Organic Value Recovery Solutions LLC © Organic Value Recovery Solutions 2010 © Organic Value Recovery Solutions 2010 Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Illucens) The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens L.) is a non-pest fly native to the tropical and temperate New World.  About the time of WWII, it was spread to all the continents, apparently by the large amounts of shipping at that time.  Now it is found in practically every relatively moist temperate and tropical region of the world. Adults may emerge 10-14 days after pupation but often take longer.  In general, adults mate at two day and females lay a single batch of up to 500-700 eggs two days later.  Eggs hatch in about four days. The larvae are voracious feeders on a wide range of organic material and can consume twice or more of their body weight daily.  Under favorable conditions, the larvae mature in 2-4 weeks growing from a .03 mg hatchling to a 200 mg, or greater prepupae, a 7000 times increase in weight.  Soldier fly larvae (SFL) convert their feed into their insect biomass (a source of valuable products) at up to a 25% rate on a dry matter basis, e.g. for every ton of dry matter food waste or swine manure the SFL consume, they can produce 500 pounds of high quality dry matter protein, fat and chitin. They feed on practically any organic material that has not already been digested (putrefied) by bacteria.  Soldier fly larvae and putrefying bacteria are competitors for these nutrients.  In reasonably dense populations, SFL eliminate or greatly reduce bacterial activity see: Odor Control, Antimicrobials. Conversely, if bacteria are well established in a food source before the female BSF oviposits, then her larvae will not survive. Soldier fly larvae feed on a wide variety of "waste" and low value organic materials or byproducts including;  animal manures, restaurant and food processing wastes (including dairy and meat - not consumed in vermiculture), brewer's grains and even materials as unlikely as catsup.  SFL consume these low value materials and produce a 42% protein, 35% fat feedstuff  (see: product breakdown) that shows promise as a fishmeal alternative. Further processing can partition this raw insect biomass into high quality chitin, 60+% protein concentrate and high value oils, including lauric acid.  These products will be easily marketable to agriculture, aquaculture or industry.  The residue from rearing Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) consists of larval feces and bits of food too tough to be torn with their mandibles and consumed.  Mouth parts of SFL allow them to macerate solids resulting in the utilization of more of the solid resources than is possible with the house fly.  This physical destruction and thorough digestion results in a low odor (like humus) low nutrient coffee ground-like material very similar to vermicompost (see: Valuation of residual).  In a carefully monitored trial feeding swine manure to BSFL, the dry matter mass reduction was 56% and the nitrogen and phosphorous were reduced 80% and 68% respectively when mass reductions are considered.  see: (Using the BSF as a value-added tool for swine manure management, page 12) Through SFL digestion most problematic organic waste streams can be converted into a high value fishmeal alternative, or rendered into higher value products (protein concentrate, oils, chitosan).  The residue from this digestion is a reduced nutrient, low odor material comparable to vermicompost.  This can be sold profitably if marketing channels are convenient or land applied on much less land than would be required for the original waste material.  With dense larvae populations consuming up to 2.5 pounds of waste per square foot per day, waste materials can be efficiently converted to higher value products on an industrial scale, using the Black Soldier Fly.