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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The BioPod - Black Soldier Fly Larvae Harvester




This article will take you for an in depth look at the BioPod and talk more about the Black Soldier Fly - which I will call BSF for short. We are not so interested in the fly itself but in the grub - as that can be used for feeding your fish in an Aquaponics system.

The BioPods purpose is to produce the grubs which are a result of the 6th stage of pupation. This final stage is before it morphs into a fly.

The BSF larvae I'll sometimes refer to as grubs. They are often called phoenix worms or soldier grubs and are often sold live in pet food stores.

The adult BSF look less like flies and more like wasps. The BSF does not have any mouth parts, hence it won't be a problem around food and won't transmit disease.

In a typical worm farm or compost there are a variety of meats and foods that you would never put in there. But not for the BioPod - you can throw it all in, even animal manure, they love it and will consume it quickly.

The BioPod creates an ideal environment for the grubs and best of all they will harvest themselves conviently into a bucket when they have reached their final stage of pupation.

This gives you a system that very efficiently recycles wastes and in the process creates an excellent food source for a variety of animals.

Uses for the grubs

There are many many uses for the grubs. One of those is for feeding fish. In Aquaculture and Aquaponics, the grub is increasingly being used as a food source in order to reduce the use of fish pellets. It is also quite nutritional, being very high in protein. Other uses include feeding birds, repitles, chickens and a range of other animals.

Path of the grub through the BioPod

Here is a quick fly-thru of BioPod. After the larvae has gone through its 6th stage of pupation and no longer has a mouth, it will make its way up the 35 degree ramp.

Once it reaches the top, it will nosedive down the hole and end up in the collection bucket - ready for you to harvest it!

Storing the grubs for later use

During the warmer months you will get a much larger production and hence need to feed them more. If you have more then you need on any given day, then simply freeze them for the colder months when production isn't as prolific. By freezing them, you can have a plentiful supply all year round.

The liquid tea

Here is the filter located in the centre bottom inside the BioPod. The liquid flows out of the hole, through the filter and into the container underneath. The liquid can actually be used as a fly repellent for other flies except BSF which it will attract. This is the container which is removable by twisting it off. You can also use the liquid as a plant fertilizer.

In the removable cap that sits on the top of the BioPod is a gap that allows the BSF easy access into the BioPod. The BSF secreet a fly repellent for all other species of flys, so you shouldn't have to worry about filthy flys getting into your BioPod when you have BSF in there.

The BSF adult wont eat anything, as it doesnt have a mouth. Its only purpose as an adult is to mate and lay its eggs. The eggs hatch about 5-8 days later. The lifespan of the adult is very short, only about a week.

The BSF 5-star hotel

Your now looking under the cap.

The adult likes to lay its eggs either above or next to a food source. Under the cap you will see a white disc shapped object. This disc is the ideal place where adults will lay their eggs. The eggs will take about 4 days to hatch. When they hatch, they will fall into the food and start munching away.

Commercial BSF production and further info

If you want to produce grubs on a large scale, then there are commercial versions available. Today we have had a look at the residential version. The official website for the BioPod can be found at TheBioPod.com At the site you will also find a forum where you can get all of your BSF and BioPod questions answered.

Images - The Black Soldier Fly image is from Muhammad Mahdi Karim and the picture of the grubs is from TheBioPod.com

6 comments:

  1. wow, that is the coolest thing I have seen in awhile. wonder how they do in hawaii.

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  2. BSF occur in most countries around the world - definately in Hawaii. They slow down in the cold, so I don't believe they would like mountainous regions where it is cold all the time. Tropical, sub tropcial and temperate climates you should find them.

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  3. Great work Andrew! We have shipped BioPods to every state and territory in Australia so can confirm that most locations have a wild population of BSF. For your Australian readers you let them know that that the BioPod can be found and ordered at www.circle3.com.

    Cheers, David

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  4. It's great that the the BSF waste is a fly repellent. Does it repel other insects? Also, does it have any value as a fertilizer? I am an accidental BSF composter. They set up shop in my compost tumbler. I catch the liquid waste in a tray under the tumbler and pour it into my garden or onto a second, more advanced compost pile. Has anyone done a chemical analysis of the stuff? It's very messy but doesn't stink.

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  5. could this be used as an automatic feeder, or would there be too many for a small population of fish.

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    1. Carol, I would not use it as an automatic feeder for fish, because you should always feed your fish the correct amount. During the warmer months, the BSF production is much higher then in the lower winter months. To store them, you can freeze them, or freeze them then dry them and blend them up to make your own dried fish food out of them. Then, you could put that fish food in an automatic feeder.

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