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What Are Black Soldier Flies Used For? 4 Innovative Uses

what is the black soldier fly used for cover

In recent years, the humble black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) has emerged as a champion in sustainable waste management and producing valuable resources.

With its remarkable abilities and adaptability, this fascinating insect has found numerous applications across various industries.

In a nutshell, black soldier flies (BSF) are utilized in systems to process waste, serve as a sustainable source of protein-rich animal feed, and also produce "frass," which is rich in nutrients and serves as a natural fertilizer.

4 ways black soldier flies are used

black soldier fly on leef

1. Waste management and decomposition

Black soldier flies are renowned for their exceptional ability to rapidly consume and break down organic waste materials. The larvae, commonly known as "BSF larvae" or "BSFL," are voracious eaters and can efficiently convert a wide range of organic waste, such as kitchen scraps, manure, and agricultural residues, into nutrient-rich biomass.

This capacity to convert waste into usable products offers significant advantages for waste management systems, reducing the volume of waste destined for landfills while simultaneously mitigating potential environmental issues associated with waste decomposition.

2. Animal feed production

The nutrient-rich biomass black soldier fly larvae produces is an excellent protein source for animal feed. High in essential amino acids and beneficial fats, the larvae offer a sustainable alternative to traditional feed ingredients, such as fishmeal and soybean.

Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of black soldier fly larvae as a feed supplement for poultry, pigs, fish, and even pets, highlighting their potential to contribute to a more sustainable and efficient animal agriculture industry.

3. Nutrient recycling and soil enhancement

The residue left behind after black soldier fly larvae have consumed organic waste, known as "frass," is rich in essential nutrients, making it an excellent natural fertilizer. Frass contains high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with beneficial microorganisms.

When used as an organic soil amendment, frass enhances soil fertility, promotes plant growth, and reduces reliance on synthetic fertilizers. This circular approach to nutrient recycling not only reduces waste but also supports sustainable agricultural practices.

organic waste

4. Biofuel production

Black soldier fly larvae have also shown promise as a potential source of biofuel. The high lipid content of the larvae makes them a viable option for the production of biodiesel and other biofuels. The extraction of lipids from black soldier fly larvae offers a renewable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-based energy sources.

Furthermore, the utilization of organic waste as feedstock for black soldier fly larvae adds an additional layer of environmental benefit by transforming waste into valuable energy resources, contributing to the concept of waste-to-energy systems.

How are black soldier flies farmed?

Black soldier flies (BSF) are typically farmed in specialized facilities known as "BSF farms" or "insect farms." These farms are designed to provide optimal conditions for the rearing and production of black soldier fly larvae. The facilities can vary in size and design, ranging from small-scale operations to large commercial setups.

BSF farms often utilize vertical or horizontal container systems, such as plastic bins or stacked trays, to house the larvae. These containers are filled with a suitable substrate, such as organic waste or a mixture of feedstock, which serves as both a medium for the larvae to thrive on and a source of nutrition.

The farms may employ controlled environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity regulation, to support the growth and development of the larvae. The larvae are typically harvested once they reach a desired stage of development, after which they can be further processed or used for various applications such as animal feed production or biodiesel production.

black soldier fly larvae bsfl

Wrap up

The black soldier fly, with its remarkable ability to convert organic waste into valuable resources, has become a key player in various sustainable industries. From waste reduction and animal feed production to nutrient recycling and biofuel generation, this humble insect has proven its versatility and potential for a more sustainable future.

By harnessing the unique capabilities of black soldier flies, we can reduce waste, enhance agricultural practices, and create renewable energy sources. Continued research and innovation in this field will further unlock the potential of these fascinating insects, paving the way for a more sustainable and resource-efficient world.


Diener, S., Zurbrügg, C., Gutiérrez, F. R., Nguyen, D. H., Morel, A., Koottatep, T., & Tockner, K. (2011). Black soldier fly larvae for organic waste treatment-prospects and constraints. Proceedings of the WasteSafe, 2, 13-15.

Surendra, K. C., Tomberlin, J. K., van Huis, A., Cammack, J. A., Heckmann, L. H. L., & Khanal, S. K. (2020). Rethinking organic wastes bioconversion: Evaluating the potential of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens (L.))(Diptera: Stratiomyidae)(BSF). Waste Management, 117, 58-80.

Newton, G. L., et al. (2005). The Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens, as a Manure Management/Resource Recovery Tool. Symposium on Energy from Biomass and Waste, 368-372.


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