Entomology - Flies and maggots

Can anyone think of a better way to spend a day than breeding maggots.

It's really hot, so I thought I'd stick some dead fish out in the sun.

I've always wanted to breed black soldier fly to feed to my silver perch. Black soldier fly are great, because they turn masses of meat and vegetable scraps into fish food in the form of maggots. The adult fly doesn't actually eat for the fly part of it's life, so unlike the common housefly, there's none of the paddling around in sewage, then strutting they fly style all over your food. Not to mention all the regurgitating they do.

So Black soldier fly, good. House fly bad.

I haven't had any luck with black soldier fly, so I'm going to try house flies.

Oh well. It wont be the first time I've taken a wrong path.

The common housefly is only called common by it's friends. It's real name is Musca domestica.

Everything will be fine. I'll keep a close eye on it, and as long as I collect the larvae I shouldn't see any more flies around than I would normally.

So I thought I'd make a collector. It might even act as a trap, and reduce the number of flies I see around the place. That's how optimistic one man can be.

One of the cool things about maggots, is they try to walk away from their gooey feeding area to somewhere dry to wait out their metamorphosis. What this means is, you can build a ramp out of their feed, and they will walk up it. Then if you design it so they walk out of the feeding area and into a container they become self harvesting*.

It's even possible to have them fall directly into your fish tank, but the problem with that, is that you cant tell how much feed your system is getting.

So I thought I'd make a quick test device to see how it works.

I started with a soft drink bottle.

I drank the soft drink first. It's hot.

Then cut the top off.

For some reason I used green so you wouldn't be able to see.

I cut the top off a second bottle to use as the exit point. This one was cut at an angle so I could mount it pointing down, so the beasties drop out into my collector.

Then I added a tube in such a way as to create a spiral ramp. The maggots will walk up this ramp to the top where they will find an exit hole.

They walk on the tube, not in the tube.

The reason they'll find the ramp, is because they just wonder off in a straight line from where they are when they decide to move on to their next life as a fly.

When they hit a wall, they pick a direction, and follow it around. If they go the wrong way they wont get out, but if the go the right way, they just start heading up the ramp.

I presume they get bored and change direction if they get it wrong.

I taped it all up with office tape, using the green top as a funnel.

The flies will enter at the top, maggots will grow on the bait, then climb the ramp and fall into a pot of disgusting breakfast cereal I found in the pantry, that must belong to Mrs 120 things in 20 years.

That's one of my dead silver perch I've added as bait.

I meant to do an autopsy on it to see if I could figure out why it died, but never got around to it.

It's been sitting in the bottom of my freezer in a body (sandwich) bag, but should make the perfect fly attractor.

Hmmm stinky.

*this isn't my design by the way, it's all over the net. I don't know who invented it, but if I ever find out I'll come back and edit this to credit them.

120 Things in 20 years, exploring the potentially smelly with Entomology - Flies and maggots

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