BSFL or black soldier fly larva are some of the best feeder insects available for your reptile. They are my go-to feeder for my giant day gecko. They are very easy to care for, extremely nutritious and can provide some great environmental enrichment when they turn into flies!
Watch the video below!
ALL BSFL are not made the same!
There are many different brands of black soldier fly larvae but the only brand I can recommend is Phoenix Worm.
Phoenix Worm feeds their BSFL an enriched grain-based diet which causes the larvae to be very high in calcium. You may be able to find other brands you are satisfied with but always I stick with Phoenix Worms
Why Choose BSFL?
Black soldier fly larvae produced by Phoenix Worm are a far superior feeder than most of the other common feeders available. The main reason for the difference is their nutritional makeup as you can see in the chart below.
BSFL (especially from Phoenix Worm) have a VERY high calcium to phosphorus ratio. This means you are not required to dust them before feeding!
You also do not have to gut load them. They can survive for weeks inside the tub you purchase them in. When I say you don’t have to gut load… I really mean— don’t gut load! Guting loading can cause your colony to die off and rot inside the container.
Ideally, you keep your container of BSFL at a temperature of around 50-60°F as this will slow down their life cycle considerably. In the winter months I keep my container on a window sill (it is very cold where I live) and in the summer I don’t worry about it. i.e. I just deal with the quicker life cycle.
Feeding BSFL to your Animal
When you first open your container of Phoenix Worm’s you’ll think: “what? the container is empty?” but if you dig around you will find plenty of worms!
Here is what one looks like up close:
When I am getting ready to feed my animal I dig out about 8-12 worms (larvae) and place them in a glass dish. The larvae don’t move around a ton but they do wriggle around enough to draw the attention of my gecko (and yours too probably).
And again, no need to dust with powdered supplements so once I have removed them from the container the feed dish can go directly into the enclosure!
Ruby loves these things!
Can you Feed Black Soldier Flies to Your Animal?
So, what happens when the larvae start to pupate?
Eventually (if you don’t go through your colony fast enough), the larvae will begin to pupate. BSF pupae look like this:
They are stiff, black, cacoon looking things. They still have essentially the same nutritional value as the larvae but they don’t move! Therefore, your animal will likely not eat them.
But, that doesn’t mean they are useless! When the larvae enter this phase of their life it means they are getting ready to metamorphose into the adult form: the black soldier fly!
Black soldier flies are great to feed your animal as it forces them to really hunt which is very fun to watch (click the video to see that in action). Every few days I collect any pupae I find in the BSFL container and I chuck them into the soil of my giant day gecko enclosure.
Over the next few weeks (sometimes months) the pupae will complete their life cycle and you’ll find a fly buzzing around the enclosure. Usually, they have fairly short lives… it typically takes my gecko about 3-5 minutes to grab them.
Watch the video below to watch a giant day gecko hunt down some black soldier flies!