My editor was turning our compost in the backyard bin when she discovered it was full of squiggly creatures. She identified them as black fly larvae, Hermetia illucens. While this was a new species to us, it is apparently a very common finding in compost piles that aren't turned frequently. Not only are they our friends, in many countries they are an industry.
Mating occurs two days after the flies emerge. The males will have a lekking site where they gather similar to prairie chickens and may attack competing males. They then fly up to grasp a passing female for copulation.
"The female black soldier fly deposits a mass of about 500 eggs in cracks and crevices near or in decaying matter such as dung, carrion, garbage, and other organic waste. The eggs hatch into larvae in about four days. Each oval shaped egg is about 1 mm in length." UFL Entomology
Home "sweet" home
|Final instar 22 mm - head on the left and "you know what" emerging on the right.|
|Small head with chewing mouthparts|
|Another happy customer!|
This University of Florida Entomology website has a very thorough description of the fly and its life cycle as well as photos of the stages.
This Black Soldier Fly was on a leaf next to the compost bucket. Its our baby!