
Black soldier fly larvae consume a wide variety of organic matter including animal manures and food waste. While consuming this material they assimilate nutrients thus significantly reduce its volume and pollution potential. They also control house flies through competition, and produce high quality feed-stuff and other products. The biology and habits of this large wasp-like fly make it well suited to large scale value-added waste management. Adults live and mate near larval habitat, not seeking to enter dwellings as house flies do. Adults do not need to feed, surviving on the large fat body developed as a larvae.
This beneficial insect occurs worldwide in tropical and warm-temperate regions. Larvae occur in very dense populations, often covering the larval food resource in a solid layer. Mature larvae migrate from this mass of feeding larvae to find protected pupation sites. The migration of this energy and protein rich pre-pupae makes self-harvest possible. Pre-pupae do not feed and have an empty gut, making this the ideal stage to collect for a feed-stuff.
Facts about the black soldier fly
- Black in colour
- A little larger than a housefly
- Does not bite or sting
- Neither larvae nor adults are considered pests or vectors
- They prevent houseflies and blowflies from laying eggs in the material inhabited by black soldier fly larvae
- Larvae are an excellent source of sustainable protein (45%) for aqua culture/animal feed.
Benefits of Black Soldier Flies
- The Black Soldier Fly larvae will eat kilograms of scrap food a night eliminating your food waste before it can even begin to rot.
- They then harvest themselves into buckets.
- High in protein and fat they can be used as a man ingredient in animal feeds.
Running a Black Soldier Fly Farm
- Adult Black Soldier Flies are attracted to the fool scraps in the bin.
- They lay eggs which hatch in about 4 days.
- 1 square meter of Black Soldier Flies will eat 15 Kg waste food daily and convert this waste to nutrients.
- Mature larvae crawl up the slope of the bin and drop into a container placed at the opening.
- Waste food from an average household can produce up to 1 kg of Black Soldier Fly larvae in a day.
- Production continues for as long as fresh waste food is added to the bin on a daily basis.
- The larvae can be fed directly to pigs, ducks,chicken and fish.
- They can also be dried , milled and used for making commercial feeds.