By Alicia Alexander, IPM Intern
The black soldier fly is a common, widespread and harmless fly. These flies are primarily black and slender like a wasp but they do not sting. Photos of adults are available here on Bugguide. Black soldier flies don’t have functioning mouthparts. Therefore they do not bite nor will they be a pest trying to get to your food. The fly’s only goal is to reproduce. Black soldier flies usually deposit their egg masses in unsanitary conditions such as moist rotting food and other decaying matter. Each egg mass contains about 500 eggs. The eggs incubate for three to four weeks then hatch into a legless wingless cream-colored larva. The larva goes through six instars while feeding on organic matter. As they mature they turn a dark reddish brown color.
The larvae of the black soldier fly can be very beneficial. They’ve been used for manure management, compositing, controlling houseflies, and used as feeders. They can consume large quantities of waste. When used for manure management they help reduce the environmental damage of having too much manure and then can be sold as feeders for lizards, fish, and other animals. The harvested pupae are high in calcium. The black soldier fly larva will discourage houseflies and other fly species from developing and becoming a nuisance in the area.
Black soldier flies do not bite or sting and they are not vectors of any human diseases.