Black Soldier Fly – Insects to Save the World

Impossible You Say? Lets Find Out!

In our first blog (SoldierFly.com Taking Flight) Devon mentioned that black soldier flies can potentially save lives. Today’s post will be our first look at how these little insects (BSF) can fix big problems.

Did you know the world’s population is increasing? This is something I’d always heard but not until starting this project did I fully understand the ramifications. The UN believes, by 2050, the world’s population will increase by 30% to over 9.7 billion inhabitants. This increase in people means we will demand more food to keep the world properly nourished. No problem, right? We can just grow more corn, raise more chickens, catch more fish… If only it were that easy.

Today, over 815 million people are malnourished or food insecure, yet in three decades the world will demand 60% more food than we currently produce. If we can’t feed everyone today; how will we possibly tomorrow?

Commercial fishing
Advancement of commercial fishing technology

For decades it was assumed that our oceans contained an endless supply of marine life. However, as technology has advanced; we have become extremely efficient at harvesting fish from all corners of the world. According to WorldWildLife.org, more than 30% of the worlds fisheries have been over fished and are in need of strict management to restore them. If we can’t rely on the ocean to support this population growth where do we turn?

What if I told you the answer may be in the food that we already produce?

The United States alone, produces 450 billion pounds of food every year, of that, approximately 133 billion pounds goes uneaten. This waste is often disposed in landfills where it decomposes and produces greenhouse gases. (Think carbon dioxide and methane) National Geographic ran an article recently that studied the disposal of waste food from around the world. Their conclusion: If food waste were a country it would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gasses behind China and the US. So, what can we do about it?

Currently, less than 3% of food waste is recovered or recycled. This is true mainly because, to date, there is no economical way to recover these nutrients. The answer may be black soldier flies and their ability to efficiently convert organic waste into sustainable sources of nutrients for pet feeds, aquaculture and agricultural feeds.

BSF larvae convert roughly 20% of organic food waste into larval mass. Once grown, the larvae are harvested and made into many unique products. We will talk more about these products and their uses in future blogs, but the industry is mainly focused on the “meal” made from the soldier fly larvae. The hope is this meal will supplement/relieve stress on the fish meal we use to grow our chickens, fish, etc…. According to AgriProtein, when their soldier fly meal is substituted for fish meal, every ton of BSF meal used allows three tons of fish to remain in the oceans.

Currently, a large portion of the fish caught from the oceans is processed and made into a fish meal. Fish meal is an inexpensive source of protein often incorporated into agricultural feeds and then fed to hogs, chickens, fish, etc. Today’s generation is writing checks that tomorrows oceans can’t cash, and we need to be working on alternatives. How great would it be if we could use a stream of waste which is an environmental liability, to help relieve stress from our oceans?

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