REARING METHODS FOR THE BLACK SOLDIER FLY

Hello, everyone. The black soldier fly is not a newly discovered species. In fact, BSF has been studied for years in order to maximize its agricultural profitability. However, a document fully elaborating on BSF is not easy to find. That is why today BSF Smart Farm will put together all necessary information for your ease of understanding and reference.

REARING METHODS FOR THE BLACK SOLDIER FLY

What is the black soldier fly?

The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, is a fly of the class Hexapoda. It can be found in Vietnam’s nature, and often associated around decaying organic matter.

BSF’s life cycle comprises four phases: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. BSF larvae can convert organic components in domestic waste (Bui Ngoc Can, 2011), livestock and poultry manure, by-products of seafood and agricultural production, etc. into biomass (G.L. Newton et al., 2005; Paul Olivier et al., 2011).

With 15% protein and 5.8% crude fat, BSF larvae contain sufficient nutrition to be fed directly to pigs, chickens, ducks, and fish (Trieu Minh Duc, 2013; Nguyen Phu Hoa and Nguyen Van Dung, 2016). Besides, BSF lives in nature and does not approach humans. These benefits have led to a great deal of research into BSF application in agriculture and domestic waste treatment. However, studies on rearing and adopting BSF in Vietnam are still limited.

In fact, you can find BSF farms in several provinces/cities, mostly in the southern region. Among them are Gia Lai, An Giang, Cu Chi, Hai Duong, Hanoi, Tien Giang. This model is replicating nationwide. 

Benefits of the black soldier fly

Benefits of BSF larvae in commerce including:

  • Cut down livestock feed.
  • Not rely on industrial bran to increase profits.
  • Build wealth from organic waste.
  • Have a faster and more efficient waste decomposer than worms.
  • Livestock has soft fur and firm meat.
  • Increase disease resistance of farm animals, especially in terms of poultry and fishery
  • Increase appetite in farm animals.
  • Build sustainable organic agriculture.

Is it simple to raise BSF larvae?

Raising BSF larvae is relatively easy, and BSF Smart Farm recommends commercial rearing for simple and cost-effective procedures. Almost anyone can adopt this effortless farming practice to their farm in the most effective and well-aligned manner.

Small-scale BSF farming

Could a small-scale farm be suitable for BSF rearing? Yes, of course yes. You can try to raise BSF larvae in industrial plastic troughs.

Today, BSF Smart Farm introduces a rearing method using 40x60x20 industrial plastic troughs.

Step 1: Purchase the eggs

At BSF Smart Farm, our best-in-class packaging technology shall ensure the eggs you order have a high hatch rate. Upon the receipt, eggs might begin to hatch immediately or after 1-2 days in a cool place.

DO NOT OPEN THE BOX WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE EGGS

When you see tiny larvae crawling inside the box, you might start to incubate the eggs.

Minimum order value is 25g. With orders of over VND1,000,000, cash-in-advance payment, rather than cash-on-delivery, shall be applied.

Step 2: Incubate the eggs and the feed

Egg incubation

Follow these steps to incubate 25 g hatched eggs (per box):

  • Mix 2 kg of chicken feed with 2 kg of water.
  • Mix thoroughly and ensure the moisture remains at 60% (squeeze a handful of mix in your fist, if less than a few drops of water leak through your fingers, then the moisture is right), and the mixture is not too dry and incoherent. Please find the instruction video below. Spread the mixture on the trough.
  • Spread the larvae on the mixture until it is even. Retain the cotton pads and place them on the mix instead. There might be larvae left inside the cotton pads.
  • Cover the trough with a small-eyed insect mesh to protect the mixture against houseflies or other insects.
  • Keep the trough in a cool, dry place and away from light. Mix every two days. Spray some water if the mixture gets dry.

Feed preparation

  • Use BSF Smart Farm’s probiotic feed additives to prepare BSF larvae feed.
  • Click here for more information:

Step 3: Check larva size

After 3-5 days, larvae shall become bigger, from 1-3mm in length, and start to search for food. The mixture becomes more finely divided, darker and warmer. Mix thoroughly. When the mixture becomes dry and finely divided, transfer the mixture to a larger trough for farming.

Step 4: Raise the larvae

Most farmers are not used to this step. With 25g larvae being reared by above instructions, BSF Smart Farm recommends farming BSF larvae on industrial plastic troughs to save space. All we need is 10 troughs, 40cm width x 60cm length x 20 height

  1. Divide the hatched larvae into 10 parts (mix thoroughly and ensure an even amount of larvae on each trough).
  2. Spread the feed (chopped and fermented) on the trough until it is even and 3cm in thickness. Because the newly hatched larvae are weak and could not eat immediately, chopping the feed smaller will help them eat and grow faster. If you rear BSF larvae on fermented bean residue, you can exclude the chopping stage, just mix the feed thoroughly and spread it on the trough.
  3. Spread the larvae on the mix evenly.
  4. Repeat with 10 troughs. You can stack them on top of each other and allow the larvae to consume the feed. Different troughs will be stacked in different ways. With 40x60x20 trough, a stack of 5 troughs is advisable. It means, BSF farming only requires an area of nearly 3m2. After 17 days since step 4, 25g eggs will provide a harvest of 40-50kg larvae.
  5. Mix the feed once a day. Use a spatula to quicken the process. If mix manually, remember to protect your hands with gloves.
  6. Prevent the troughs from being wet as the larvae tend to climb out of the wet environment.

Step 5: Check if the larvae use up all the feed

This step is critical to the success of farming. Look for the following signs to determine if the feed has been depleted:

  • The mixture turns brown or black.
  • The larvae gather in the corner of the trough, show signs of crawling out and refuse to eat (who can blame them when there is nothing to eat).
  • The larvae take so long to grow up
  • Unpleasant smell and excessive water discharge.

Troubleshooting

  1. Add and spread the fermented feed evenly on the mixture.
  2. Spread bean residues or mixed bran to encourage the crawling-out larvae to turn back.
  3. Remove larvae residue: Pile the mixture into a pyramid shape in the center of the trough. The larvae would crawl down, leaving their waste on the top. Remove the waste and then compost it with BSF Smart Farm’s probiotics for effective microbial fertilizer.
  4. After removal, add the feed as usual. It is recommended that residue should be removed once every five days.

Step 6: Collect the larvae

A properly rearing procedure secures larvae’s quality and nutrition content. As being reared on fermented feed, larvae can be used to feed animals safely.

If the fermentation step being ignored, the farm animals might become more vulnerable to disease and weakness. In this case, improper farming techniques and foodborne pathogens, rather than the larvae themselves, shall be deemed as the cause.

Step 7: Feed the animals

If you make it to this point, it means your BSF farming has been a huge success. However, it is only the beginning of successful animal farming. Let us, BSF Smart Farm, accompany you to the end of your wealth-building journey.

Keep in mind each animal’s diet

  • Use garlic enzymes to all the diet to boost nutrient absorption and to increase disease resistance. Find out more about garlic enzyme here.
  • Regarding chicken, duck, quail, and pheasant, etc. larvae should make up 20 – 30% of their diet.
  • Regarding fish and aquatic animals, 50 – 70% of the diet should be larvae. Once garlic enzymes being added, the rate can rise up to 85%.
  • Regarding pigs and livestock, larvae can supplement 30% of the diet. Larvae can be ground into pellets for higher efficiency.
  • If your farm animals are not included in the above list, please contact us for support. Together, we set your farming for success.

Step 8: Handle waste and adopt relay farming

  • Add probiotics to BSF frass to produce super-nutritious compost for vegetables, flowers, and food crops.
  • You can start a new cycle after 3 – 5 days of the preceding cycle to ensure a continual supply of animal feed.

Large-scale BSF farming

This model applies to households that have cement troughs/large rearing containers or want to raise over 50 g of eggs.

Step 1: Purchase the eggs

At BSF Smart Farm, our best-in-class packaging technology shall ensure the eggs you order have a high hatch rate. Upon the receipt, eggs might begin to hatch immediately or after 1-2 days in a cool place.

DO NOT OPEN THE BOX WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE EGGS

When you see tiny larvae crawling inside the box, you might start to incubate the eggs.

Minimum order value is 25g. With orders of over VND1,000,000, cash-in-advance payment, rather than cash-on-delivery, shall be applied.

Step 2: Incubate the eggs and the feed

Egg incubation

Follow these steps to incubate 50 g of hatched eggs (two boxes 25g)

  • Mix 4 kg of chicken feed with 4 kg of water.
  • Mix thoroughly and ensure the moisture remains at 60% (squeeze a handful of mix in your fist, if less than a few drops of water leak through your fingers, then the moisture is right), and the mixture is not too dry and incoherent. Please find the instruction video below. Spread the mixture on the trough.
  • Spread the larvae on the mixture until it is even. Retain the cotton pads and place them on the mix instead. There might be larvae left inside the cotton pads.
  • Cover the trough with a small-eyed insect mesh to protect the mixture against houseflies or other insects.
  • Keep the trough in a cool, dry place and away from light. Mix every two days. Spray some water if the mixture gets dry.

Feed preparation

  • Use BSF Smart Farm’s probiotic feed additives to prepare BSF larvae feed.
  • Click here for more information:

Step 3: Check larva size

After 3-5 days, larvae shall become bigger, from 1-3mm in length, and start to search for food. The mixture becomes more finely divided, darker and warmer. Mix thoroughly. When the mixture becomes dry and finely divided, transfer the mixture to a larger trough for farming.

Step 4: Raise the larvae

Most farmers are not used to this step. With 50g larvae being reared by above instructions, BSF Smart Farm recommends farming BSF larvae on a large trough to handle waste and food scraps. We need 3 troughs, 2m width x 4m length

  1. Divide the hatched larvae into 10 parts (mix thoroughly and ensure an even amount of larvae on each trough).
  2. Spread the feed (chopped and fermented) on the trough until it is even and 3cm in thickness. Because the newly hatched larvae are weak and could not eat immediately, chopping the feed smaller will help them eat and grow faster. If you rear BSF larvae on fermented bean residue, you can exclude the chopping stage, just mix the feed thoroughly and spread it on the trough.
  3. Spread the larvae on the mix evenly.
  4. Repeat with 3 troughs and allow the larvae to consume the feed. Large-scale BSF farming only requires an area of nearly 8m2. After 17 days since step 4, 50g eggs will provide a harvest of 70-90kg larvae.
  5. Mix the feed once a day. Use a spatula to quicken the process. If mix manually, remember to protect your hands with gloves.

Step 5: Check if the larvae use up all the feed

This step is critical to the success of farming. Look for the following signs to determine if the feed has been depleted:

  • The mixture turns brown or black.
  • The larvae gather in the corner of the trough, show signs of crawling out and refuse to eat (who can blame them when there is nothing to eat)
  • The larvae take so long to grow up
  • Unpleasant smell and excessive water discharge.

Troubleshooting

  1. Add and spread the fermented feed evenly on the mixture.
  2. Spread bean residues or mixed bran to encourage the crawling-out larvae to turn back.
  3. Remove larvae residue: Pile the mixture into a pyramid shape in the center of the trough. The larvae would crawl down, leaving their waste on the top. Remove the waste and then compost it with BSF Smart Farm’s probiotics to achieve good microbial fertilizer.
  4. After removal, add the feed as usual. It is recommended that residue should be removed once every five days.

Step 6: Collect the larvae

A properly rearing procedure secures larvae’s quality and nutrition content. As being reared on fermented feed, larvae can be used to feed animals safely.

If the fermentation step being ignored, the farm animals might become more vulnerable to disease and weakness. In this case, improper farming techniques and foodborne pathogens, rather than the larvae themselves, shall be deemed as the cause.

Step 7: Feed the animals

If you make it to this point, it means your BSF farming has been a huge success. However, it is only the beginning of successful animal farming. Let us, BSF Smart Farm, accompany you to the end of your wealth-building journey.

Keep in mind each animal’s diet

  • Use garlic enzymes to all the diet to boost nutrient absorption and to increase disease resistance. Find out more about garlic enzyme here.
  • Regarding chicken, duck, quail, and pheasant, etc. larvae should make up 20 – 30% of their diet.
  • Regarding fish and aquatic animals, 50 – 70% of the diet should be larvae. Once garlic enzymes being added, the rate can rise up to 85%.
  • Regarding pigs and livestock, larvae can supplement 30% of the diet. Larvae can be ground into pellets for higher efficiency.
  • If your farm animals are not included in the above list, please contact us for support. Together, we set your farming for success.

Step 8: Handle waste and adopt relay farming

  • Add probiotics to BSF frass to produce super-nutritious compost for vegetables, flowers, and food crops.
  • You can start a new cycle after 3 – 5 days of the preceding cycle to ensure a continual supply of animal feed.

BSF farming in plastic basin:

If your household wants to save initial investment costs and test this new kind of farming, this technique is just right for your needs.

Follow the instructions for small-scale BSF farming with one exception: replace the plastic trough with a plastic basin (90cm in diameter and 20cm in depth). A basin can be purchased at the market for as little as VND40.000.

Pros:

  • Save cost
  • Save space
  • Easy to deploy

BSF farming in water

As a matter of fact, larvae can not live in any kind of water. The use of the word “water” is just for the gimmick. Let’s brush up on your knowledge about BSF larvae for a better understanding.

The Calcium worm’s key traits:

  • BSF larvae secrete enzymes to break down and consume food residue, organic waste, and cellulose.
  • They even treat microorganisms as their food.
  • BSF larvae can develop well in the environment that lacks light and air.
  • From day 6 – 14 of the larval stage, BSF eats quickly and grows rapidly to prepare for the pupa stage.

What kind of water can be used to raise BSF larvae?

  • What we call water here is actually a combination of EM probiotics (Pro EM-1/-2) + molasses + larvae hydrolysate
  • Feed supplementation is required in the first few days because immediate release of larvae into water is not encouraged. Allow larvae to gradually adapt to probiotic water by moving them from a paste-like environment to a completely wet environment.

Pros and cons of probiotic water:

Pros:

  • Reduce feeding frequency
  • No need to find a supply of feed
  • No need to mix the feed and deal with the odors. The nature of probiotics and molasses helps eliminate odors.
  • Steps look simple yet not easy.
  • It is easier to collect larvae, all you need to do is rinsing the water

Cons:

  • This method requires hands-on experience and necessary technology.
  • Knowledge of probiotics preparation is a must.
  • It is impossible to use BSF larvae to treat organic waste.
  • Water rearing might cause fluid retention in BSF larvae. They look fat but inactive.

BSF Smart Farm’s recommendations

  • Rear BSF larvae on paste-like feed, rather than water-like feed to achieve strong results
  • Have your own BSF farm meaning having your own waste decomposer and a supply of fertilizer for crops to protect the environment. BSF farming for sustainable agriculture.
  • As long as you follow the right techniques, you will be rewarded with good results. Stay close to BSF Smart Farm’s techniques for an abundant yield.

What to do if there is a surplus of BSF larvae?

– It would be ideal if you can use fresh larvae in animal feeding because it helps you save costs for storage and processing. Your farm animals also benefit from the gut microbiota and enzymes of the larvae.

– However, if you are left with an excess of larvae, you will find yourself in need of preservation methods. Sun-drying is the most basic and least expensive method. Larvae are placed in a metal tray with a 5cm high wall and dried under the extreme sun for about 20 minutes. This will kill off all the larvae. Remember, a thick layer of larvae would prolong the process. For every square meter, we recommend 2.5g. You then spread them thinly and let them dry for about 3 days, until they feel crispy when squeezed.

– Dipping larvae in boiling water is another way to kill off larvae quickly.

– In the process of sun drying, fat leakage may occur – a common phenomenon due to larvae’s high fat content.

– In the rainy season, you can use a dryer. A tray dryer or rotary dryer/drum dryer would do. Each batch of larvae will take 8-10 hours to dry at a temperature of 60-70oC. Increased heat exposure might cause a nutrient loss in larvae.

– When the drying process is complete, place the dried larvae in a plastic bag and vacuum the bag immediately. This allows for 3 months of storage. A longer storage period requires a defatting step by screw press. Store the larvae in a well-structured warehouse that can prevent the entry of rodents and insects.

– Due to high fat content, dried larvae are difficult to grind into fine powder. Use the small jar of the blender (the jar used to grind pepper and a variety of nuts) to grind the larvae in small batches. Defatting before grinding is a great way to improve speed.

– BSF larvae can also be kept in the freezer. Put the larvae into a plastic bag or plastic boxes in 2-5kg per batch, then put the bag/box in the freezer which can cool down the dried larvae to -10°C in 2 hours, and store the bag/box in the cold storage at -5°C. If the freezer takes too long or fails to reach the required temperature, the larvae are likely to be spoiled and produce toxins.

– Another method is larvae hydrolysis. Firstly, you need to crush the larvae into a thick and smooth sauce. Then, add microorganisms or enzymes into the sauce and stir the sauce in a water bath for 6-12 hours. When the temperature drops, add more substances to lower the pH to 3-4 for long-term storage. Place the larvae in sealed plastic cans or containers and store them in a dry, cool place.

– If you want to make larvae into bran pellets, simply mix raw or dried larvae with other ingredients (cornstarch, rice bran, soybean meal, vitamins, minerals, etc.) and put all of them into a pellet press.

– If you are farming aquatic animals (such as eels, fish, shrimps, etc.), simply crush the larvae into a smooth sauce, then add some ingredients (earthworm, fish, rice bran, etc.). Allow the animals to eat the feed in bits and pieces by leaving feed on the floor.

Models that can integrate with BSF larvae farming

Following models shall enable BSF larvae to drive your farm’s economic efficiency.

Free-ranging chicken farming

  • Add garlic enzymes and larvae hydrolysate to free-ranging chicken farming
  • Mix the feed with probiotics, then add BSF larvae, corns, and other grains. You can press the bran and BSF larvae into pellets as chicken feed.

Herbal chicken farming

  • Add garlic enzymes and larvae hydrolysate to herbal chicken farming
  • Mix the feed with probiotics, then add BSF larvae, herbs, and sprouted grains.

Indoor chicken farming

  • Add garlic enzymes and larvae hydrolysate to indoor chicken farming. Use bio-beddings to deodorize the poultry facilities.
  • Mix the feed with probiotics, then add BSF larvae, corns, and other grains. Apply an automated drinking system to prevent water spillage and disease infection.
  • This model also achieves success in other poultry farmings, such as quail, pheasant, etc.

Duck farming

khử mùi hôi chuồng trại hiệu quả
khử mùi hôi chuồng trại hiệu quả
  • Add garlic enzymes and larvae hydrolysate to duck farming.
  • Mix the feed with probiotics, then add BSF larvae, corns, and other grains. Apply an automated drinking system.
  • This model also achieves success in other water bird farmings.

Giant snakehead farming

  • Add garlic enzymes and larvae hydrolysate to giant snakehead farming. Use probiotics and molasses as external sources during wastewater treatment.
  • Mix the feed with probiotics, then add BSF larvae, corns, and other grains. BSF can be fed to the fish directly or indirectly in the form of floating feed pallets.

High-tech shrimp farming

  • Add garlic enzymes and larvae hydrolysate to the high-tech shrimp farming. Use probiotics and molasses as external sources during wastewater treatment.
  • Mix the feed with probiotics, then add BSF larvae, corns, and other grains. BSF can be fed to the fish directly or indirectly in the form of floating feed pallets.

Pig farming

  • Add garlic enzymes and larvae hydrolysate to pig farming. Use bio-beddings. This is non-showering pig farming that you might be familiar with.
  • Mix the feed with probiotics, then add BSF larvae, corns, and other grains. BSF can be fed to the fish directly or indirectly in the form of pressed feed pallets.

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