August 16, 2023

Black Soldier Fly: An Ally in Organic Waste Reduction

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Organic waste generation is a major concern in the war on waste movement. These organic wastes are produced from households or industrial activities. The two common methods for reducing these wastes are incineration or sanitary landfills. However, these methods produce greenhouse gases that have a significant impact on climate change.

Fortunately, the war on waste advocacy has found an ally in the Black Soldier Fly, which is considered a biological scavenger of organic waste. The Black Soldier Fly has the ability to break down organic waste during its larval stage. These small flying organisms are actually considered beneficial rather than pests.

The common question that often arises is, "How does the Black Soldier Fly become beneficial when it's similar to houseflies?"

In reality, the BSF is quite distinct from houseflies. They are not associated with disease or pathogen transmission. Adult BSFs do not feed during their very short lifespan. They lack mouthparts, stingers, or digestive organs and rely only on water and stored fats during their larval stage.

Several facilities are already growing and propagating Black Soldier Flies in the Philippines and other parts of the world due to their various benefits.

How do Black Soldier Flies grow? This is the first thing we should understand if we want to propagate these beneficial insects.

The Life Cycle of Black Soldier Fly

Similar to other insects, the Black Soldier Fly undergoes complete metamorphosis from eggs to adults.

A single adult fly can lay up to 500-900 eggs during its very short lifespan, which will hatch in 4-5 days.

The larval stage follows, consisting of 5 stages called instars. During these stages, the larvae are voracious eaters that tend to increase their feeding after the 3rd instar. The larval stage usually lasts from 13 to 18 days.

Next in the life cycle of the Black Soldier Fly is the 6th instar or the pre-pupa stage. During this stage, the larvae cease eating, move away from food, and seek out dark places. Their skin undergoes melanization, resulting in a darker cuticle. The pre-pupa stage takes 7-10 days.

After finding the right spot, the larva hibernates as it enters the pupa stage, which lasts for at least 8 days before a new adult emerges.

Besides consuming organic waste and reducing the amount of rubbish going to sanitary landfills, there are more benefits that we can derive from the Black Soldier Fly, including fertilizer, protein sources, medicinal properties, and antibacterial benefits. I will create a separate post about this.

That's what I have to share for now. If you happen to spot a Black Soldier Fly, remember that they are beneficial and not pests.

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