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Vermiman’s DIY BSFL BIN

DIY Black Soldier Fly Larvae Harvesting Bin

One of our regular readers, “Vermiman”, wanted to share his DIY bin for harvesting black soldier fly larvae.
Here is his description:

The pvc pipes are angled at about 35 degrees to allow the mature larvae to leave the culture. At the end of the pipes there are elbows angled down into a collection bucket. There are holes in one side which allow the pipes to exit the bin. There are eighth inch holes near the top of the long sides that allow hanging of cardboard pieces where the BSF should lay her eggs in the little holes. On the other narrow side I made a square hole that allows the females in to lay her eggs.

DIY Black Soldier Fly Larvae Harvesting Bin

Written by Bentley on October 12th, 2008 with 82 comments.
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Get your own gravatar by visiting Jerry
#1. April 7th, 2010, at 9:52 PM.

Hi Dr. Olivier, this is Jerry from the BSFblog.
I just published a DIY design made from a standard 5 gallon bucket. I haven’t tested it with an actively feeding colony yet, but preliminary tests with mature larvae indicate fairly efficient harvesting. It can’t compete with your invention but I hope it encourages a lot of people to start working with BSF.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Olivier
#2. April 8th, 2010, at 7:02 PM.

Here are drawings for a DIY BSF bin:
It has one flaw: larvae will sometimes pile up and die in the corners opposite the ramp. This is what I used over many years before I invented the biopod.

Get your own gravatar by visiting John Duffy
#3. April 13th, 2010, at 3:40 AM.

Holy smokes…I’ve been vermicomposting for about 11 weeks and just harvested my first batch of castings which I’ll distibute to my dad and my daughter for their garden plants. Now I’m gonna have to stay up late every night and learn more about BSFL control and usage.
Ahh, it’s all good! Thanks to all you fellow vermi friends for the wealth and exchange of information. Mother Nature is surely proud…
This sure is fun!

Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Olivier
#4. April 13th, 2010, at 6:27 PM.

Get your own gravatar by visiting vermiman
#5. May 17th, 2010, at 11:54 AM.

Looks to be a very cool design.

Get your own gravatar by visiting pratap
#6. August 19th, 2010, at 7:52 AM.

Hi all,
I am from India and intrested in this technology to convert my food waste, can any body help me in this regard to start my own system,
i had some queries in my mind…
I am residing in costal region of Andhrapradesh, whether these (BSF) are naturally occur in this region or start with a starter pack if so, then where to get,
i saw from the above discussions Rosie from India (GOA) identified BSF can any body have mail id to contact.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Olivier
#7. August 19th, 2010, at 7:28 PM.

I would like to draw your attention to a new presentation that features the integration of several technologies, including BSF technology. There is the tantalizing idea of being able to produce food, fuel, feed and fertilizer on a single site:
I manufacture biopods here in Vietnam for the harvesting of BSF larvae.
I can be reached at
If anyone would like to sell biopods, please call me at: 1-337-447-4124 (a USA telephone number). My Skype address is xpolivier

Get your own gravatar by visiting Jon from Santa Cruz
#8. August 31st, 2010, at 12:43 PM.

Great presentation, Paul. You’ve put together a nice set of complementing systems. I have been planning and building a similar mix of new twists on old technology to use here on an aquaponics business. A few questions:
1- this is the first mention I’ve seen of bsfl needing to be cooked prior to feeding to livestock. Is this a safety concern?
2- is the gasifier top-loaded, and the dumped before loading and firing again?

Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Olivier
#9. August 31st, 2010, at 9:39 PM.

I would cook or sterilize the bsf larvae before feeding to pigs. I do not think that this would be necessary before feeding to chickens or fish.

The gasifier is a top-lit, updraft, forced-air, batch process.
The cycle time in a reactor of 70 cm in height is from 40 to 60 minutes depending on the speed of the fan, the type of biomass and the diameter of the reactor. If we increase the height of the reactor, the cycle time is proportionately longer. At the end of a cycle, the reactor is emptied. One person can handle this for the 150 and 250 gasifiers. But it takes two people to accomplish this for the big 500 gasifier (which puts out 20 times the heat of the 150).

Get your own gravatar by visiting JoeP
#10. September 24th, 2010, at 9:12 PM.

I’ve read that BSF larvae can eat food that has been salted. Even food with a large amount of salt seems to be no problem.
Would the BSFL castings (from the salted food) be suitable for redworms?
I know redworms are not salt tolerant.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Olivier
#11. September 25th, 2010, at 7:54 PM.

The answer depends on the amount of salt left over in the larval residue.
Food waste containing a lot of liquids will release liquids as the larvae eat it. To the extent that the salt follows the liquids, there will be less salt in the residue.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Joe Ferrone
#12. September 29th, 2010, at 8:47 PM.

Hey Dr. Oliver, How do you think BSF would do eating wet corn mash (a byproduct of the ethanol industry)? Are there any updates you can share on the commercial size biopod development? Have you found a disributer yet? I’m stuck in non-BSF zone here in Denver but just can’t stop thinking about getting a chance to work with the insect/process.


Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Oli vier
#13. September 29th, 2010, at 11:46 PM.

Can pigs eat the wet corn mash?
If so, then feed the mash to pigs and then feed the pig feces to the BSFL. If pigs can eat the wet corn mash, so can BSFL.

I am looking for distributors of the original round biopod in the USA.
Call me at: 1-337-447-4124

Get your own gravatar by visiting Foxfire
#14. October 22nd, 2010, at 5:07 AM.

I am experimenting with the inner tub of an old washing machine. It is round like a barrel. I feel it has great potential but finding the time to make it functional is the key here. I am thinking of using a bead of caulk to form a ramp up the sides, but like I said, time is the issue so I think your 4 footer would be ideal for a time saver and a good volume of the larve. My hopes are to off set the feed bill for the birds and take any excess larve and place them in zip lock bags and store in the freezer for winter feed. I hope to keep you posted should I actually start this project. As it stands, I put compost in this container and it is teaming with BSFL but with no way to get out.

Get your own gravatar by visiting paul
#15. November 20th, 2010, at 11:34 AM.

Hi there,
Two questions for forum experts – thank you in advance for answers.

1.I live in Australia (inland NSW). I run two compost tumblers that for some years have become over-run with what I have now learned are BSFL. The females stick their egg-laying bits under the edge of the lid and I have come to recognise the deposits of eggs. My big problem is odour – because the bins aren’t a closed system like the biopod they can get quite smelly – anyone know of any tricks to decrease the odour? Or discourage the females from laying eggs n the bins (in the absence of a biopod)?

2. Paul, do you sell biopods in Australia? Your concept is fantastic and I would rather go with what nature is telling me and then I can feed the worms to chooks etc.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Olivier
#16. November 23rd, 2010, at 3:06 PM.

Try to promote BSF larvae in your worm bin. They are the best means of reducing odor. But they must be able to crawl out when they reach maturity.

David Watson sells the original biopod in Australia that I make here in Vietnam.


Get your own gravatar by visiting Mike aka BW
#17. December 30th, 2010, at 7:52 PM.

An interesting larger scale homemade bin:
“Building the “Bug Barracks

Great blog too.

Get your own gravatar by visiting NZNATIVE
#18. April 17th, 2011, at 12:50 PM.

I have seen a lot of bsfl harvesters, both commercial and D.I.Y types place alot of emphasis on the angle of the ramp being somewhere around 30 degrees and have read that it is the steepest angle the bsfl can climb but i see they have have no problem clmbing the vertical wall in my compost bin… Do you think the ramp angle is that important?

Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Olivier
#19. April 20th, 2011, at 9:58 PM.

BSF larvae can climb straight up a wall, if it is moist.
But if the surface is smooth and dry, they cannot make it beyond 45 degrees.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Jerry
#20. April 20th, 2011, at 10:34 PM.


When smooth surfaces have condensate on them the larvae can crawl up vertical surfaces and even stick to the underside of horizontal planes. The surface tension from the water allows them to stick like a mild suction. The 30-35º figure is for dry smooth surfaces and if there is some texture to the ramp the larvae will be able to climb steeper inclines. The rear facing “hairs” on BSFL help them climb ramps with scratches or other footholds.

The Velcro that I use as a larvae barrier works by breaking the surface tension from moisture on the walls of the composter so the larvae fall back into the unit, at least most of the time. 😉

Get your own gravatar by visiting Jerry
#21. April 22nd, 2011, at 12:41 PM.

I posted my comment before Paul’s was approved and visible. He knows much more about BSF than I do and therefore his figure of 45º is the one to use.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Mike aka BW
#22. May 12th, 2011, at 4:06 PM.

Dr. Olivier the links to your pdf files on appear to have gone dead. I hope you’ll post updated links.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Bill Knight
#23. July 31st, 2011, at 12:24 PM.

Hi Dr Olivier, I live in the Uk and I would really like to get my hands on a biopod, however it seems to be an almost impossible task. Is there any information you could give me to assist me with this issue.

I have read with interest the progression of colonising BSF and its benefits and have tried various methods of colonisation giving regard to my climatic local.I have broken all of the rules and managed to maintain a colony in an exo terra tank kept in a spare vivarium (environmental simulation) but I am sure I could be much more productive given the use of a biopod. The use of good surrounding insulation and a heat mat will easily hold the cold months at bay.

I note a post in which you state that you cannot maintain a cycle in a closed unit. This is not my experience. I am now on my third full cycle without having made any further introductions. However, I am sure this is due to the very small size of my setup.

Keep up the good work.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Mike aka BW
#24. July 31st, 2011, at 6:24 PM.

Bill Knight I’d love to learn more about your setup. Do you have a webiste?

Get your own gravatar by visiting paul olivier
#25. July 31st, 2011, at 9:12 PM.

I have biopods in stock, but I think it would be too expensive to ship just one to the UK.

Get your own gravatar by visiting william mutahi
#26. December 20th, 2011, at 7:18 PM.

Hi Paul I have learnt a lot from your site.Keep it up.I am in Kenya how can i get your bio pods here.thanks

Get your own gravatar by visiting Paul Olivier
#27. December 21st, 2011, at 2:01 PM.

I have 4-foot biopods in stock which sell for $100 US a piece.
But freight to Kenya in small quantities might be expensive.
In Kenya I would not suggest putting food waste in biopods.
Feed the food waste first to pigs and put pig feces in biopods.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Joe Ferrone
#28. December 27th, 2011, at 3:22 PM.

Where can the 4-foot biopods be purchased for $100? I can not find these units for sale – can you please point me in the right direction? Thanks!!

Get your own gravatar by visiting Vijay Tonse
#29. November 11th, 2012, at 9:26 AM.

Dear Dr. Olivier,

I live in Kensington, Maryland, which is 10 minutes driving distance North of Washington D.C. I am originally from Bangalore in India and moved to the U.S. in 1993.

I am interested in exploring the possibility of my becoming a Dealer or Distributor of both residential and commercial biopods, especialy in Maryland, and also a seller of BSFL starter culturesas I see considerable potential opportunities for these in my area. However, I do not know if some other Dealer or distributor already exists in my area.

The major producer of organic wastes in Maryland are the large mega poultry farms which produce broilers on deep litter system. I do not know whether you have tried feeding poultry deep litter to the larvae, but from your description of the development of the bedding in the integrated pig farming system, this sounds something like the deep litter system followed by poultry farmers.

I understand from elsewhere on the internet that BSFL have also been used to directly effectively attack and convert large volumes of fresh manure even of poultry and pigs and horses. Do you have nay information as to what systems were used or were the BSFL just added or developed naturally where those manures were dumped?

Maryland is also believed to have the largest number of horses per capita of any of the States in the US, which means big problems in disposal of horse manure, which could mean big opportunities for people in the Black Soldier Fly Larvae business.


Vijay Tonse

P.S. I may be contacted at

Get your own gravatar by visiting Franco
#30. December 4th, 2018, at 12:14 PM.


I am from Switzerland.

I am currently enrolled in my Masters in Entrepreneurship. I have choosen BSF farming as my project.

I am looking to do this on large scale even though I am quite new to this.
I have support by the government and have a big producer of animal feed who would be willing to start a cooperation.

Who can help me in this matter?

Thank you very much for your responses.

You can contact me under

Best regards,

Get your own gravatar by visiting Bentley
#31. December 5th, 2018, at 6:58 PM.

Hi Franco
I would wonder if your climate was warm enough. Are Black Soldier flies native to Switzerland?


Get your own gravatar by visiting Franco
#32. December 5th, 2018, at 7:16 PM.

Hi Bentley

During summer we get up to 35 ° Celcius. Absolutely not.
There are big companies like doing it on a large scale.

But I am thinking of indoor capazities.


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