Looking for a highly nutritious feeder insect that also keeps for a long time? Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) fit the bill! These delicious bugs are easy to keep and feed!
Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae are a great feeder for a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds, and invertebrates. They are native to North America and act as decomposers – in the southern United States, it’s common to find them in and around compost piles, where their larvae help break down organic material. Eggs are laid on the surface and hatch in about 4 days. The larvae then burrow into the ground and feed until they pupate and emerge as adult flies.
High in calcium, these larvae are also known in the trade as Phoenix Worms, ReptiWorms, and CalciWorms. Josh’s Frogs sells black soldier fly larvae in 50, 250, and 1000 counts that are immediately ready to feed to your pets on arrival. We carry extra small, small, medium, and large size larvae.
Extra Small Black Soldier Fly Larvae measure about 1/8″ in length. Small Black Soldier Fly Larvae measure about 1/4″ in length. Medium Black Soldier Fly Larvae measure approximately 1/4″-1/2″ and make perfect feeders for smaller species or young animals. Large BSFL measure approximately 1/2″-3/4″, and make perfect feeders for bearded dragons, chameleons, leopard geckos, fat tail geckos, and many insectivorous invertebrates.
Feed soldier fly larvae with tongs, or in a dish. Be careful not to allow solder fly larvae to escape the dish – the larvae will burrow and pupate into adult flies. Josh’s Frogs No Escape bowls do not allow the black soldier flies to climb over the rim, and are a great way to feed them to your pets.
You can also try mixing the larvae in a dish with other foods your critter is already used to eating, such as salad, prepared dry foods, or even other feeder insects. After your pet recognizes that BSFL are a prey item, they typically go crazy for them.
BSFL last a LONG time, especially if you can keep them at the proper temperature. At 55F, we have larvae that easily last 4-6 weeks before they start to pupate. When they do so, they'll turn dark black, which is a great sign to feed those off to your pet first. That's right - these feeder bugs warn you when they're starting to expire! When they do pupate, they are perfectly safe to feed, and actually higher in calcium! Keep in mind that keeping these in the fridge will kill them. If unable to keep them at 55F, they can be kept at room temperature, though they are unlikely to stay at the larval stage as long.
Like MREs, BSFL are also highly nutritious. They have the highest calcium concentration of any common feeder insect. They are also very high in protein and many amino acids (especially lysine). Black soldier fly larvae also contain omega-3 fatty acids, and even lauric acid (which can at as a natural antiparasitic). They make a great treat or staple feeder for many insectivorous or omnivorous reptiles and amphibians.
So what are you waiting for? If you're looking for a feeder insect that won't arrive dead, is easy to store for long periods of time, and is actually a healthy addition to your pet's diet, order up some BSFL today!