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Composting Fabrication Homesteading Permaculture Waste Treatment

Lord of the Flies

How to build a Black Soldier Fly Larvae bin simply and cheaply.

Assembly

The remainder of the steps for this bin will be like piecing Lego bricks together and then filling in the gaps with silicone.


Larvae bin

This is the second stage of the lifespan of a Black Soldier Fly:

Egg → Larva → Pupa → Imago (Adult)

When it comes to feeding the larvae, I’m indiscriminate. I cannot give citrus fruit waste to my Red Wiggler Worms, and I cannot provide avocado pits and skins to my chickens since it’s toxic for them. Still, I give all of this (and more!) to the Black Soldier Fly Larvae, as they will eat just about anything (including feces, coffee grounds, and cardboard). In an upcoming article, I’ll cover how I categorize and process waste onsite with no organic waste leaving my house and how I am trying to close in on processing metal and plastic as well. I am also picking back up on some older concepts that I’ve worked with for processing raw sewage, with an emphasis on water consumption and reuse, including the use of edible vegetation to filter water (Aquaponics).

Parts needed:

  • Pupa ramp
    • (2) 31.5″ pipe segments
    • (2) 1 In. PVC Schedule 40 / 90 Degree Elbow
    • (2) 5.25″ pipe segments
    • (1) PVC Schedule 40 Slip Tee-Size:1 inch
    • (1) 16.25″ vertical pipe
  • Drainage
    • (1) 28.25″ drainage pipe
    • (1) 1 in. x 1 in. PVC Sch. 40 Slip x Slip Ball Valve

Assemble the manifold and slide it into the bin with the pipes at an angle. By pressing the pipes against the base of the container, should provide tension to hold everything in place. Then, insert the drainage pipe through the other side. You can rest the drainage pipe on a brick or rock and apply silicone to hold the brick and line in place in the bin. Now that everything is in place, apply copious amounts of silicone and let it dry for 8 hours.


Entrance

Parts needed:

  • (1) PVC Schedule 40 Slip Tee-Size:1 inch
  • (1) 1 in. x 1 in. PVC Sch. 40 Slip x Slip Ball Valve
  • (1) 2″ entrance pipe

Place the slip tee on top of the lid, and the ball valve underneath the lid, with the 2″ pipe segment passing through the lid. Apply silicone to both sides, with a minimum of 30 minutes before you flip the lid, and then leave it to dry for 8 hours. This is the entrance for females to come in and lay their eggs in the corrugated cardboard. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will fall from the cardboard onto the compost/food below.

Eggs

Black soldier fly depositing eggs in cardboard.
Source: Wikipedia image
Video: two Black Soldier Fly females come to the bin to lay eggs.
Video: Moving the eggs from outside of the bin to the cardboard.

Parts needed:

  • (3) Twine
  • (6–12) Plastic Zip Cable Ties
  • (6–9) Corrugated cardboard flaps (cut from boxes)

I cut cardboard flaps from boxes that were in my recycle bin. Then, I placed a smaller piece on top of two larger pieces, zip-tied them together, and hung them from the bin. Once I did that, I’ve found Black Soldier Fly females laying eggs in my bin, as well as new larvae that weren’t a part of my original colony.

Pupa collection

Parts needed:

  • (1) Empty Costco orange juice bottle

I like to keep the bin off of the ground to reduce the amount of surface area that ants have for accessing my bin. I keep my collection bottle one level lower than the bin, which makes it easier to swap bottles when I’m dumping pupa into a pupa bin, my yard, or to feed my livestock.


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