Since I last commented on the challenges of farming BSF larvae on a commercial scale back in 2016 (see Commercial Black Soldier Fly (BSF) Production in 2016 | Where Are We Today?) the number of companies and entrepreneurs interested in commercially farming BSF larvae steadily grown. Essential scientific research has also picked up regarding farming, propagation, and safety aspects of growing BSF larvae off varying substrate waste sources. There however are still a number of hurdles and challenges beyond those aired in my earlier comments needing attention. This is particularly apropos regarding current government regulatory guidelines designed to ensure the safety of “farmed insects” as an animal feedstock, or food product, and accompanying HACCP safety guidelines concerning oversight of the emerging industrial production of insects (see COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2017/893 and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals - Guidance for Industry). This blog reviews some of these latter issues concerning the farming of BSF larvae on a commercial scale. ...Read More?
Farming Black Soldier fly (BSF) larvae off food scrap waste requires careful planning in designing and building larval bioreactors which can be operated on installation efficiently and economically (see On the Economics of Farming BSF | Thinking Outside the Box). Bioreactors must be designed for easy setup and scalability. They must be built of inexpensive commonly available materials resistant to corrosion and/or biodegradation. The design and layout must be simple and adaptable for assembly indoors or outdoors depending upon local conditions while keeping an eye on the return on the investment. This blog describes how larval bioreactors can be built at low cost using commonly available materials on flat concrete floors or pads taking into account these designing constraints. ...Read More?
Several observations on the properties of food scrap leachate processed by Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae, combined with an analysis of its chemical composition, suggest that its plant growth stimulatory activities may be associated with two principal biological phenomenon - the delivery of inoculums of anaerobic nitrogen-fixing soil organisms, notably of the genus Clostridium, to soil which in consortium with other common soil microbes, creates conditions allowing for the fixation of nitrogen proximal to plant roots receiving leachate inoculums; and to the presence and/or subsequent formation of plant growth hormones such as gibberellic acid, auxins and cytokinins having intrinsic plant hormone growth stimulatory activities. ...Read More?
Entrepreneurs growing BSF larvae off food scrap waste often wrestle with the question of how many grams of BSF eggs, or larvae, per square meter of bin (bioreactor) space should be seeded into the waste serving as larval feedstock to achieve an optimal output of larvae in managing a farming facility. A more germane question is however the following - “How can I maximize the growth and harvest of larvae while minimizing labor and the overall cost of operating a plant facility?” This blog reviews some essential elements in farming BSF on a commercial scale in achieving this latter goal. ...Read More?
One could easily get the impression perusing the internet that harvesting Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae on a commercial scale grown off food scrap waste is akin to spinning straw into gold as in the well-known fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin, in this case however recovering valuable animal feedstock in the form of high quality protein and lipid-rich larvae. This blog reviews some of the challenging economic issues concerning farming BSF on a commercial scale. ...Read More?
In a series of earlier posts on this website I described varying aspects relating to the management of input waste, the output of spent waste, propagation and seeding steps in replacing harvested larvae, and the general layout and processing of bioreactors stacked vertically atop one another as a means of reducing the footprint of a modular Black Soldier Fly (BSF) plant facility .... This blog goes into more detail on how to calculate the logistical requirements in meeting larval production goals, namely the footprint in bioreactor space required to achieve a planned larval yield, how much input waste must be supplied in supporting a steady output of larvae, and BSF mating and propagation levels needed for seeding waste with new larvae in replacing those harvested, all in keeping the operation running on a sustained basis. ...Read More?
It is very difficult for anyone interested in starting up or planning to build a scaled up BSF production facility to find information on what needs to be addressed in the construction of a viable operating plant. . ...This blog describes in some depth critical steps to consider in operating a large scale modular BSF production facility including disclosure of information on how to reduce the footprint needed in scaling up a production facility by vertically stacking larval bioreactors in a central work area and integration of the layout to maximize the output of larval harvests and byproducts while streamlining the throughput of spent waste. ...Read More?
If someone tells you that commercial BSF production is simple, or that this technology has been worked out, you may want to check a little deeper into this subject. I posted a blog about two years ago addressing the business model in farming BSF regarding long standing challenges still needing attention (see On the Road to Commercial Production of BSFL |Sorting Out the Chaff). This blog is a follow-up review and critique of the current state of BSF technology relating to the growing of larvae off wastes, especially with regard to commercial scale up of BSF production. ...Read More?
In an earlier blog I described a simple technique for scaling up propagation of BSF using leachate recovered from food scrap and larvae mixed with leftover puparia shells (see Farming BSF | Propagating Larvae Simply and Economically). If you don’t have access to puparia shells, there are a number of other simple and inexpensive methods of propagating BSF. This blog describes the essential steps in achieving consistent and reliable results in maximizing the recovery of viable larvae. ...Read More?
In an earlier blog we described essential technical steps that need to be addressed in scaling up and optimizing larval yields using food scrap as larval feedstock (see Farming Black Soldier Flies (BSF) | Scaling Up & Sustaining Larval Production). In this blog we describe some observations on larval behavioral traits and corrective troubleshooting strategies effective in amplifying larval yields while at the same time averting colony collapse. ...Read More?
Growing Black Soldier fly (BSF) larvae off of food scrap as a feedstock is relatively straightforward on a backyard scale (see Black Soldier Fly Processing of Biodegradable Wastes). The same cannot be said regarding scaling up larval production to achieve sustained industrial outputs. This blog discusses scaling up and managing larval production incorporating corrective measures designed to overcome colony collapse (Post-Mortem) and other farming problems typically encountered on scaling up larval yields and the throughput of biodegradable wastes processed by BSF. ...Read More?
Black Soldier fly (BSF) larvae, on reaching the prepupae stage in their life-cycle, spontaneously self-harvest from waste in search of a dry and dark place to pupate (see The Life Cycle of the Black Soldier Fly). Younger larvae on occasion albeit prematurely self-harvest on encountering too much carbon dioxide accumulation in pockets of waste inadequately ventilated, or from waste that has overheated as a result of too much aeration. This blog describes a simple efficient larval trapping and retaining system ...Read More?
There is growing interest in the potential opportunity of commercially farming and harvesting Black Soldier fly (BSF) larvae as efficient and environmentally beneficial recyclers of waste, and as alternative high quality animal feedstocks, even though much work and research remains to be done for this goal to become a viable option (see Black Soldier Flies as Recyclers of Waste and Possible Livestock Feed). Farming BSF successfully on a commercial scale of any significance will depend very much on yields realized. ....This blog describes how to setup a simple and economical method for propagating larvae concerning scaling up BSF yields. ...Read More?
Black Soldier Fly larvae (BSFL) grown on food scrap, or on other biodegradable waste products, destined for incorporation into animal feedstock, or as food for human consumption, and BSFL byproducts destined for use as agricultural amendments, should be screened for contaminating pathogens before they are marketed (see, Farming BSFL - Foodborne Pathogens & Safety | What You Need to Know). This blog describes a practical and inexpensive way of screening BSFL and their byproducts for coliform contamination. ...Read more?
The natural arc in the evaluation of a new technology progresses in fits and starts beginning not surprisingly with hype and excitement, moving on to disillusionment, and ultimately adoption or rejection of the technology as a business venture based upon its practicality and viability under real world operating conditions. This blog discusses proposed farming of Black Soldier fly larvae (BSFL) for biofuel production in the context of its practicality as a business venture.
Commercial farming of BSFL (Black Soldier Fly larvae) grown off of food scrap requires accurate record keeping and monitoring for optimal BSF production year round. An important aspect in keeping a colony productive involves culling off a portion of the daily BSF prepupae harvest for maintenance of the insect colony. For optimal year round yields, the emergence of new adult BSF should be monitored on a regular basis in propagating new offspring. ...Read more?
Scaled up commercial farming of BSFL (Black Soldier Fly larvae) grown off of food scrap and/or animal manure could be a big step forward in reducing the dumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere associated with recycling wastes, return and restore carbon, nitrogen and other essential plant nutrients back to soils, reduce overfishing of our oceans and, hand in hand, create new business opportunities associated with the construction and operation of BSFL processing plants. While the potential in realizing commercial success exists, there are significant hurdles to be addressed if this goal is to become a reality. ...Read more?
Larvae of the Black Soldier Fly (BSF), a non-pest and non-disease spreading insect, efficiently feed on discarded wastes such as food scrap, accelerating its decomposition and the recycling process. This blog describes what to look for in decaying waste in identifying and becoming more familiar with the use of BSF in recycling waste starting from the egg stage up through the larval stage of their life-cycle. ...Read more?
Although it may be unnerving, wherever people live rats are invariably nearby. Rats looking for food and shelter will, given the opportunity, access compost and food scrap recycling bins. This blog describes how to deny rats access to plastic bins inexpensively without having to resort to poison bait traps that are harmful to other wildlife and the environment. ...Read more?
A major barrier hindering large scale continuous year round production of Black Soldier fly larvae (BSFL) is the absence of practical knowledge on how to design, build and economically operate a BSFL production facility. ...Read more?
This blog describes how to produce sun-dried larvae using passive solar energy resulting in stabilized larvae storable on site and suitable for shipping without spoilage in anticipation of marketing commercially farmed larvae to animal feedstock formulators.
Leachates are a natural byproduct of organic wastes. Their chemical makeup and nutritional value in providing ecological viability to soil and their value in stimulating plant growth varies depending upon the source of the waste from which they are produced.
Black Soldier fly (BSF) larvae play a critical role in working in synergy with microbes in recycling wastes. This blog describes observations on applying BSF leachate (the liquid fraction) recovered from processed food scrap to soil and leafy plants. ...Read more?
Black Soldier fly larvae grown from food scrap and agricultural debris are an excellent feedstock for domesticated chickens and grub eating native birds, fish (tilapia, trout, catfish, bluegills, etc.), reptiles and amphibians. ...Read more?
Maintaining a well-run aerobic composting pile takes attention to detail and manual labor to ensure a stable end-product. Here’s a neat trick you can do to accelerate the decomposition process – let Black Soldier flies (BSF) take over the job. Save yourself a lot of work. ...Read more?
This blog describes the effect of temperature on the emergence rate of adult BSF in addition to showing how this can be easily measured simply at home and in scaled up processing facilities. ...Read more?
Black Soldier flies (BSF, H. illucens) divert organic byproducts and greenhouse gases from ending up in the atmosphere and waterways. BSF larvae may even one day reduce overfishing of the oceans. ...Read more?
Sometimes even a small change in the way we do things can pay back big time. This blog describes how you can disengage from the garbage pick-up grid in dealing with your food scrap and other wastes generated at home. ...Read more?
Black Soldier flies (BSF) tend to wind down their activity in Norther sections of the world when temperatures drop below about 60 F (~15 C). So how is it that they survive in more Northern sections of the world during the bitter freezing winter months? ...Read more?
In Phase I and Phase II we described the layout and initial construction of a Black Soldier fly (BSF) shed constructed for researching scaling up, propagation and management of BSF larvae used for recycling food scrap and agricultural wastes. The shed, because it is in a Northern temperate zone too cold for propagation of BSF outdoors during the winter months, was designed to deal with temperature fluctuations between summer and winter months by installing insulation throughout the walls, subfloors and roof, making it practical to operate year round. ...Read more?
Many people use the liquid fraction (in chemical terms designated the leachate fraction), collected as the waste decomposes, as a liquid fertilizer. This practice can actually cause unanticipated inhibition, the stunting of plant growth, or even the loss of valuable plants in the garden. ...Read more?
Aside from reducing the amount of waste generated through better distribution and management of food in the first place, more effort needs to be spent in finding better ways of recycling food scrap. ...Read more?
In Phase I we described the layout and initial construction of our site for scaling up propagation of larvae used in processing and recycling food scrap aimed at building a commercially viable business in working with Black Soldier fly (BSF) biotechnologies. ...Read more?
At DipTerra (http://www.dipterra.com) we have devoted considerable effort over the last few years collecting data on the characteristics of Black Soldier flies regarding how to propagate them year round, and their role in accelerating the decomposition and recycling of nutrients in food scrap waste. ...Read more?
At DipTerra (http://www.dipterra.com) we have compiled a series of practical “how to” eBooks in pdf format available for purchase which provide detailed information on the propagation, management and maintenance of a Black Soldier fly nursery, how to build a food scrap recycling bin in processing food scrap waste, information on the biology of the Black Soldier fly, and related recycling applications. ...Read more?
Larvae of the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) are extraordinarily efficient in recycling vegetal and food scrap wastes back into the environment. The liquid fraction released as the organic waste gets recycled can be used by gardeners as a foliar spray, and soil conditioner, in stimulating the growth of plants. ...Read more?
Look at the beauty of the common Black Soldier fly! Life goes on at every level from the humblest of insects to humans, each with its own place in the world. Here you see two Black Soldier flies mating. ...Read more?