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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Huntersville, NC
    Posts
    94

    Default Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    I am considering keeping chickens in addition to bees and am learning about chickens now. One way to feed the chickens good protein is to raise Black Soldier Flies. Their larva grow in a compost bucket and do a great job of decomposing plant and animal material. When the larva matures the pupae (or maggots if you prefer) climb out and pupate in the ground. The adult Black Soldier Fly emerges, mates and lays about 500 - 1000 tiny eggs to start the cycle again. Often the fly lays the eggs in the compost bin because she is attracted to the smell of the material to be decomposed and to the smell of the larva that is in there.

    I am interested in your thoughts about the potential to raise these Black Soldier Flys anywhere near my bee hives. I don't think that the fly would be attracted to the bee hive because the hive does not have the right smell. But....if she does get into the hive, one fly will lay several hindered eggs and that larva has a huge appetite.

    So what do you think, is it too risky?
    Thanks,
    Will

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rowley, MA
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    the bees are not going to let the fly into their hive unmolested, i don't think you have anything to worry about except the neighbors

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    571

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    Trying to figure out why anyone would want to raise flies. Most farmers I know try hard to get rid of them.

    Just buy better chicken feed or let them free range.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    I read something about hanging a beaver carcass over the chicken run. It might be for those flies. Aparently the maggots will fall off the carcass and the chickens will eat them off the ground.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,876

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    A rotting beaver carcass in the yard would certainly make points for me with my wife! I grew up out among the poor folks but never heard of anything like that or a bucket of maggots for the chickens.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    fresno county ca usa
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    Use red worms buddy there great little animals.
    /Day and night with all your might /

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    My chickens are free range. I would not consider raising flies since I would rather the eat every tick in the world. Anyway..I wondered if the chickens would eat bees, but they don't. even at the watering pond...bees are always there and the chicken won't touch them...have even seen bees hitching rides on chicken...don't know why though
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Huntersville, NC
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    The Black Soldier Fly larva provides a great source of protein and calcium to the chickens which reduces the cost of feeding them quite a bit and is a supplement to what they get when free ranging. The adult fly's mouth does not move so it does not eat as an adult, only as a larva. They do not eat, bite or sting so there is no reason For them to be around people. Very few people actually see a black soldier fly. They only live as an adult for about a week and their only purpose for that time is to mate. The female must mate in the first day in order to lay her eggs before she dies. They are really quite interesting. Not as interesting as bees and a lot more gross but they make great food for chickens and they make great compost.
    Thanks,
    Will

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,784

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    They take of compost, rotting fruits/veggies, there's no reason they'd go to a hive. They get in our worm bins all the time and help break stuff down. They're not gross or anything either.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Huntersville, NC
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    That is what I am thinking in terms of them not being attracted to the hive, and as Hawkster said, the bees guard the hive and will work to keep the BSF out if she shows up. I thought that I would ask because the number of eggs that one fly can lay is tremendous.

    I hear that they will over-run worms if they are in the same compost pile unless the worms can go deep down. This is because they work so aggressively that they heat up the compost pile to a temperature that the worms can't take. They also displace house flies which is an added advantage. Lastly, they will decompose the chicken guts when processing the chickens.
    Thanks,
    Will

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    Got a solution to horse and deer flies??

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    Hate to sound old fashioned or negative but the flies sound like one of the suggestions you find in a book written by someone who has never actually raised chickens.
    As GOLDPROSPECTOR said free range is the way to go or possibly one of those "chicken tractors" (movable coops)
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,766

    Default Re: Bees, Chickens and Black Soldier Flys

    I am guilty of raising some mealworms for my chickens, on wheat bran with potato or apple slices for moisture, in an old 4 drawer plastic bin thing.

    But I am NOT hanging a dead beaver carcass over a bucket in my chicken pen. Flies show up anyway, on chicken manure. Chickens eat them, and every other bug. Works out. They like wax moth larva too.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

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