They’re here!! Yesterday we received our order of black soldier fly larvae, and I am SO EXCITED!!
I had never heard of these things before they showed up in our Portland compost bin a few years ago, so I have to assume that some other folks haven’t heard of them, either. Well, I’m here to tell you – they ROCK.
Although the adult flies look a bit menacing (I don’t have a picture of a full-grown soldier fly handy, but if you do a Google image search, there are tons out there – they almost look a bit waspish if you don’t know better), they are completely harmless to humans and are incredibly beneficial to compost bins and gardens.
This is not a very exciting picture of the little larvae we received, which makes me wish I could post the video: they are very active little wigglers! We are so excited to put them in our compost bin, where they will make short work of all the old lettuce, cucumber peels, egg shells, and even fish or meat (there is a crazy YouTube video out there, which my son and I watch yesterday to his rapt amazement, of a swarm of black solider fly larvae completely demolishing a couple of fish in under 24 hours: here is the link Black Soldier Fly_Fish ). Our compost bin in Portland was very active. The black solider flies just found it and laid their eggs in there, and soon the pile of organic waste started shrinking before our eyes, and turning into a heap of black gold.
We haven’t been so lucky on our homestead, and I’ve only seen one Black Soldier Fly since we moved here last fall. The larvae weren’t cheap ($40 for the small container pictured above which presumably contains about 5,000 of the little guys) but they will be well worth it, as our compost hasn’t attracted any worms either, and so it’s just rotting, not composting. It smells terrible, which should not be the case with a good, active compost pile.
I have all the confidence in the world that will be changing very soon. We will get some red wrigglers to put in there too, just to keep the pile aerated, but in my experience the soldier fly larvae are way more efficient than worms at breaking down our kitchen waste and turning it into luscious, beautiful compost for the garden.
I’m so stoked. 🙂
(For those who are interested, there is tons of info out there about how amazing these insects are. Here is a site that contains a lot of general information about the flies and larvae: Beneficial Insects – Black Soldier Flies There are videos that show how they are grown and used for industrial waste management, which is pretty impressive. If you stumble across any information I haven’t shared here, please feel free to comment!)