Do you have an infestation of black soldier larvae in your house? We will share with you some ways in which you can get rid of them easily.
Just like houseflies and blowflies, you might have noticed black soldier flies buzzing around over a pile of trash.
Though originally only found in the Neotropics, black soldier flies are now cosmopolitan insects that are found in a wide range of habitats.
While seeing a bunch of their larvae in a compost pit isn’t fun (and we will discuss how to get rid of them), they’re actually harmless.
In fact, these insects can be quite beneficial! Let’s take a look at how.
What Are Black Soldier Fly Larvae?
Hermetia illucens, or the black soldier fly, is a medium-sized, black-bodied fly found across almost all continents of the world.
The adult female lays over 500 eggs at a time, which hatch into dull, white larvae.
The black soldier fly larvae are the first stage in the soldier fly’s life cycle.
The larvae are between 0.4 and 1 inch long and go through multiple instar stages before emerging as adults.
They have chewing mouthparts and are voracious feeders. They feed on any organic matter or food waste.
Today, these larvae are being raised to help recycle waste food.
They are also reared on agricultural farms as bird feed since their bodies contain more than 40% protein.
They remain in the larval stage for 14 days before becoming a pupa. Adults do not eat and rely on their existing fat stores for nutrition.
Are They Dangerous To Humans?
Black soldier flies, both as adults and as larvae, do not possess a stinger. Hence, they cannot sting humans.
Neither are any of the two poisonous. As such, they do not pose a threat to humans, pets, or livestock.
Consuming a black soldier fly, on the other hand, may place you at risk.
While they’re a good source of protein and widely considered edible insects, human consumption can be harmful depending on what the soldier flies feed on as larvae.
For flies that have not been blanched, scientists found various microbes as well as traces of arsenic, heavy metals, and other pesticides within their bodies.
There is also little knowledge of what reactions allergens from soldier flies may produce in humans.
However, traces of the allergens tropomyosin and myosin have been found in them (also found in crustaceans).
To ensure that your livestock remains safe, you should only feed them blanched larvae.
Do They Bite or Sting?
Black soldier flies do not bite or sting as larvae or as adults. However, adults produce a constant buzzing sound, which can be quite annoying.
In fact, adults don’t even have eating mouthparts, as they do not consume food and rely on stored fat.
They are also less active (in terms of flying) than regular houseflies due to their limited fat stores.
Are They Poisonous or Venomous?
Black soldier flies are not poisonous or venomous.
However, consuming a BSFL that earlier fed on heavy metals, arsenic, or similar toxic substances can, in turn, transfer these materials onto the host’s body.
Are Black Soldier Fly Larvae Useful?
Black soldier fly larvae are highly beneficial for the recycling and agricultural industries.
They help break down organic matter into compost, which can then be converted into fish feed, fertilizer, or poultry food.
Nutrition-wise, the larvae are rich in protein and have good amounts of amino acids, lipid content, and calcium. They’re a great addition to livestock food or poultry mixes.
How To Get Rid of Black Soldier Fly Larvae
If the flies are causing a menace in your garden, then there’s no option but to get rid of them. Here’s what you can do:
Get Rid of their Food Source
For long-term control, you need to eliminate two things:
- Their breeding source
- Their food source
If you have a compost pit or any place with collected organic matter, it could be a great breeding and feeding ground for these insects.
For larvae, you can simply handpick them out and boil them.
For adult flies, use a fly swatter. Alternatively, you can clear out the food source and wait a few days for the flies to die out or move away.
In general, try to keep your compost pile closed with a lid, and try to empty it bi-weekly.
Since the eggs take around four days to hatch, clearing the ground within them can break the life cycle chain.
As these insects form a part of animal feed, using chemicals is not advised since it introduces toxic substances into the food chain.
However, if absolutely necessary, you can use an insect spray that contains pyrethrins to kill both the larvae and the adults.
A less harmful alternative is spraying them with a strong vinegar mix. This is sure to kill the larvae, though it may not have the same effect on adults.
Black soldier flies aren’t harmful insects but they can be a menace if you find too many of them near your compost pit or chicken manure.
They lay several eggs, and finding their larvae all over the house is another problem that you might face.
Their population increases during the summer months, as that is when the flies mate.
You can follow our steps for getting rid of them, and remember to resort to natural means as far as possible.
Thank you for reading the article.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get rid of fly larvae in my house?
To get rid of black soldier fly larvae, eliminate their food source, which is usually compost or food waste.
Empty compost piles bi-weekly and clean the ground within four days to break the life cycle chain.
You can also pour boiling water on the larvae or use a fly swatter for adults.
Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, and you should be aware that pyrethrins can introduce toxic substances into the food chain.
Spray with a strong vinegar mix to kill larvae.
What kills soldier fly larvae?
The soldier fly can be controlled by locating and eliminating its breeding source.
The larvae themselves can be manually removed, and adult soldiers can be killed with a fly swatter or an aerosol insect spray containing pyrethrins.
Are black soldier fly larvae harmful to humans?
Black soldier flies are not poisonous or venomous, and they do not sting or bite.
They cannot harm humans, pets, or livestock. However, eating them can be unpredictable due to the toxicity levels of their food source as larvae.
There is also limited knowledge of the allergens they may transfer to a host’s body. Therefore, it is best to blanch any larvae that may be fed to livestock before consumption.
Are soldier flies harmful to people?
The larva of the soldier fly is a maggot-like creature commonly found in manure, garbage, decaying organic material, and compost piles.
Rather than being harmful, they are considered beneficial as they prey on other insects like house flies, and can be found in specially designed containers to quickly decompose kitchen waste.
They occasionally infest animal carcasses and may also be present after a bee’s nest has been exterminated.
Over the years, many of our readers have shared stories of how they found an entire infestation of black soldier fly larvae in their house.
We have always labored to tell them that these insects are harmless, but removing them is easy with the tips provided above.
Thank you for reading!