I Have Big Maggots in my Worm Farm.

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If you have big maggot looking things in your worm farm they may just be the larvae of Hermetia illucens aka black soldier fly larvae. I’ve written about black soldier fly larvae before but new vermicomposters tend to panic when first seeing them. No wonder they can appear quickly and their writhing is almost creepy.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae- photo courtesy thelittlewormfarm.com
Black Soldier Fly Larvae- photo courtesy thelittlewormfarm.com
black soldier fly emerging
Adult Black Soldier Fly Emerging from it's Pupal Stage - Photo Courtesy Matt Maney

Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) are a frequent visitor to worm farms where soldier flies are native. Female soldier flies are attracted to rotting food so overfed worm farms are especially vulnerable to invasion. If your worm bed islarge enough BSFL are no harm to worms. They can however generate a lot of heat through the friction of their movement and compete with worms for food. BSFL poop (frass) is however an excellent food for worms but keeping both in the same bin can be problematic. If you wish to use the BSFL to compost then you’ll want to scoop out all the larvae you can and place them in their own bin. Once most of the larvae are removed youll want to cover your worm bin and any air holes with a fine mesh. Monitor this mesh for soldier fly egg clusters as female soldier flies may lay eggs on the mesh and you can end up with more BSFL in your bin.

  BSFL make great chicken treats or bait for fishing if you just can’t bear to compost with them. You could also place the larvae in a more traditional compost pile to speed up the process.

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Larry Shier
 

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