The BioPod is a rapid composting bin that attracts flies - not your typical annoying household fly, but specifically the black soldier fly. It was originally designed for urban food waste and has gone through several modifications. A side benefit to the BioPod is that it produces soldier grubs for chickens. I first read about it in my chicken book, and I'm still not sure I completely understand how it works. You can read more about it here and here.
Any table scraps can be put in the BioPod. The decomposing food attracts flies which lay eggs that produce larvae. The larvae feed on the decomposing food which accelerates the process. When the larvae mature they naturally seek high ground. The BioPod takes advantage of this and has a built in ramp where they crawl up and then fall into a collection bucket. If left in the bucket, the larvae would complete their cycle and turn into flies. But instead, the larvae are emptied from the bucket daily and fed to my chickens.
The instructions suggested putting in five pounds of vegetable scraps the first time. This is because it takes a few weeks to get the composting going and isn't able to compost table scraps that include meat and bones. Once the larvae are established, they can decompose anything. The obstacle in my mind was having five pounds of vegetable scraps at one time. But when I peeled the 10 pounds of potatoes the other day I thought it would be a good time to get started.
Yesterday I was able to feed my chickens about 50 grubs, and today there were about 100. Not many, but a good start. Protein for my chicks. They love them.
|The set up instructions were easy.|
|I have set the BioPod next to the chicken coop.|
|There are two lids for access.|
|In addition to the potato peels, I cleaned out the fridge and added all sorts of scraps.|
|The scraps filled up the bottom of the BioPod.|
|The instructions suggested putting a cardboard box on top to discourage the wrong kind of flies.|
|After a couple of weeks, the food is unrecognizable and just a brown mass.|
|Once established the larvae can handle bigger scraps.|
|There are so many larvae that the mass bubbles and pops and moves - a bit like Rice Krispies when you pour on milk.|
|The mature larvae crawl up the ramp and fall through an opening into the collection bucket.|
|The larvae can't crawl out of the collection bucket.|
|Here's a closer look at the larvae.|
|The larvae are about an inch long.|