黑兵蛆(Black Solider Fly Larvae)

Harvesting BSF larvae is the BEST 100% environmentally friendly solution for fish feed.
It is amazing the amount of Black Soldier Fly Larvae that we are harvesting with the Bio-Module daily. Thank you Mother Nature for your Infinite Wisdom and gifts!

Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Calciworms)
黑兵的營養價值:
根據外國知名爬蟲類網指出的報告,黑兵的營養價值近似:蟋蟀,麥皮蟲等等。

BSF的幼蟲,是100%環保飼料的解決方案。
Aquaponics和替代能源,黑兵蛆,我們與生物模塊每天的收穫量。謝謝你無窮的智慧和自然禮品!














Below is a photo of my new design that I think is easier to build and more efficient than the bucket design that was pictured when I first wrote this post. I will leave this page online because the link has been shared so many times, but I highly encourage everyone to build the new composter. You can find detailed photos and ask questions about the new unit here.

6 gallon BSF Bio-composter.jpg

I believe this BSF composter design is as efficient as any other design, or more so, in terms of its drainage, harvest, and larva containment systems, and that it is the easiest to keep balanced (aerobic). It is also the only composter that I know of which is designed to produce a large volume of BSF “tea”, or liquid fertilizer, which is very good for gardeners. I know that doesn’t sound too humble, but I’m being honest. It’s very common for BSF system to become anaerobic (an therefore stinky), and I’ve found this design to be very easy to keep in a balanced state.


Edit: This design and how it is used, has been evolving, and I'll do my best to update important changes.



This is my latest in a series of composters based on a 6 gallon (23 liter) Sterilite latch box. I made a video of the previous version which can be seen here: LINK

EDIT June 2014: I'm still using pine bark, but have become aware of an issue with the release of sap/resin in some batches. If you're using one of my bio-composters, you can dissolve pine resin with Dawn Ultra dish soap. A description of the pine bark issue and the Dawn Ultra treatment can be found here: LINK

I'm currently testing alternatives to pine bark, including corn cob bedding, common wood mulch, and using all hardwood lump charcoal. I used medium coconut husk (coir) chips in the past with good results, but after several months it tends to shred and slow down drainage.

UPDATE February 2012 - I've made a few changes in materials, such as; switching to pine bark and charcoal instead of lava rock and coconut coir, a better quality drain valve, a different type of connector where the drain exits the composter, styrofoam for the egg laying material, and I've also switched from a collection bag to a 1 gallon canister. I will edit this post so that the previous version can be compared with the current one. Here is the most recent photo:


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EXPERIMENTAL DRAINAGE SYSTEM

EDIT 2/2014: I no longer consider this drainage system to be experimental. It has proven to be the most important improvement I've ever made to BSF composter design. Proper use of this system (regular flushing with water) virtually eliminates issues with excess anaerobic bacteria.


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The most unusual feature of this composter is the vertical drain/filter system. I've been testing versions in several units this year with excellent results.

I've been using the vertical drains without a filter medium and whenever I need to clear material from the pipes it's been easy to accomplish - either using a wire or flushing with water. A few months of experimentation is not enough to claim success, but I've been feeding these units heavily with no signs of anaerobic conditions or serious clogging. This system is designed for use with coir chips, which I will talk about below.

The perforated pipes allow air to reach the lower levels of the waste and therefore help control anaerobic bacteria. The larvae aid in keeping the slots open by constantly passing through them. Even the largest larvae can easily pass through a slot the thickness of my saw blade [(3/32 in.) (2.4 mm)].

The first vertical drain I tried was in the DIY storage tote composter. For that I used 4 inch square pvc pipe with numerous holes drilled into it. It has been working very well, but I believe slots like these are even better. I'm not sure if the slots result in more open area, but I do believe their rectangular shape is superior for allowing liquids to pass through without clogging.

I wrote a brief post about perforated drain pipes here: LINK

COIR CHIPS/LAVA ROCK

I've been using fine grade coir chips combined with lava rock in all of my composters this year. Each unit started out with a layer of lava rock deep enough to cover the horizontal pipe followed with a coir layer about 3 inches (8 cm) deep. In theory, the lava rock helps prevent coir and waste from flowing vertically towards the drain. In BSF units we usually use filters to keep the drains open; this is what the coir chips do when used with the slotted drain pipes. I have not tested this drainage system without the combination of coir and lava rock.

There may be materials other than coir chips that will work just as well such as wood shavings, mulch, corn cob pieces, peanut shells, etc. I plan on testing some of these alternatives in the future.

FLUSHING/FLOODING WITH WATER

This system is designed to be flushed with water regularly. I originally began this practice because I wanted to mimic nature, where waste is exposed to rains. Flushing helps keep the waste aerated/aerobic because the fine BSF castings are washed through the system.

Coir keeps the waste lighter and drier, and given those conditions mature larvae will often pupate in the waste. For that reason, I usually flood my units almost to the top of the waste, once or twice per week. This induces the mature larvae to migrate out. To facilitate flooding, drainage systems on all my units can be closed off, either via a valve or by keeping the end of the drainage hose elevated.

Regular flushing creates a steady supply of effluent (liquid waste) rich in BSF castings which may be useful for gardeners.

TRANSPARENT BOX

I have also attempted to mimic nature by choosing a transparent material for this composter. Ultraviolet light rays are a powerful disinfectant, and they work even with indirect light. We couldn't eliminate all bacteria from the waste if we wanted to, but allowing UV light into the unit should help control it.

I really enjoy being able to see through the composter walls. Since I've been working with transparent composters I've been able to observe BSF behavior below the level of the waste. Without opening the unit, I can see if females are laying, and how much waste has been consumed. Some people may worry that since the larvae don't like light it will make the unit less efficient, but I haven't seen any evidence of that.

SELF HARVESTING SYSTEM

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This composter uses a single ramp to harvest migrating mature larvae. Previous tests have shown that a single ramp can be very efficient. The point of using only one ramp is that it simplifies construction and reduces cost. On a larger composter I would probably add a second ramp.

The ramp is made with pvc molding called "outside corner". This material is easy to work with and fairly inexpensive. It will work in its basic "L" shape, but it's more efficient if you cut a small length from one side and glue it to the other to create a channel, as I've done in this unit.

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Small adjustments in the shape of the top of the ramp can make a big difference in how well it works. The shape used in this version combined with placing Velcro on the wall above the pvc fitting has resulted in a high percentage of larvae dropping into the exit plumbing on their first trip. In the video below you can see that some of the larvae climb the top edge of the ramp, so that must be a consideration when designing the drop into the exit plumbing. The rim of the fitting that the larvae drop into has been tapered so they can't crawl on the edge.




This composter uses a 1" pvc 90º elbow for the harvest system exit. The previous version had two elbows including one which faced downward. Having a downward facing elbow on the outside of the composter created a dark space between the two fittings and larvae tended to congregate there. That slowed down traffic during heavy migrations. In this version, the exit is a straight horizontal pipe and since I'm using a clear bag as the collection container, this area receives more light, and that should keep the larvae moving better.

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I've been using Foodsaver brand plastic bags as the collection container on several composters this year with great results. I put coir into the bag, slip it onto the pvc pipe and then wrap a Velcro strap around the bag. The opening of the bag can be tapered using the sealer which makes wrapping a bit easier. Even in heavy rains, the bags remain relatively dry inside. If the contents do get wet, the strap still prevents any larvae from escaping. My previous harvest containers required more fittings and pipe, and I think the shorter run of pipe used with this system is an improvement.

The collection bag is another case where using a transparent material allows you to see what's happening inside without removing it.

LID

The lid is made just like the one on the larger storage tote composter I previously published. As with that composter, this 6 gallon box has raised areas on the lid which are great places to cut out ventilation openings. Two lids are connected with pvc pipe as spacers.

The egg laying substrate is incorporated into the lid. The system shown here uses cut-to-fit air conditioner filter attached with cable ties. This substrate is meant to be semi-permanent, so if you want to transfer collected eggs then you should substitute cardboard. In that case you could also use both materials by inserting cardboard strips around the filter material and transferring only the eggs laid in the cardboard.

LARVA BARRIER

I believe Velcro hook tape works as well as any passive system for preventing larvae from escaping. The texture of the hooks breaks the surface tension which is what keeps the larvae stuck to the vertical wall. The tension breaks and the larvae fall back into the unit.

The most common problem with Velcro is that it sometimes fails to adhere and larvae wedge themselves under it. I've probably applied Velcro hook tape to fifty different bins and buckets to keep larvae contained, and if you apply it with proper technique it will stay in place for at least a whole season, and often more. (The Sticky Back type of Velcro is designed to be water resistant)

The first step is to thoroughly clean the surface with alcohol. It's easier to apply four pieces of hook tape as opposed to one long one. The strips should meet in each corner with small gaps to allow for expansion. It's crucial that you don't touch the cleaned surface or the sticky side of the hook tape with your fingers. Once the tape is in place it's a good idea to heat it with a hair dryer and then use the dull edge of a putty or butter knife to press out any air gaps which are visible through the transparent wall of the composter. The adhesive doesn't reach full strength for 24 hours, so it should be left to cure. If you follow this procedure, you should have few issues with the tape peeling. If failures occur, the problem areas can be cut out and replaced following the original procedure.

SUMMARY

Since this design is evolving I haven't put any effort into a parts list or detailed instructions. If anyone has a specific question about materials, dimensions, or construction techniques I will be happy to answer them here. I will post more photos as I take them.

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