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19 May 2017 Cold Hardiness of the Black Soldier Fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae)
Thomas Spranghers, Annelies Noyez, Kristof Schildermans, Patrick De Clercq
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The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), shows potential as a resource for animal feed. However, industrial production in regions where the insect is not native, like northwestern Europe, could lead to permanent establishment, which might entail environmental risks. In temperate climates, establishment depends on the insect's ability to overwinter. This study assessed the insect's cold hardiness by determining the supercooling point (SCP) and lower lethal time at 5 °C (LTime10,50,90) for different life stages. As diet or acclimation can influence cold hardiness, prepupae reared on different substrates and acclimated prepupae were tested in separate experiments. The SCP ranged from –7.3 °C for late-instar larvae to –13.7 °C for pupae. Prepupae reared on a highly nutritional substrate had a lower SCP compared with a control diet composed of chicken feed (–14.1 °C vs. –12.4 °C, respectively), whereas the SCP was unaffected by acclimation. Based on the LTime, prepupae and pupae were the most cold hardy life stages. Acclimated prepupae were most cold tolerant, with a LTime50 of 23 d. Based on an empirical relationship between LTime50 and field survival of various arthropods, it was predicted that H. illucens would survive about 47 d in the field during northwestern European winters. The results from this laboratory study suggest that H. illucens is rather unlikely to overwinter in northwestern Europe. However, caution is warranted given that diet and acclimation can influence the insect's cold hardiness and in the field the insect may survive in a diapausing state or in protected hibernacula.

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Thomas Spranghers, Annelies Noyez, Kristof Schildermans, and Patrick De Clercq "Cold Hardiness of the Black Soldier Fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae)," Journal of Economic Entomology 110(4), 1501-1507, (19 May 2017).
Received: 6 November 2016; Accepted: 30 April 2017; Published: 19 May 2017

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