06 September 2010

More About My Bugs

Dear Reader,

I do hope you're not squeamish about bugs because the more I read about Black Soldier Flies the more excited I get about their benefits. And since I'm determined to write to you nearly every day about something you're going to receive the harvest of tidbits I've gleaned.

BSF have been studied as an option for dealing with the massive amounts of manure from large pork and poultry operations. It seems the folks who run these places have learned that those giant manure piles are poisoning the watershed. (Poster child number one is the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which reaches to within 60 miles or so of Stratheden Farm.) BSL would appear to be an optimal solution to the problem as it stands.

What they do is move all that poop into big concrete bins, add the larvae in huge numbers, then collect the pupae & pre-pupae to start the next bin. In a matter of weeks the bugs eat their way through the poop, reducing it by about half, drop the nitrogen and phosphate levels about as much, and produce a compost product that is essentially free of pathogens.

Cool, eh? Even better is that there is an economic angle to this... the compost weighs less by volume so it's cheaper to send out of the region where it's needed and the pupae can be used both as a food source for birds and fish or sold into the consumer market. Both make a tidy profit for a very low labor input.

I wonder when the Frontier Ville and Farm Ville games will offer soldier flies too....

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