So you just received your BSF egg jar! And now you're wondering what to do next. Here are some steps I did, even when I didn't have everything ready.
When Egg Jar First Arrived
The first thing I did, honestly... was take some photos :) Really excited for its arrival. From that time on, I didn't open the lid just yet. And just like every person who's been on a long trip with bumps and bounces, I let it sit there and rest. This is partly, as you could say, to let it adapt to the new environment a bit.
Looking closely, very closely at the jar I could see those tiny movements and also in tiny piles. Truly fascinating like a little wonder in a box. My larvae have hatched at the time of arrival. And luckily for me, it seemed there was no egg clumping or rotting during the shipping process. So that's a good point.
There were some crawling on the side of the jar but most of them gathered at the bottom. I guess this is where it's darkest and has the most foods.
The Next Day
After the rest, I prepared 4 food containers for them:
- Shrimp waste
- Cheese bun
I didn't prepare these in advance but just grabbed what was available at that time. I also wanted to see how well they would do on different foodstuff. It was not a lot to make because I ordered 10 grams of egg.
I carefully took out the cotton swab (with the bsf larvae on) and dab them gently on each food tray.
For the remaining stuff at the bottom, I poured it out all in the shrimp. Then closed the lid. There was still some left on the cotton, but I didn't bother to pluck everything out. I put it back to the jar that came.
The synthetic cotton is a bit hard to separate as there may be some fibers sticking around and larvae can't eat this stuff. May be next time I will recommend the seller to use natural cotton. However, this jar is great!
But if at this point, you don't want/need to test which food is good, all you need to do at this stage is open the lid and lay the jar in the feed box or somewhere adjacent to it. When larvae hatch, they will move out and fall down on the feed. In a document, they call this a shower of larvae.
Some Mistakes Of Mine
#1. Pulling the Cotton In & Out
I realized pulling the cotton out and dabbing may not be the best idea. Because when you pull it out, there may be some eggs, little hatchlings or the rice bran dropping here and there. You just don't know which because they are so small and may have similar color. This could lead to loss in number as they may be scattered out of your growing area. So one thing I recommend here is to gather them in one place and let the larvae do the work moving out.
#2. Closing Lid Too Tightly
Secondly, I closed the lid too tightly. This is visible by the water droplets condensed under the lid the next day I visited them. And the little cream larvae moving out of the small black containers. I even wrapped cling wrap around the bigger container that held those trays to partly keep ants away and the anticipated bad smell contained. Surely this is too much protection and a beginner's over-protective syndrome. I then replaced them lids with breathable cloth.
#3. Some Impatience
Some impatience kicked in on that day as I was not seeing many larvae growing. But spotting some bigger ones moving did give me some hope. I did think may be the supplier gave me fewer eggs as I didn't weigh it at all. But trust the process, practicing patience is key here. And the results in the next few days might just surprise you.
Guess which one was their favorite out of the four...??
For some reason, it was the smelliest, nastiest shrimp waste!!!
What we started with on Sunday:
What we ended up with in a few days:
I was surprised. Because at first, I was only intending to make three foods–the bread, the fish and the jackfruit. The shrimp was intended for my bokashi bucket nearby. But I grabbed it in however.
And guess which one was the least favorite out of the four...??
Unexpectedly, the nicest-smelling, least yucky cheese bun that humans (me) love but larvae don't! May be I didn't put enough larvae in there. So this result may have been screwed and not conclusive. Or may be the bread is not that appealing to them. Anyway, for the next batch I'll definitely be looking for some shrimp waste to put in.
If I remember anything else, I'll tell you and share them here.
Hope this post has given you some idea to get started. Good luck & Have fun!
Some relevant links are:
- 'How to Incubate BSF Eggs': https://zenyrgarden.com/how-to-incubate-black-soldier-fly-eggs/
- 'Why Are My Black Soldier Fly Larvae Escaping': https://zenyrgarden.com/why-are-my-black-soldier-fly-larvae-escaping/
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