For the last few years, a welcome sight when the weather warmed was the increase in activity in my compost. Specifically, signs of the larvae of the black soldier fly. My neighbor would even ask for a shovelful to get her compost going in the spring.

Why get so excited about larvae? Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae, Hermetia illucens, are detritivores, organisms that consume decaying organic matter. They consume food scraps before they decompose making short shrift of any food scraps that goes into my compost bin. Although seeing the churn of the compost can be unnerving, the benefit these bring far outweighs any “ick” factor.

After turning my food scraps into compost, the larvae mature into flies leaving their husks behind to be come part of the compost.

Now that the weather is turning cooler, the BSF will stop reproducing and the compost will be left to the microbes and earthworms – worthy composters, just without the speed and energy of the BSF. 

So goodbye BSF, thanks for all your hard work and see you next year!

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