Food Waste Management with Black Soldier Fly Larva

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Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Countries like Australia, Philippines and the USA have been leveraging the special ability of Black Soldier Fly larvae to convert the food waste management problem into a low-cost farm feed opportunity. Further, countries in Asia and Africa are becoming a destination for the Black Soldier Fly larva due to a booming aquaculture sector, boosting a need for high-protein and affordable feed.

Not just as farm feed across fish farms and poultry farms, the adoption of Black Soldier Fly larva is increasing even in the human food chain, given the fact that it is a cleaner, cheaper and more ethical source of protein as compared to any other meat related industry. It is better for the planet while being palatable (and even delicious as claimed by some patrons!). Let us look at how the Black Soldier Fly larva can help you manage your food-related waste better.

Converting Food and Livestock related Waste to Feed

The excreta from livestock does not decompose very quickly, nor in an effective manner if left as is, without any management or treatment. Prior to the popularization of Black Soldier Fly Larva in this space, livestock excreta were treated by using high temperature composting or other similar methods. This was all prior to the 1970s, post which Black soldier fly larva was started to be deployed for effectively decomposing the feces and absorbing it into biomass.

As per several studies, about 80% of the BSF larva survived well when the BSF were given the substrate comprising mostly of chicken, pig or cattle feces. Further, it was also observed that the Black soldier fly larva consumed the nutrients out of these feces, and when the samples of used up substrates were taken, it was found that about 30-50% of nitrogen was absorbed by the larvae, while 60-70% of phosphorus was also consumed.

Another notable observation was around the presence of harmful bacteria in these feces. It was reported that the presence of active E. coli and Salmonella was much lower in the excreta that was treated by the BSF larvae.

Besides animal excreta, fruit and vegetable waste also make for a brilliant substrate for feeding the BSF larvae. When compared between Black soldier fly larva fed with just fruit waste, and those fed with both fruit and vegetable waste, it was found that the protein content was higher in the Black soldier fly larva which fed on the fruit waste and vegetable waste mixed together when compared to Black soldier fly larva that was fed solely on fruit waste or vegetable waste alone.

This makes organic waste and Black Soldier Flies (BSF) a match made in heaven. BSF is useful in reducing the amount of organic waste that is discarded by households, farms and other commercial establishments every day, by making the same good raw material for BSF substrate. Whatever residue remains after the larvae feed can further be processed into biogas.

How to Learn Black Soldier Fly Larvae farming?

At Rocket Skills, we have started offering an online course on BSF farming wherein you get videos on demand, study material, community access and an opportunity connect with the experts who can answer all your real-world concerns around starting your own Black Soldier Fly farm for larvae production or waste management. The course comes with more than 10 video lectures and 4 live doubt-clearing sessions with the instructor over video conferencing. The best part is that you get to keep the course contents for as long as you want and can access it anytime and from anywhere with our mobile application

Besides online courses, you can attend webinars and look up open-source content on YouTube to learn about the BSF farming business. There are also plenty of research papers that have been written in this space and it’ll be worthwhile checking those out to get a deeper, more scientific understanding of how BSF farming works and whether it is the correct business for you to enter or not.

Benefits of Farming Black Soldier Fly

Some of the benefits of farming Black Soldier Flies for their larvae include–

  1. Excellent Nutritional Value

Over 40% of the body mass of the BSF larvae is composed of protein, thereby making it an excellent component of any feed, be it for livestock consumption or even for human consumption. Many Asians have been consuming these larvae as part of their diet and since the past few decades, BSF larvae have found their way into the diets of people from the Americas, Europe and Africa. 

  1. Fast and Cheap Production

While the more traditional livestock that are reared for their meat take time, energy and other resources to reach the stage where they can be sold in the market for their meat, the cycle for BSF larvae is much faster and much more eco-friendly. Further, the digestive system of these insects is so robust that it kills any bacteria that it may find in the substrate, making them incredibly cheap to rear.

  1. Quick Reproduction 

A Black Soldier fly can lay up to 500 eggs in one go. On the contrary, even the most efficient of layers (chickens) lay only 200 eggs annually! Further, the entire lifespan of these insects is 6 weeks, making their management incredibly quick and economical.

  1. Less Input for High Yield

BSF larvae feed on organic matter, and this includes organic wastes. While you would need about 10 kg of fodder to make 1 kg of traditional red meat, BSF larvae only need around 1.5 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of meat!

  1. Ethical as compared to other Livestock Farming

Black soldier fly larvae prefer to stay very close together, and therefore, what may be cruel to other meat producing livestock, is rather humane, and a practical solution in case of BSF farming. Additionally, they produce absolutely zero waste since as the residue can be used as fertilizer. Further, BSF farming puts a lot less strain on the environment as compared to other livestock.

Start your own BSF farm with Rocket Skills today! Click here.


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