Black Soldier Fly Farming: The Eco-Bug Leading the Future
What Are Black Soldier Flies?
Not to be confused with the pesky house fly, black soldier flies are environmental activists by nature. They are an essential part of our ecosystem and offer a look into the future of sustainable farming. Black soldier fly farming is the most widespread form of insect farming in the world. Bug farming will continue to grow as an industry exponentially in the coming years. This unique agricultural innovation leads the way for sustainable solutions in farming and food insecurity.
Like us, the black soldier fly also hates pests like the house fly. They have miraculously evolved to produce an odour that repels other pests, keeping their homes and our farms naturally free of contamination. Black soldier flies are considered sanitary insects due to their natural systems that break down any bacteria in their food. After a hearty meal of compost, the bacteria-free waste is repurposed into a garden-safe fertilizer. Black soldier flies are thus a natural zero-waste system and little environmentalist icons.
How Do You Farm Black Soldier Flies?
Black soldier flies are homebodies so to say as their wings are not strong and keep them close to home. So, a farming environment is an ideal space to live for an adult fly. Black soldier fly larvae also thrive in close quarters, making the farming environment something of a paradise for the larva too. Because of their natural living conditions, black soldier flies require 94% less land than livestock or fish farms to live happily.
While it does seem more fun, black soldier fly farming does not involve running around with nets catching flies. We do not harvest the adult flies; we harvest them at their larvae state. At the larva stage of the black soldier fly lifecycle, they are the most nutrient-dense and optimal for harvesting. We don’t harvest all of our black soldier fly larvae because we need adult flies to continue black soldier fly production cycles.
Larvae are harvested and turned into black soldier fly oil or powder. This oil or powder is most commonly used to feed and nourish our furry friends and fellow farm animals. You can also find black soldier fly larva oil in our very own Berry Buglicious Dog Treats. Black soldier fly protein offers several health benefits with anti-inflammatory properties and a hypoallergenic makeup!
The Black Soldier Fly Stages:
The black soldier fly lifecycle is short, with a lifespan of up to 6-8 weeks. An adult fly lays up to 500 eggs, picking a safe place above ground with a food source below. The black soldier fly diet is made up of food compost, providing an eco-friendly solution to excess food waste. Once through their hatchery phase, they find their way to the compost and start eating. They reach their full body mass in about 6 days, with each larva consuming about 200mg of compost per day. At this stage, the larva is made up of 40-65% protein and is full of essential amino acids and nutrients. This is the best time to harvest due to their high nutritional content. Once they evolve out of this stage and become adult flies, they cannot eat any more and therefore only live for a few days before reproducing and dying.
The Future of Farming Bugs:
The current climate crisis can be a paralyzing feat. Individually, we often feel we hold little power and control over the future of our planet; but together, we can make strides in the direction of a more sustainable and green future. We have the collective power to set the new standards and expectations as both consumers and producers.
A greener future will require less reliance on livestock and fish farming for both our pets and ourselves. The meat industry has a massive carbon footprint and significant negative environmental impact that is not sustainable (read more on factory farming here). Black Soldier Flies offer a feed source for livestock and fish. However, this use is still contributing to the systems that are damaging our planet. No one solution will solve the issue of our climate crisis, let alone issues like food insecurity or carbon emissions. HOPE is pushing cultural boundaries and steering us away from a reliance on the systems and practices that damage our environment. We are paving a new path for sustainable growth, starting with bugs!