Which Is Best Black Soldier Fly Larvae or Red Wiggler Worms for Vermicomposting?

 Which Is Best Black Soldier Fly Larvae or Red Wiggler Worms for Vermicomposting?

Composting is an interesting way to get rid of waste and turn it into something useful. The first question you need to ask yourself is, "What is the ultimate goal of this project?"

Some common goals:
1. Reduce waste.
2. Make gardening compost
3. Grow food for other animals.
4. Planting bait for fishing.
5. Make money

1. Reduce Waste

Both insects and BSFL help reduce waste. Each is good at converting different types of waste. Think about the type of waste you or your family produces.

Worms are best suited to vegetable waste, cardboard, junk mail, coffee grounds with filters, compost, and grass clippings. They should not be fed lemon, onions, dairy products, meat or fat. Meat can harm your insects with what's called "proteotoxicity," causing them to become deformed. If you want to use more fertilizer, either age the fertilizer before feeding the worms, or feed the larvae BSF fertilizer. Make sure that the animal from which the manure is obtained has not been treated with pesticides, as this may harm or kill your insects. Getting older and having a first pass with BSF may help if a worm is present, but it's not clear whether that will make the worm safe. It also likely depends on the insect used.

2. Gardening

If your goal is to improve your garden's production, fertilizing is a straightforward way to amend your soil and improve your productivity. Worm tea is known to improve growth and production. The plants will be larger and more fruitful. I'm trying to establish wild colonies of worms in my area to improve soil quality. The escaping insects will decompose leaf litter as well as burrow tunnels, which will help improve drainage and aeration in your lawn and garden.

Black soldier fly larvae produce “waste” that can inhibit growth if applied directly before further fertilization. However, if you decide to use BSFL, the waste can be hot composted and then mixed into the soil to create fertilizer. Consider a “semi-porous” copper material.

3. Growing Food for Other Animals

Both insects and BSFL can be used to feed other animals such as reptiles, lizards, fish and poultry. However, BSFL has the added benefit of containing plenty of calcium, fat and protein.
If you are keeping reptiles and feeding them crickets or mealworms, washing the food with calcium is important for the health of your reptile. If you feed BSFL to lizards or tortoises, there may not be much calcium or anything.

Chickens need calcium to make eggs. Worms and BSFL are a natural source of calcium that helps chickens lay large, healthy eggs. Both are also excellent sources of protein for chickens.

Other birds should also be able to eat BSFL.
Both worms and BSFL can be used to feed fish, and both... . . Bait for fishing.

4. Bait for Fishing

Both the BSFL and the red wobbler can be used for fishing.
As BSFLs age, they become somewhat slower as they prepare for pupation. When fishing, use small, still very active BSFLs. The extra movement will definitely attract fish, leading to better results.

A red wobbler can be a little small for some fish but will work just as well. Nightcrawlers are larger and will be more attractive to fish. European or Canadian nightcrawlers are old standbys, but African nightcrawlers or Alabama jumpers are also very popular. Jumpers are specially designed to remain active longer while on the hook, attracting fish with their jerky movements.

5. Making Money

There is a market for both BSFL and worms, although I doubt there is a larger market for worms. There is not a large market for the waste, but BSFL can be sold in pet stores for reptile food. Unlike BSFL, both worms and vermicast are marketable. However, there are also likely to be more competitors. If you decide to start worm farming, be sure to separate the different types of worms, because some types will need to be marketable. Some insect breeders have a bad reputation for mixing different types of insects into their products. Castings may also be marketed to gardeners, so check the market for local nurseries. Making fresh “bug tea” is another great option and can yield a higher profit margin.

If you want to sell mistakes, the blues are the least desirable. Nightcrawlers cost more per pound but take longer to reproduce than red crawlers.

What Will Tolerate the Environment in Your Area?

Choose the right vermicompost based on your location. Black soldier bees are found in many parts of the world. In the United States, it occurs near the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, which is uncommon in the Rocky Mountain states.

As for bugs, in warmer regions, red wigglers, blue bugs and African nightcrawlers do well. Canadian and European night crawlers do best in the cooler climates of the north. Alabama's players split the difference when it comes to taking the heat.

Consider Both BSFL and Worms!

Consider doing both BSFL and vermicomposting. The larvae, sometimes called caterpillars, feed on the carcass to the bone, but do not eat the bones. They will leave behind something called “waste”, which is basically the waste/feces of the larvae. Frostbite can be used as a soil amendment, but only if it is composted or aged. Mulch that does not contain fertilizer can slow plant growth. This is where the errors come in. Worms can digest the waste easily, resulting in higher quality castings much faster than partially processed waste. Also throw the remaining bones into the worm bin. Although the worms will not compost the bones, the bones will serve as a buffer to keep the pH of the bin more neutral. Alternatively, you can grind the bones into a powder to add to the casting. By using both BSFL and insects, you can significantly reduce waste to mainly plastics and other inorganic materials. You will also speed up the decomposition process, which will significantly reduce the time it takes to create high-quality vermicompost.

The "ICK" factor

If you're reading this, it's likely that both BSFL and bugs won't "spoil you." However, BSFLs are technical wizards. A safer and more politically correct term might be anarchy. Either way, it can trigger an immediate physical reaction in some people. Black soldier flies do not bite or bite humans. They are easier to deal with than house flies, and they usually stay away from people. Always wash your hands after handling caterpillars, because the rotting meat you feed them can contain bacteria that can make you sick.

Insects also have an ICK factor, although it is usually lower than BSFL. My three sons love checking for errors, and they don't seem to have a problem spotting them.

Making Your Bin

Making worm bins is very easy. When I started using the stackable tray system, you could dip in with a 5-gallon bucket with a hole in the bottom to drain excess liquid, or with a large carrying basket. Using cover will reduce the attraction of larger pests such as raccoons and provide shade. Pests will likely find a way, some of which will be beneficial. To reduce the attraction of cockroaches, bury any food you compost and keep the box moist, just enough so that a few drops of water form if you press on the bedding. Make sure there is air flow to keep the insects oxygenated.

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