Composting With Black Soldier Flies

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly Larvae
Photo: Dennis Kress

The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, is commonly found in animal waste and compost. This insect is of interest both for waste management and for conversion of waste into nutients and animal feed. Black soldier fly larvae purge their gut, sterilize it with gut secretions and leave the waste to pupate. Migrating larvae that are relatively disease free can be collected. A group of European scientists monitored a black soldier fly bioreactor containing compost.* They found a 55% reduction in material and 11.8 % coversion of solids to biomass. The compost had higher N and P concentration after treatment with the soldier flies. The soldier flies also significantly reduced Salmonella in the final waste product. Manipulation of insects has potential for managing the waste from livestock production.

*Cecilia H. Lalander; Jørgen Fidjeland; Stefan Diener; Sara Eriksson & Björn Vinnerås. 2015. High waste-to-biomass conversion and efficient Salmonella spp. reduction using black soldier fly for waste recycling. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 35:261–271
DOI 10.1007/s13593-014-0235-4

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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