05 September 2010

Soldiers Welcome Here

No, it's not another post about reenacting. It's what I found in my compost pile today. Soldier fly larvae.... hundreds of them!

Once I got over the ick factor I decided they'd done one heck of a good job at converting household garbage.... including meat, avocado pits, whole hardened squashes, tons of mango pits, coffee, and a LOT of newspaper... into gorgeous black compost. Interestingly, they did not eat the ripe seeds of the squashes. There were little clumps of seedlings all through the top layer.

So, how did we get soldier flies? Undoubtedly it's because I built the pile in a spot where water tends to stand, let a downspout drain into it for a while, and made it really acidic with the waste products of our favorite coffee shop. The bugs seem very happy.

Soldier flies have other benefits to the farm too. The larvae can be harvested and fed to the chickens as a high protein treat. Supposedly they go wild for them but in a head-to-head test this afternoon 4 out of 4 chickens chose whole corn, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts over squirming larvae when presented together. Oh well. I'm actually more excited about the OTHER benefit they seem to have brought to us.... soldier flies get rid of house flies! Apparently to the tune of 90% or more. No wonder we've not seen a house fly in ages!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's amazing...no house flies would be awesome! I do have to laugh that none of the chickens chose the larva! =)