The Benefits of Black Soldier Fly Larvae for Reptiles
Black Soldier Fly Larvae are an excellent feeder bug for any reptile or animal that eats insects! They have a good amount of protein, aren’t too high in fat, and are softer and easier to digest than some other feeders like mealworms. Their most important feature though is their naturally high calcium content!
Animals need a diet that contains about twice as much calcium as it does phosphorus to prevent health problems like Metabolic Bone Disease. Most insects contain much more phosphorus than they do calcium, which is why we use calcium supplements. Black Soldier Fly Larvae, however, have a perfect ratio of 2:1 calcium to phosphorus! Variety is still important, you can’t feed any single bug exclusively, but Black Soldier Fly Larvae are a great food to include in your pet’s diet.
Black Soldier Fly Larvae are also incredibly easy to care for since they can be kept at room temperature, don’t technically need to be fed but can be for faster growth and gut-loading purposes, and will stay in their larval form for about two weeks after purchase. If you don’t want them to turn into flies, simply use them up in that timeframe. The darker they get, the closer they are to pupating, so feed those off first. If you let them pupate and hatch into flies though, they make an interesting new challenge for your pet!
To hatch soldier flies, feed the larvae pet safe vegetables like carrots until they reach the pupal stage, where they turn very dark and stop moving. About 10 days later, you should see long, black flies start to emerge. These flies look slightly wasp-like but don’t worry, they don’t have stingers or even mouths! You can put them in the fridge for a few minutes to slow the flies down and make it easier to move them to your pet’s enclosure, but even without doing this, these flies are much easier to catch than houseflies and once they land you can typically pick them up by hand. On the off chance that a few of them escape, don’t worry about them breeding and infesting your home, they are unlikely to find the specific conditions they need to breed in the average home.