One of our readers sent us a picture of a black segmented worm. Her request was one we receive frequently: “Can you please tell me what this is?” We are happy to oblige!
We immediately recognize the creature in the photograph as a black soldier fly larva. We often refer to these creatures as BSFL because black soldier fly larva is quite a mouthful, or rather a handful to type out! BSFL mature into black soldier flies, which are common and widespread, and are not considered pests or vector species (species that carry diseases). BSFL are excellent decomposers. They can easily break down organic substrates and return nutrients to the soil and the environment. For these reasons, black soldier fly larvae are often used to increase the efficiency of a compost bin or pile. They have large appetites, chowing down on household food scraps as well as agricultural waste products. They play a very similar role to red wrigglers as far as decomposition goes.
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Our reader didn’t mention where she found this creature. We aren’t sure if she saw it outside and took a photo because she was curious about it, or if she found it in her home and wrote us out of concern. If the latter is true, she doesn’t have anything to worry about. Like we wrote above, BSFL aren’t pests or vector species. If she found this creature in her home, it is probably feeding on a decaying organic substance. She should empty all of the trash receptacles in her home, and make sure the containers themselves are clean. The larvae could have ended up in her home by any various means. As long as she doesn’t continue to find BSFL in her home she shouldn’t stress out about the appearance of this one.
In summary, a reader sent us a photo and asked us what the creature in it was. We are confident that it is a black soldier fly larva!
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