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Care and Use of Black Soldier Fly Larvae

 

    I mail them in zip lock clear plastic bags so that it will be easy to monitor their condition,  store them,  and feed your pet.  There is tiny holes in the plastic so they can breath.  
They do not like light so, cover them with a cloth.
  They are usually packed in grain.  The grain will slowly be consumed but mostly,  it helps mantain the proper humidity in the bag.  Do not add water unless it looks very dry and then only a few drops.  If you see a tiny amount of  "dew"  inside the bag,  that's perfect.  They should have no bad smells.  You should just smell the grain.  Sometimes,  if you have them for a long time,  they can develop a slight ammonia smell.  Just add 1/2 teaspoon or less of white vinegar.  It will immediately neutralize the odor and they like a slightly acid environment. 
    There is very little you need to do in order to keep them alive and comfortable.  Room temperature is fine but a little cooler (around 60 F) will make them last longer.  Warm them up before feeding time to get them moving again. I recommend you buy only enough to last for 3 weeks.

How to feed (grow) Black Soldier Fly Larvae

    You do not need to gut load,  dust or even feed your BSFL.  We have provided an environment and enough food for them to last long enough for your pet to consume them. (approx. 3 weeks)

    Why would you want to feed them?  Used as a reptile feeder that will be gone in 3 weeks there is no point.  However,  buying a larger quantity of tiny grubs and growing them to the proper size may be fun and economical for you. An added advantage would be the creation of superior compost/ fertilizer and getting rid of your kitchen waste. However, It takes some knowege and practice. See How to Compost with BSFL

     Here are some tips:

    These instruction are meant for raising relatively small quantities of BSFL.
    You must control humidity and temperature to be sucessful.
    You will need to separate them from the "frass" afterward.  This could be as easy as picking them out with tweezers or your fingers,  There are other methods for large quantities.  A small piece of plastic sheeting placed on top will bring them to the surface in a relatively clean state.

    Maintaining humidity is probably the most important issue,  Do not make a "stink box", you will be sorry.  Assuming you will be feeding them kitchen scraps, the pod can get too wet very fast.  You will need something to adjust the humidity on hand at all times.  Cereal,   stale bread,   flour,  grain,   anything that will quickly absorb moisture.   I use Table Bran because they like to eat it.   You can use saw dust but they can not eat it.   Don't be afraid to disturb the bin.   I like to keep a spare container on hand and slowly dump one into the other. (so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top). Keep it dry, keep it dry, keep it dry, and don't give them too much food at one time.  No more than the total mass of grubs.  They will eat it in one day.   Feeding will increase their size very quickly. 

    Temperature,  although not as important,   must be maintained.   If your colony is large enough,   it will generate it's own heat.  A cold pod is not dead but they will stop eating and can cause food to rot.  (enough said)  Keep a thermometer in the pod.  A working pod is 104 F. but 85 F is acceptable.   You will not need to "heat" the pod,  just keep the pod in a heated space like a cellar or a heated garage.   Do not cover the container.  It must breath.

    If they turn black,  that's normal and a perfect time to feed them to your pets.  If you see an adult fly don't worry, they are harmless, beneficial insects. They are just soft, clean,  fluffy little creatures with no bite or sting.  They are easy to capture and you can feed them to your pet or release them in summer.