Looking to use BSFLs as feeders for your pet reptile? This article will tell you whether bearded dragons eat dried black soldier fly larvae or live ones.
Black soldier fly larvae are known to be excellent animal feeds for their rich protein and moisture content.
If you have a pet reptile like a bearded dragon, you must know that they require a lot of protein, calcium, and moisture to grow healthy.
Are dried BSFLs a good feeding option for our beardies? Let us find out.
What are Black Soldier Flies?
Adult black soldier flies get their names from their shiny black bodies, which give them a wasp-like appearance.
However, these little insects are quite different from the stinging wasps; the flies have only two wings instead of four.
Also, these flies do not possess a stinger like wasps and bees.
Adult soldier flies grow to about 0.59-0.78 inches in length and is usually spotted near decaying organic matter.
Significant populations of these adult flies can be found across South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
These insects are extremely useful during the larval stage as they are an excellent source of protein with essential amino acids.
They are also commonly used as bird feed on poultry farms.
The larva is also great at handling organic waste; people often add these larvae to compost bins for effective waste management.
What Is the Nutritional Content of Black Soldier Flies?
As mentioned earlier, black soldier flies are a rich source of crude protein. You will be fascinated to know that dried soldier flies have up to 50% high-grade protein.
They are also laced with essential amino acids like histidine, leucine, lysine, and valine.
The black soldier fly larva is an excellent source of protein.
However, there’s more to them than that; they are also packed with essential amino acids like lysine, leucine, valine, and histidine.
These insects are also filled with vitamins B1, B2, and C.
That is not all black soldier flies are also a rich source of calcium, sodium, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese.
Can Beardies Eat Dried BSFL?
Yes, bearded dragons can consume dried black soldier flies. The flies have excellent calcium content, which is beneficial for bearded dragons.
They also have a decent water content to keep your bearded dragons hydrated.
How Many BSFL Can You Feed Bearded Dragons?
Dried black soldier fly larvae are an excellent choice for bearded dragon feed, however, you must know the right feeding quantities.
Increasing or decreasing this quantity can cause problems for your pet reptile.
You can let the adult bearded dragons eat as many dried larvae as they want for 10-15 minutes.
The babies can be fed black soldier fly larvae anytime.
How Many Times a Day Can You Feed BSFL to Your Beardie?
You let the adults go on an all-out feeding frenzy for 10-15 minutes twice a week.
The little ones need to have insects at least 2-3 times a day. Feed various other insects, like mealworms, but make sure to add dried black soldier fly larvae.
In What Form Can You Feed BSFL to Bearded Dragons?
Black soldier fly larvae can be found in two forms, dried and alive. There are specific pros and cons to each type. Let us take a look.
Live larvae are rich in water content and will help to keep the beardie hydrated.
Around 65% of the BSFL’s body content is water, and bearded dragons get a lot of moisture from their food sources.
However, you cannot store them for long.
Since bearded dragons consume a lot of insects while growing up, you need to feed them regularly.
If you want to go live with BSFL, you must keep purchasing them regularly.
Dried BSFLs are comparatively less nutritious than live larvae.
Also, since they are dried, the moisture content is comparatively much less. This can be a point of concern.
However, dried black soldier larvae have a greater shelf life than live larvae. You do not need to purchase fresh ones frequently if you go for the dried ones.
Precautions to Take When Feeding BSFL to Beardies
Yes, BSFLs are an excellent food source for bearded dragons.
They provide sufficient protein and balanced calcium to help the reptile have a balanced diet as they grow.
However, these larvae have high-fat percentages, which can make your beloved reptile obese.
You do not need to worry about overfeeding BSFL to juvenile bearded dragons as they have a high metabolism and use a sustainable source for growth.
However, continuously feeding mature adults with BSFL can make them obese. If you notice any signs of obesity in your bearded dragon, lower the dose of BSFL.
Other Insects That Your Beardie Can Eat
If you do not want to go with black soldier fly larvae as the feed for your reptile, you can try these options:
Dubia roaches are an excellent source of protein. Unlike BSFL, these insects are low in fat. These insects also contain a good balance of other crucial nutrients.
Hornworms have a high water content, and if they are mixed with Dubia roaches, they can give great results.
Other insects, like super worms, waxworms, mealworms, crickets, butter worms, and silkworms, have good amounts of protein, moisture, and calcium to keep the reptiles healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can bearded dragons eat dead black soldier fly larvae?
Dried black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) are less nutritious than live larvae due to lower moisture content.
However, they have a longer shelf life and don’t need to be purchased as frequently as fresh ones.
Are black soldier fly larvae a good staple for bearded dragon?
Black soldier flies are a rich source of crude protein, with up to 50% protein in dried form.
They contain essential amino acids like histidine, leucine, lysine, and valine.
The larva is an excellent source of protein and also contains vitamins B1, B2, and C, as well as minerals such as calcium, sodium, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese.
Are black soldier fly larvae harmful?
The larva and adult soldier fly are harmless.
The Hermetia illucens species is known as a filth fly due to its breeding in manure and garbage, but its larva feeds on decaying organic material and can be beneficial in manure and compost piles.
They may also infest animal carcasses and bee combs. They are being sold for use in containers to decompose kitchen waste.
What are the disadvantages of black soldier fly larvae?
The black soldier fly has a disadvantage for biodegradation as it requires a warm environment that may be difficult to sustain in temperate climates.
The duration of its life cycle also varies depending on factors such as diet and temperature.
However, using feeds based on black soldier fly larvae can provide additional marketing opportunities for farmers in aquaculture, as some customers are opposed to the use of fishmeal in feeds.
Black soldier fly larvae are an excellent food source for your bearded dragons. These larvae are filled with essential nutrients like proteins, fats, calcium, and other necessary minerals.
Also, they have a high water content to give the right amount of moisture to the beardies.
However, you have to be careful with the quantity of BSFL; otherwise, the beardies might get obese.
You can also look for other insects mentioned in the article for your beardie feed. Thank you for reading the article.
Over the years, we have received emails from several bearded dragon owners asking our advice on whether BSFLs would be appropriate as feeders for them.
Please go through some of the doubts and questions that they had, and our answers below. It might cover something that we have missed in the article itself.
Letter 1 – Black Soldier Fly
I just found your site, while trying to identify this fly we found in our house. It looks like a mydas fly from your other pictures, however this has distinctive black and white legs…any ideas?
This is actually the Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens. They DO resemble mydas flies at first glance.
Letter 2 – Black Soldier Fly Larva
What is this? Location: Missouri October 11, 2010 6:13 pm I found this inching across the floor of our shop. I work on a golf course at Lake Ozark ,MO. DO you know what it is? Signature: Tina Hi Tina, This appears to be a Black Soldier Fly Larva, Hermetia illucens, which you may compare to this photo on BugGuide. According to BugGuide, the: “Larvae live in compost, dung, rotting vegetation” so if there is some manure in the vicinity for keeping the greens well fertilized, the larvae may be reproducing there. This is a beneficial insect.
Letter 3 – Soldier Fly
Subject: Black flying insect Geographic location of the bug: Daytona beach Fl Date: 08/07/2018 Time: 01:17 PM EDT Your letter to the bugman: Found this in my home looked online found nothing seems like a carpenter bee How you want your letter signed: Trevor Dear Trevor, This is a Solder Fly, and we believe, because of the white legs, that it is a harmless Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens, but we have never had to ID one from a ventral view. ResearchGate has a ventral view.
Letter 4 – Soldier Fly
Subject: Anthropod Classification Geographic location of the bug: United States, Florida Date: 03/24/2019 Time: 10:47 PM EDT Your letter to the bugman: Hi, I had to take pictures of anthropods I could find in my yard and classify the bugs for my zoology class. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is. I took the picture in my front yard and I am located in Florida. I appreciate any help you could offer me. Thank you in advance! How you want your letter signed: Willow Orr Dear Willow, Based on this BugGuide image, we believe this is a Soldier Fly in the genus Hedriodiscus. According to BugGuide: “spp. are very difficult to ID and not all are valid.” An even closer visual match is the Soldier Fly Odontomyia cincta, also pictured on BugGuide. Though we are uncertain of the species, we are confident this is a Soldier Fly. ou are spot on! It is an Odontomyia cincta Soldier Fly. Thank you so much for respond, I appreciate the help!