KANSAS CITY (B)--Black soldier flies may be a solution to the problem of how to dispose of excess manure at hog and poultry farms, according to a story in the Western Livestock Journal. University of Georgia entomologist Craig Sheppard said in the story that the flies could consume tons of manure and then be turned into a high-protein food for livestock.

The fly is harmless and lays its eggs in the manure. The larval stage of the fly, the maggot, eats the stuff, leaving half of the bulk with a lot less nitrogen. At the end of the larval stage, Sheppard has shown that the flies can essentially harvest themselves by crawling up a ramp and falling into a collection area.

At that point, they can be fed directly to hogs or processed into oil and protein meal similar to fishmeal, which is then used to feed catfish, livestock and poultry.

The story said a large collection system can produce 58 short tons of larvae in five months that can make a feed additive that is 42% protein and 35% fat.

The system still has a few bugs to work out, Sheppard said in the WLJ article. The insects mate in sunlight and might not respond to artificial lights in a chicken house, so scientists still have to find the right light qualities.

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