We have a new and unusual product at the shop: dried grubs, also called black soldier fly larvae. We sell these grubs as nutritious treats for backyard chickens. Each 8oz container contains snacks with 45% protein, 35% fat, 8% fiber and 3% calcium! These grubs were locally raised in Asheville on spent brewery grain and post-consumer food waste, and hand-delivered to us by Danny’s Dumpster.
What is a black soldier fly (BSF)? Hermetia ilucens are native to North America, and most commonly found in the Southeast. If you live here in Asheville, there is a good chance you've seen one before. These shiny black flies resemble a wasp, but are harmless: they don't bite, sting, or transmit diseases (unlike the common house fly). A BSF will spend most of its life in the grub stage and just one week as an adult fly. The larvae are brown and approximately a half-inch in length.
For those of you dedicated to DIY projects, creating a backyard BSF compost system is simple and will provide you with a daily supply of grubs for your livestock and serve as a natural garbage disposal! Unlike other backyard compost systems, a BSF bin can compost hard-to-dispose-of organic waste (such as meat, fish, and bread) at an astonishingly fast rate! If you can stomach it, here’s an impressive time-lapse video on how grub composting can turn dead fish into excellent edible proteins in hours. The larvae can eat three to four times their body weight in organic waste per day, in other words, a standard 5 gallon bin can handle 2.5 pounds of food each day! Because material is composted with such speed, the byproduct is sludge, often anaerobic, and containing potentially harmful bacteria. So, while you won't be harvesting 'black gold,' you will be supplied with an abundance of grubs and a compost system that can convert waste in a matter of hours.
To learn more about how to raise black soldiers flies check out this site on homemade black soldier fly bins. Commercial bins also exist. We recommend the BioPod Plus from Compost Mania, and you can purchase one from Garden Tea Company, located right here in WNC. If you are (understandably) not interested in raising fly larvae in your backyard, stop in the shop to pick up a container of dried grubs for your hens, they will love you for it!