Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beneficial Byproducts of BSF Rearing

During the warmer months or in climate controlled conditions, for every 100 kgs of food waste added to a BSF bioconversion system approximately 20 kgs of live pupae or 'grubs' are produced. Depending on the moisture content of the food scraps and the ambient humidity of the system, several liters of 'tea' are also produced as liquid effluent. After filtering through cheese cloth and dilution at a 10:1 or 15:1 ratio, this tea may be used as a liquid fertilizer or foliar spray. This effluent is also an extremely powerful attractant for adult BSF females, and will result in the ovipositing of eggs on any surface near the collection receptacle. With this in mind, tea from BSF systems may be used to start up additional units, by enticing gravid females to seed new piles of scraps. For every 100 lbs of scraps, roughly 5 lbs of a black, friable residue remain at the bottom of any BSF bioconversion system. This casting residue, along with undigested food remains and shredded chitin exoskeletons from BSF larvae, creates a mixture that is undergoes further decomposition by beneficial bacteria and fungi. This combo material may be used directly in the garden as a nutritious soil amendment, or fed to redworms for transformation into vermiculture castings.