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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 79 comments.
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Get your own gravatar by visiting DeDe
#1. October 12th, 2008, at 8:05 PM.

I’m a complete newbie here (just started my first bin a couple of weeks ago) and am wondering what the connection is between worms and BSFs. I can certainly see how the flies would find their way inside a worm bin, but I’m having a hard time imagining the benefit of harvesting the larvae.

Would you mind helping me make that leap? :-)

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#2. October 13th, 2008, at 4:17 AM.

hmm I was thinking what about a transparent sheeting ( aerated) sealing off a composting area? So as the larvae matures into flies they can mate outside…but within the plastic sealed compound… Just a raw suggestion anw

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#3. October 13th, 2008, at 4:20 AM.

The benefits of BSF Larvae ? Woarhh Loads Dede, you can go fishing with it.. and its an excellent feed, with 40-45% protein, thats why.

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#4. October 14th, 2008, at 3:48 AM.

DeDe – I can see how the topic of BSFL might seem a little strange given my site’s main theme, but believe it or not, raising soldier fly larvae in much the same way that red worms are raised is becoming an increasingly common practice. They are excellent composters, and as Izhizm has pointed out, they are also excellent as a live food organism. Unlike red worms however, they will actually harvest themselves if provided with the correct set-up (something along the lines of what Vermiman has shared with us above).

Izhizm – interesting idea. Thanks for sharing that.

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#5. October 14th, 2008, at 7:33 AM.


I certainly hope you know what i meant LoL. Something like a tent perhaps? you have a sealed, controlled, environment… The same concept more or less how scientists handle mosquitoes..speaking of feed, the same concept probably have potential for bloodworm culture… hmmm

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#6. October 14th, 2008, at 12:45 PM.

I think Vermiman’s idea is not only ingenius, it’s very cool!

I don’t know if BSF’s will ever replace Red Wigglers as the “Composters of choice” because of the Creepy Factor, but they certainly have become popular in the reptile trade as feeders.

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#7. October 14th, 2008, at 4:11 PM.

Thanks for the reply Izhizm & Bentley. There’s so much to learn about this stuff! So, if I am understanding this correctly, the BSF larvae are good (we want them) because they also process the same compost and produce castings.

I’m still a little confused on the notion of harvesting. I think of harvesting as collecting something I want. With the worms, I know that their ever-increasing populations need to be managed so we must periodically “harvest” some of them to begin new beds or use in some other productive way.

With BSF, I can’t tell if we are talking about “collecting” the larvae (also for population control?) or getting rid of the adult flies. Would you mind clarifying this one for me?

Lastly, Bentley you mentioned the larvae are an excellent live food organism. Can you say more about what that is/does?

I’m sorry if this info has already been covered in a previous thread or if I’m bogging down the wheels of progress with my naive questions. :-)

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#8. October 14th, 2008, at 10:02 PM.

Bentley, Keep up the great work – I found this post to be interesting and of merit, just the way it is. I don’t think you need to spend alot of time quantifying the sharing of ideas. I appreciate the diversity of info.

I also enjoy the comments so far. I choose to do additional research and rediscovered Paul’s background and the efficiency of the BSF…

There’s a great thread about BSFs here:

I look forward to your next post.

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#9. October 15th, 2008, at 12:33 AM.

DeDe – BSFL will literally harvest themselves once they reach a certain stage. The focus here is definitely more on larvae production than on ‘castings’ (if you can call them that) production. Other than laying eggs in the material, the adults are not part of the equation as far as I know. Generally these systems are kept outside.

BSFL are rich in protein and other nutrients – maybe someone else will chime in with more info than that. This really isn’t my area of expertise – I’ve been all about the worms thus far.

John – thanks for the kind words. Our ‘Paul’ here is indeed Dr. Olivier and he and I have actually continued our dialogue via email. He has been kind enough to share a great powerpoint presentation about BSFLs and I am going to convert it to a video format (and upload to YouTube) so I can post it on the blog.

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#10. October 15th, 2008, at 11:42 PM.

I will repeat here what I’ve stated elsewhere:

I don’t think that my system is in anyway comparable to the biopod. I just think that if there is a “cheaper” way to get started then the popularity of BSFL may take off. And in turn bring up the sells of the biopod. I don’t think that many people would shell out $150+ for a composting system that they don’t know much about. Now that I have some experience with the BSFL, I look forward to purchasing the biopod this next Spring.

Sorry for my description of the harvester. I am very new to BSFL. The process of using FSFL for bio-conversion is quite new also.

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#11. October 16th, 2008, at 12:17 AM.


The crawl-off efficiency of my system is in no way comparable to the closed system of the biopod. When the lid can be kept off, the walls remain dry and the crawl-off rate is quite low. But when the lid has to be placed on the unit, it produces lots of humidity and the walls become saturated,then the crawl-off rate becomes quite high. I place the lid on the unit when there is a chance of rain.

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#12. October 17th, 2008, at 1:18 PM.

By crawl-off efficiency I mean the efficiency by which a mature larva ends up in a collection bucket. If larvae cannot make it out of the bin, and if larvae do not end up into a collection bucket, then this represents an inefficiency in crawl-off. The efficiency of crawl-off is the actual number of larvae that made it into a collection bucket divided by the theoretical number of larvae (prepupae) that reach maturity and begin migration in search of a pupation site.

I have seen bioconversion bin designs where the mature prepupae do not make it out of the bin and attempt to pupate within the bin. In many cases, they eventually die. Sometimes migrating larvae get stuck in corners. Sometimes they do not find their way to the evacuation ramps provided. Or if they do, the ramps are not properly sealed and do not lead in a rigorous way into a collection bucket.

With or without lids, atmospheric moisture can build up on the walls of the bin, and this gives larvae the possibility of crawling straight up a wall of a 90-degree angle. Therefore the top of the bin has to have several lateral and downward folds to prevent crawl-off in any other place than in the collection bucket. If liquids released by larval digestion do not drain properly, this also gives larvae traction they should not have. So the draining of liquids has an impact on the ease at which prepupae end up in a collection bucket. However if it becomes too dry within a bioconversion unit, prepupae will sense that the bin is a good place to pupate and they will not attempt to crawl out of the bin.

I am somewhat concerned about the do-it-yourself design posted on this website. The crawl-off efficiency of this unit will be quite low, for the simple reason that the larvae will have a very low probability of finding their way into the white plastic pipes provided as ramps. Instead of seeing a bioconversion rate of fresh food waste into fresh larvae of 20%, one might see a bioconversion rate of only 2% or 3%. This might give someone the impression that the larvae are not very efficient in converting food waste into proteins and fats.

If, for example, someone were to put in 10 lbs of food waste per day, one should expect to have on average about 2 lbs of larvae per day. Anything less represents in most cases an inefficiency in crawl-off. Also this 10 lbs of food waste will reduce to about a half pound of residue, which makes an ideal food for red worms. Redworms grow about 3 to 4 times faster on larval residue than on biologically degraded food waste.

Many thanks.

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#13. October 19th, 2008, at 3:35 AM.


How is this residue harvested in the biopod? Can citrus be fed to BSFL? It has been advised to keep citrus away from worms, due to the content of acid in the fruit. Will this acid cause damage to the BSFL?

I do understand your argument for crawl-off efficiency Paul. My unit sometimes has large harvest(1000s of grubs) but sometimes it has small harvest(less than a hundred).

I did not purposefully start a BSFL culture. I had a poop collection bucket under a rabbit cage that I used to feed to worms in a worm pit. One day when I was about to take that bucket and feed the worms, I looked in the bucket and saw the poop moving in waves. I took a trowel to moved the poop and saw that it was teeming with BSFL. I did a little research on BSFL and built my “newbe” DIY unit. I wanted to get to know a little about BSFL before going full fledge and purchasing a biopod. It would have been a waste of money if I was to purchased a biopod and then decided that I didn’t want to raise them.

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#14. October 19th, 2008, at 3:59 AM.


The crawl-off efficiency of 20% must be and average. There are many variable that can effect that number. One would be variations in types of food scraps fed to the culture of BSFL. Another would be temperature. At cooler weather the larvae would be using more food to create heat and they would also mature more slowly. High temperature could cause early crawl-off. The immature grubs as long as they are large enough can be used in the same manner as the mature grubs. Overpopulation can also cause too much heat and early crawl-off. The immature(early crawl-off) grubs that I have harvested was comparable to the size of the mature grubs. There are probably other variables that I am not even familiar with and may remain unknown until I acquire a biopod.

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#15. October 23rd, 2008, at 1:46 AM.

Here’s some Q&A from a vermicomposting forum that may help a little.

What do you do with the larvae?
I use them for bait. If all goes well, next year I’ll purchase a few chickens and use the grubs to feed them.

What are the pieces of hanging cardboard(?) for?
The female black soldier fly(BSF) lays her eggs in the holes on the sides of the cardboard. The like to lay there clutch away but near the food source.

Are those airholes drilled along the edge the cardboard cutouts are hanging from?
The airholes serve a dual purpose. One, to allow air into the system when the lid is placed on top(when it rains). Two to assist in the hanging of the cardboard nest.

What is in the dish in the first photo?
That dish has small holes on the bottom edges. I bait it with food to harvest immature grubs when needed. This Idea originated from GW at the biopod forum.

What is the large cut-out to the right side of the bin in the third picture?
That is to allow the female BSF in the bin to lay her eggs. The hole was made too big and placed too low.

When you’re ready to harvest can you just stop adding food to the bin and wait for the larvae to mature?
If your talking about the compost, I don’t know. I’ve heard that it is a very good worm food. This is my very first time growing a culture of BSFL. So most of what I’m doing is by trial and error.

Looks like you cover your bin?, problems do you forsee with an open bin?
The bin is covered when it rains. When it’s covered the bin gets very humid and sides get very wet. That allows the mature larvae to climb the walls and escape through the holes. This lessons the harvest in the collection bucket. The bin seems to be best when used as an open system.

Very cool idea, thanks for posting pics!
Thank you, I thought that this may get more people interested in culturing the BSFL

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#16. October 23rd, 2008, at 2:29 PM.

Thanks for sharing that, Vermiman – that’s a great way to present more info about your system.

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#17. October 26th, 2008, at 11:15 PM.

Thanks Paul and Vermiman for the additional info. I can attest to how well EFs work alongside BSFLs. I have consider separating my BSFLs into a separate unit in order to harvest a steady supply of protein for chickens or perhaps a aquaculture (with tilapia or similar fish) set-up.

I love the idea of creating a continuous loop. I love Dr. Paul’s idea of creating the bio-pods using hyper-tufa. I think these pods could be made so that there external shells are an attractive hardscape element while inside they are created for maximum crawl-off efficiency. This idea is presented in his powerpoint presentation on one of the sites I had visited a couple weeks back. I can’t find it now. : (

By the way, has this presentation been converted to a flash video and posted somewhere yet?

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#18. October 27th, 2008, at 3:50 AM.

Hi everyone,
I finally uploaded a video version of Dr. Oliver’s presentation. It may seem a little quick in places, and hard to see, but unfortunately there is only so much you can do with YouTube.
Here is the new post:

Thanks again to Dr. Oliver for sharing this great info, and for everyone else who contributed to this thread. Definitely one of the more interesting comment threads thus far!

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#19. November 2nd, 2008, at 5:48 AM.

I’m very intrigued by the BSFL idea. I already have two worm bins, and they can’t seem to keep up with the household kitchen waste I generate. It would be great to have both systems working side by side. My question: If I have BSFL in my bin, will they reproduce by themselves within the bin, or will they mature and die off? Can both the worms and BSFL co-habitate in the same bin and reproduce effectively such that both populations grow?

Great info from your site!

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#20. November 2nd, 2008, at 1:15 PM.

BSF specialize in fresh food waste, whereas redworms specialize in partially composted food waste. The two have entirely different eating requirements. Therefore it is best not to attempt to cultivate them within the same bin. BSF larvae will not complete their life cycle in a worm bin, and there is no way that redworms could possibly survive in a BSF bin.


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#21. November 4th, 2008, at 3:27 AM.

When you have a culture of BSFL with a large population they would create too much heat for worms to be comfortable much less thrive. Also a large population of BSFL generates a lot of fluid. Worms require a much more dryer habitat than the BSFL tolerate. My 2 cents: For the two species to survive and thrive they require two very different ecosystems.

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#22. November 4th, 2008, at 3:45 AM.

Vermiman, you are correct. The redworms and BSF larvae require two very different environments to flourish optimally.

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#23. February 25th, 2009, at 8:09 AM.

I like the DIY BSFL harvester that Veriman has created. I would have made the tubes much shorter, but that’s just me. Consider the Bio-Pod, a short distance from the food to the harvest entrance, plus, there is a collector for the compost tea ……. Veriman, incorporate that, and I, for one, would like to build one too …… Who cares about crawl-off rates, etc. the whole idea of actuallly making something that works has been accomplished, and you should be proud of your creation. Thanks !!

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#24. April 12th, 2009, at 12:10 AM.

I think I am going to cobble one of these together. BAsed on the comments presented and after reviewing the biopod design, I am going to use a round keg type plastic tub as the BSFL residence. I will place the harvesting PVC pipes in a manner so that they rest up against the corner of the floor and walls on opposite sides, similar to the ramps of the BioPod. If the larva trudge around the perimeter, they are bound to run into one of the tubes. Plus, no corners to get lost in.
I will have the pipes angled up into the harvester bucket, but I will skip the downward sloping pipe and just let the boogers drop into the harvest bucket(s). I have some other thoughts, but I think it’s time to put it together… Meanwhile, I look forward to buying a BioPod once I get this operation off the ground. My chickens are going to love me!

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#25. June 8th, 2009, at 3:21 AM.

I have started the BSFL bin this year again. The bin was loaded with house fly larvae at the early stages. House fly eggs hatch faster and mature faster than the BSFL. The fish in the local creek love to devour them tho. After the population of the BSFL explodes they tend to control the population of the house fly larvae. It is said that the smell of the BSFL is a signal for the house flies not to lay eggs there.

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#26. June 18th, 2009, at 6:48 PM.

Any thoughts on the natural populations of BSF in Colorado or the West would be appreciated. I am going to replicate the home made system and as soon as I can afford to purchase a biopod, I will. I would really like to see Dr. Paul get a huge grant to send out both (are there 3 with the large ‘cement commercial’ size one?) designs to composting organizations across the country.

Really digging BSFL possibilities.

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#27. June 24th, 2009, at 12:46 AM.

I heard about BSFL for the first time on a podcast today hosted by Since I have been entertaining the idea of raising rabbits, chickens, composting worms, meal worms, and possibly fish, I was fascinated with the idea of BSFL.

Just one question: Can someone explain more about the adult phase? I understand the mature flies have no purpose except to reproduce, so I’m wondering how do you go about seeding the biopod? I live in the Northeast US where they don’t live naturally. Do I build a tent around the top of the biopod and turn some of the pupae loose to reproduce in there?

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#28. June 24th, 2009, at 12:55 AM.

On how to recycle food waste, manure and even human waste using soldier fly larvae and red worms:
On how to recycle residential waste:

Where in the Northeast USA do you live?
To naturally seed a pod, put out some food waste in some shallow pans and wait 10 days. You must make sure the food waste does not dry out. Hang some cardboard strips above the food waste, where females will lay eggs.

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#29. June 24th, 2009, at 12:56 AM.

Frasmus – As I understand it (and I’m no expert) the larvae as well as the adult fly both secrete various info chemicals or pheromones that attract the adults to breed and lay eggs nearby. Therefore completing a sort of loop. So you do not need a tent. I am in Colorado but I have not tried to raise/compost with these yet. I will post to this forum as soon as I get my ‘colony’ up and running. If you have not checked out the ESR or BioPod guys – they have great info too.

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#30. June 24th, 2009, at 1:17 AM.

It sounds so simple, IF you live in the natural habitat for these little workers. I just love seeing those compost bins with all the “grubs” that come from nowhere. (On Youtube.)

I am in central New York state. I will have to investigate whether they will seed themselves naturally here. Seems I could create the right habitat for a reproducing colony though.

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#31. June 24th, 2009, at 5:23 AM.

Simply check with all the people who do composting and vermi-composting in a particlar area, and you will quickly find out if BSF larvae are abundant in the wild.

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#32. August 8th, 2009, at 6:15 AM.


I started a wormbin a few months back to deal with composting my kitchen scraps. They limped along until a few weeks ago, and as of now have all but disappeared. I think it’s due to the compost being too wet and too warm.

Anyways, as a result of that, I now have roughly 50 BSF grubs munching on my garbage. I’m more excited by these grubs than I was by the worms, partly because they’re free and also because they’re more hearty and seem to eat faster. My main concern, however, is getting *more*.

I’m still using my worm bin to compost. It’s a 10gallon blue rubbermaid bucket. Now that all the worms are gone, I drilled a few half inch holes in the side to allow BSF’s to get in there and lay eggs. Is there anything else I should be doing to ensure a maximum BSF population? I’m broke so no Biopod for me, and I’d like it to be low maintenance.

Also, how is the BSF waste as far as fertilizer? That was half of the original goal with the worms. Castings and Waste Elimination. Thanks!

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#33. August 8th, 2009, at 7:36 AM.

If you want to promote a large population of BSF in your neighborhood, then it is important that the larvae on reaching maturity can get out of your bin, dig down into the soil and eventually emerge as adults.

Round holes are not the best way to accomplish. The best is to make fairly long vertical slots at least an eight of an inch in width. Of course you have to be careful not to compromise the strength of you bin. When the larvae reach maturity they will crawl along the sides of your bin (mostly at night) until they find a vertical slot. They will then crawl out without a problem.

The best of course is a round bin. A rectangular bin with corners is not good, since the larvae get stuck in corners.

The females will be able to enter the bin to lay eggs by means of the same vertical slots.


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#34. August 8th, 2009, at 3:01 PM.

Thanks for the reply. What should I do with my existing system? Should I do something similar to Vermiman and hack something together with PVC? Also, I live in an apartment and there is very little dirt in the area. It would be better if I could keep it all as self contained as possible.

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#35. August 8th, 2009, at 8:51 PM.

Cut vertical slots in a large round plastic bin, and you should be fine. Make sure that at any height, there is access to at least one vertical slot. The larvae will then find their way out.

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#36. August 17th, 2009, at 2:03 AM.

if I have like 100 grubs in my bin, and they all reach the point where they’re going to hatch, but can’t get out of the compost bin…will they die, or will they hatch and turn into flies? I’m confused about this portion of the lifecycle.

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#37. August 17th, 2009, at 2:10 AM.

The larvae must be able to pupate to complete the life cycle.
If it is dry enough in the bin, they might be able to complete pupation.
But if the pupae are flooded several times with fresh wet food waste, I doubt if they will survive.

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#38. October 7th, 2009, at 9:12 PM.

I live in the Portland Oregon area. Do these flies live here and if not how can I sustain this system? Looks like something I would like to do. I raise reptiles and the grubs are a perfect food.


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#39. October 8th, 2009, at 6:14 PM.

Yes, BSF are found in Portland.
If you want to harvest larvae efficiently, I suggest that you buy a biopod.

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#40. October 8th, 2009, at 6:19 PM.

Thanks Paul. Is this something I should wait for the spring to start? How do I start the colony, add grubs to the biopad?

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#41. October 8th, 2009, at 6:28 PM.

Man I wish we had BSF in Colorado!! Hey Dr. Oliver, I am going to Brazil for the month of November. Any interest in helping me set up a biopod near the Fortaleza area?

Joe Ferrone
qualitytrent at

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#42. October 8th, 2009, at 8:19 PM.


I think that it is best to wait until spring when adult females will be around to lay eggs. When BSF females are present, you do not have to do anything.
They will lay eggs and assure a healthy population of grubs.


I can give you a lot of free advice. But you will need a biopod.

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#43. October 8th, 2009, at 10:50 PM.

Thanks again. I will get a bipod, but I may wait until closer to spring to get it. Drop me an email rcivil at comcast dot net.

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#44. October 26th, 2009, at 4:26 PM.

Dear All, It’s been great reading you. I discovered BSF just a week ago, when a friend was horrified by what she found in her compost heap. A little research later, and I’m in love! I’ve set up a container on my apartment building rooftop in Goa, India. The perfect climate – about a constant 30 degrees celcius year round (with great variations in humidity). There are adults BSF living locally (seemingly abundant) and already laying in my bin. My main use for BSF is waste management. I don’t as of today have a specific need for harvesting the pre-pupal larvae or compost (that will come once I’m out of the apartment and into a house). If the pre-pupae are unable to leave my bucket, I imagine some will manage to pupate in the drier edges of the bucket, but others will die. Will this create problems? I would eventually like a harvesting system so that the larvae can do what nature intended, but in the meantime, while I’m building my colony, is it necessary for the pre-pupae to be able to leave the bucket? Thanks kindly, in advance, to all. Rosie

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#45. October 26th, 2009, at 9:20 PM.


The larvae turn black when they mature, and these mature prepupal larvae must find a way out of the waste, otherwise they will die.

If you see black larvae in your bin, try to take them out. Put them in some dry sawdust or rice hulls and a few weeks later they will mature.

Please see:

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#46. November 7th, 2009, at 2:07 PM.

I’ve got to make my own bin, at least for the short term, as my wife has just about had it with the worms and bees.

How to increase crawl-off efficiency in a homemade bin?

How to keep ‘em working over the winter (not just working, but reproducing)? I’ve read that even with supplemental heat the bugs somehow know it’s not breeding time.

I haven’t found much info on the web, I guess it’s a pretty new concept, and thus fun to be involved with.

- Mark in Santa Barbara

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#47. November 7th, 2009, at 7:15 PM.

Do not try to make a homemade bin like the round bin that I am marketing.
Work with a square or rectangle, and have at least one side come out at a 45 degree angle. The larvae will crawl up this ramp when they reach maturity.

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#48. February 22nd, 2010, at 8:35 PM.

It is almost impossible to make a round bin in either plastic or metal.
But the rectangular bin is quite easy, but the efficiency of crawl-off is not ideal.
The round biopod that we make in Saigon is made by means of a roto-molding process. But the mold cost here is about $80,000.

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#49. March 10th, 2010, at 7:47 PM.

I will sell BSF bioconversion units of 2- and 4-foot diameters to anyone willing to make an investment in at least a 20-foot container.
My US telephone number is: 1-337-447-4124

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#50. March 10th, 2010, at 9:06 PM.

I sell a complete 2-foot unit with collection bucket for $50.00, and a complete 4-foot unit for $75.00. This is not expensive for a permanent, long-lasting, roto-molded product.

If you want to build a BSF unit for personal use, it is much easier to do so in a square or rectangular shape. At least one side of this rectangle has to come out at a 45 degree angle to form a crawl-off ramp. This does not violate my patent. I can make drawings available of this DIY unit.

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#51. 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.

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#52. 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.

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#53. 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!

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#54. April 13th, 2010, at 6:27 PM.

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#55. May 17th, 2010, at 11:54 AM.

Looks to be a very cool design.

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#56. 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.

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#57. 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

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#58. 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?

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#59. 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).

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#60. 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.

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#61. 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.

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#62. 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.


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#63. 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

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#64. 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.

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#65. 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.

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#66. 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.


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#67. December 30th, 2010, at 7:52 PM.

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

Great blog too.

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#68. 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?

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#69. 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.

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#70. 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. ;)

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#71. 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.

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#72. 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.

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#73. 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.

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#74. July 31st, 2011, at 6:24 PM.

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

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#75. 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.

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#76. 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

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#77. 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.

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#78. 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!!

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#79. 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

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