The black soldier fly starts off as an egg for two weeks. Once hatched, they are larvae for almost three weeks. When they mature, they live for only three or four days. Each fly can lay about 900 eggs and the result is about 20,000 larvae. One other advantage is once the larvae are active, no other organism can survive. No organisms can disrupt the experiment which gives the black soldier fly a great advantage.This makes it a more controllable experiment. Another advantage is the fly is naturally resistant to diseases. They are superior to normal house flies and most types of larvae or maggots which harbor different types of diseases and parasites. They also eat five times their body weight daily. Their bodies’ are 35% oil and eating this much allows them to produce large amounts of oil used for biodiesel. Their bodies are 42% protein and 5% calcium. After being pressed for oil, they are ground up to produce a nourishing chicken feed product.
Why Does Clemson Support the Black Soldier Fly Project?
Clemson University is always working to create a more sustainable campus. With the help of the Black Soldier Fly Project, thousands of pounds of food waste are converted into biodiesel, chicken feed, and compost. By utilizing food waste, Clemson University reduces fossil fuel emissions and costs related to waste transportation and disposal. The waste comes from the dinning halls on Clemson’s campus as well as food waste from student research projects. Unfortunately, only half of the food waste can be used from the dining halls. The goal is to grow the program with support of donations and volunteers to handle a larger percentage of the food waste.
Thornton, D. (2014, February 14). Interview by Saahirah Goodwin, James Mertz, Elizabeth Smith. Black Soldier Fly website interview.