The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), is a nonpest tropical and warm-temperate region insect that is useful for managing large concentrations of animal manure and other biosolids. Manure management relying on wild fly oviposition has been successful in several studies. However, confidence in this robust natural system was low and biological studies were hampered by the lack of a dependable source of eggs and larvae. Larvae had been reared easily by earlier investigators, but achieving mating had been problematic. We achieved mating reliably in a 2 by 2 by 4-m screen cage in a 7 by 9 by 5-m greenhouse where sunlight and adequate space for aerial mating were available. Mating occurred during the shortest days of winter if the sun was not obscured by clouds. Adults were provided with water, but no food was required. Techniques for egg collection and larval rearing are given. Larvae were fed a moist mixture of wheat bran, corn meal, and alfalfa meal. This culture has been maintained for 3 yr. Maintainance of a black soldier fly laboratory colony will allow for development of manure management systems in fully enclosed animal housing and in colder regions.
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Vol. 39 • No. 4