Where to locate soldier flies

Black Soldier Fly : Where do they live?

To be honest there isn’t much information on the Black Soldier Fly a.k.a. BSF just yet. We believe these incredible insects originated somewhere between the Central Americas and the Southern parts of the United States. Currently, there are scientists across the world working to answer this exact question. Professor Christine Picard at the Indiana University Purdue – Indianapolis and Dr. Christoph Sandrock of Switzerland, are teaming up hoping to use population genetic research to more accurately determine where the black soldier fly came from.

While we have not pinpointed the exact origin of the BSF yet, we do know where these little bugs are typically found.

The simple answer is anywhere hot. But it’s a little more complicated than that.

Black soldier flies have migrated around the world. They have naturalized in most countries or areas that fall in the temperate and tropical regions of the world. What exactly does that mean to those of us who aren’t geographically inclined? Basically, you can’t find a black soldier fly in the North or South Poll! (See Figure 1 for a visual). Really the only criteria for the BSF to establish is temperatures above 20°C (66°F) for more than a season or two.

Map of climates for BSF
Map of climates suitable for black solider flies.

While high humidity (>60%) is preferred it is not the most important factor for sustaining a colony. (We will discuss BSF’s relation to humidity in a future blog.)

You may then ask; how did they get all over the world?

Well like most flies, they moved with us, more specifically in or on what we brought with us. Soldier flies are naturally found in compost heaps and manure. During the World War II era and proceeding times people often moved things like fertilizers (i.e. the product of composting) without realizing they often housed other organisms. While this is speculation, in the near future we hope to trace the black solider flies’ origin and understand how they have migrated throughout the world.

We would love to know where you have seen black soldier flies! Please respond in the comments if you have found BSF in your country or a country you’ve visited.


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