Missin’ my Crew

I pride myself on trying to compost every scrap of food, but at this time of the year, my compost is bulging at the seams.  The pile is missing that main ingredient which, though not an object of contemplation for the faint of heart, is truly the turbo thruster of the compost pile: the black soldier fly larva (Hermetia illucens).  Bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and hosts of other creatures are still on the job, thankfully, and making a dent despite the colder weather, but for sheer volume reduction, nothing beats the soldier fly.  Plus if you’ve never seen a compost pile writhe and pulse, the whole thing moved by the desperate yearnings and gropings of a clutch of maggots, then you’ve missed something truly repulsive yet oddly fascinating.  It’s something akin to the mysterium tremendum et fascinans that I studied during my undergraduate religious studies days – the mystery that both terrorizes and fascinates us at the same time. 
And regarding the soldier fly, nothing beats Dr. Paul Olivier’s paper on the subject: “UTILIZING LOWER LIFE FORMS FOR THE BIOCONVERSION OF PUTRESCENT WASTE”
Now there’s a paper I wish I had written in college.  Anyway, check out his blog at http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/bioconversion-dr_paul_olivier/
I heard him speak once, and although a mild-mannered type, he had a crowd of sustainability nuts practically frothing at the mouth from excitement as he laid out his soldier-fly solution to humankind’s compostable waste problems.
Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about these days…the return of spring AND the return of the soldier flies so my compost piles can get back into balance.  Yes, these maggots are gross….but I also miss them.  Am I weird?