A reader recently sent us a picture along with two questions. He asked, “What is this creature? How can I get rid of it?” The photograph is very clear and gives us a great view of the specimen. It has a thick, brown, segmented body. One end of its body is darker brown, and one end is lighter:
We can easily answer our reader’s first question: this is a black soldier fly larva! Black soldier fly larvae, a.k.a. Hermetia illucens or BSFL for short, aren’t considered pests since they don’t typically breed or cause damage, and they also aren’t vectors as they don’t carry or transmit human diseases. They are actually important decomposers that some people even buy and breed to use for composting or farming purposes! Despite this, they do occasionally end up inside homes, and luckily getting rid of them is relatively straightforward.
As decomposers, BSFL break down organic substrates and return nutrients to the environment. They primarily eat dead and decaying organic material. So, in order to get rid of BSFL in his home, our reader will need to locate and get rid of whatever the food source is that the larvae are feeding on. He didn’t specify where he found this larva, but we suggest he start looking for the food source near the location of discovery. Common places to find these larvae are trash cans, rotting food, and compost bins. Once he finds and removes the food source, he should clean the area surrounding it. If he found it in the trash can, he should wash the actual trash can in addition to emptying it. These extra cleaning efforts will ensure that there is no more decaying organic material that future larvae would be attracted to.
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To wrap up, one of our readers discovered a black soldier fly larva. The best way to get rid of BSFL is to eliminate the food source and do some cleaning!