News, Western Australia

Maggots make the most of organic waste

It’s a hard life being a black soldier fly (BSF) – first as maggots/larvae you’re put through the wringer breaking down organic waste, then before you reach adulthood, you’re turned into poultry feed.

Laura Bell was the runner-up in the 2020 Agrifutures Rural Woman Awards, and is the founder of Waste Not Food Recycling, a company that is making its mark farming BSFs in Broome, WA.

Bell came across the BSF-as-a-feed-and-food-waste solution by accident and instantly understood the usefulness of domesticating them. The BSF farming mirrors nature’s ecosystem by using insects to recycle waste into fertilisers and feeds.

Waste Not Food Recycling is currently at the pilot stage and hopes to be up and running soon. Products it will offer to the wider WA community include a commercial food waste collection service, live maggots/larvae, worm castings, seed larvae and larval protein meal.

On the company’s website, Bell spruiks the other benefits of farming BSFs.

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“Aside from the larval biomass, another by-product is the ‘frass,” she said. “The frass comprises the larval castings (poop) and any residual organic waste. It can be composted or fed into a worm-farm to produce a nutrient balanced, organic fertiliser. Alternatively, it can be fed into an anaerobic digestor to generate energy.”

The company is planning on using worm-farming to turn it into a nutrient-balanced, microbe-rich, organic fertiliser.

In a recent interview with the ABC, Bell said that there are several other outcomes that are positive using the BSF.

“There’s no biosecurity concerns, so people don’t need to be worried about introducing some kind of new pest,” she said. “No-one was utilising BSFs up here, even though we’ve got the perfect climate for them and while we might not be a massive metropolitan city, we still have the issue with waste.”

Bell is urging the Broome community to help her domesticate the local black soldier fly stock and hopes to create a network of fly farms throughout WA.