It’s compost turning time again but as the weather cools down I’m missing the black soldier fly (BSF) larvae. As the weather starts to warm again turning the compost becomes a hunt for the first BSF of the season. If you’ve never seen one (and I apologise for the lack of pictures but I’ve never photographed one) they are quite large, long, thin flies, very different to your average blow fly. Google it. It’s good to know your friends in the garden and the soldier fly is one of them.
There’s lots of good reasons to get excited about seeing BSFs or their larvae. First it’s a sign that the temperatures are warming up as BSF like days when it’s well over 20 degrees. Second, chickens, quails and fish love to eat BSF larvae so I love gathering them for a feed (to chickens in particular who seem to like to discuss the flavour of what they are eating with their fellow feathered friends) knowing you are providing a protein packed sustainable treat. Third, they are excellent composters and if you set up your breeding/composting container right they will self harvest. This is because BSF larvae will crawl upwards when they are ready to change into a fly. If you give them the right kind of ramp they will drop conveniently self harvest into a well placed bucket for you. Convinced yet?
Maybe not. I can understand that breeding larvae may not be to everyone’s taste even if they are quite well behaved and odourless. But if you keep fish or feathered friends have a think about these creatures as a way to feed your pets. There are some that advocate eating the larvae, I’m not sure I’d go that far, but encouraging them to help compost our food waste and getting a protein packed animal feed product out of it seems like a win win to me.
If you’d like to read more, here’s a blog dedicated to the BSF.