Black Fly Farming
Black soldier fly is found in most countries hover native species are common to geotropically areas. The adult insect known as Hermetia illucens is a medium sized black colored fly. It has huge antennas, reddish abdomen black legs with whitish tarsi. Other features include overlapped membranous wings and thin grey strip in posterior end. An interesting adaptation is the mimicking the organ pipe mud dauber wasp in appearance behavior and color.
Are Black Soldier Fly Pests
Black flies are not regarded as pests to humans. This is because they are not attracted to human habitation. Other reasons are prevention of blowflies or houseflies from laying eggs in decaying matter. The fly hardly eats consume only liquids like flower nectar have less energy to fly. They neither bite or sting are sanitary easy to catch or pickup.
Benefits of Black Fly Farming
Black flies are used to produce quality compost or fertilizer. This is attainable from the use of the dead flies, eggs or larvae. There are food companies who use black fly as ingredients in their products.
Perfect for pharmaceutical companies in the production cosmetics or grease based products. They are easy to farm require very small space to produce thousands of them. Although they have relatively short lives 6 weeks they are rugged and tough. Finally the fly is good to eat because they are great at converting feed into food.
- Ingredient in quality fertilizer
- High reproduction rate
- Short LiveCycle
- Require very small space
- Used to produce quality fertilizer
- Produce cosmetics
- Grease based products
- They are easy to farm
Uses and Economic Value
Soldier fly has many uses and economic value to the farmer. Uses are as animal feed, human food and production of grease. Other applications include decomposer in compositing, bioremediation and production of chitin.
- Used in animal feed
- Human food
- Production of grease
- Decomposer in compositing
- Production of chitin
Production of Chitin
Scientific applications include the production of Chitin. Chitin is an important component in water purification. Other uses are found in the shipping and automobile industry for the production of biofuel.
Production of Grease
Most grease based products are made from palm oil or vegetable oil. However black solider fly larvae is used as a replacement for other oil products. Industrial application is production of grease for cosmetic products, surfactants in gels or pharmaceutical products.
Do you know people eat black soldier fly larvae as food? This is because they are edible good source of protein 42%. 1 gram fly eggs produce 2.4kg protein. The larvae when cooked have a hard outside, soft inner with meaty distinctive taste.
Farmers feed their livestock black fly larvae and pupae. The larvae or pupae have good shelf life at 14C. Feed them to catfish, tilapia, bass, lizards, chicken, duck or turkey.
An adult female black fly will deposit her egg on certain types of material. Typical surfaces are compost, manure, decaying matter or crevices. They lay from 200 eggs to 600 egg which hatch in 4 days.1.0 millimeter length black fly larvae emerge and grows rapidly maximum of 22 days.
By this time the larvae weigh up to 22 grams and grow about 24 millimeters in length.it is possible to increase the larvae stage if conditions of low feeding and low temperature is achieved. The next stage of development is the pupa which lasts 7 to 14 days. Adult fly about two and half months on flower nectar. Therefore the whole process from egg-larvae-pupa-fly 31 days.
Disease and Infection
Suffocation or heat will kill the larvae temperatures above 44C is a death sentence. Another killer is virus infection, mites and parasitic wasps.
- Temperatures above 44C
- Virus infection
- Parasitic wasps
Intensive Black Soldier Fly Farming
Black Soldier Flies are common to South Africa, United States of America, France, Italy and Russia. Intensive culture requires trapping them or purchasing them online or from a dealer.
Black Fly Farming
To create a larvae colony you need to attract black soldier flies to lay eggs in the farm. Main equipment in the fly farm is a cordoned area with mosquito net and corrugated plastic or corrugated cardboard to encourage egg laying. The main difficulty is sourcing or attracting the black fly. Things to consider in black soldier fly larvae production is provision of space, light source and heat and humidity levels. Minimum space requirements 20 liters space, light sources are sunlight or iodine lamps, heat 37C, humidity 50% to 70%.
There are two types of fly cage the PVC pipes cage and wooden frame type with insect proof net. Place in area with direct sunlight or use artificial LED light. Use a fountain to provide clean water avoid deep water. Then use plastic box with rotten organic matter and place cardboard above the matter. Keep the food moist to encourage the females fly lay eggs in the cardboard flutes. Prepare a nursery and harvest eggs every 2 days then introduce into a grub compost for hatching. I hatchery keep temperature at 27-30 degree Celsius once they hatch into larvae introduce to compost.