House Fly

House fly breeding has commercial potential the Forum has not yet detailed. One production issue to consider is detailed in (2011) "Effect of the size of the pupae, adult diet, oviposition substrate and adult population density on egg production in Musca domestica (Diptera: Muscidae)", by Pastur, et. al originally published in European Journal of Entomology 108; free full pdf =


  • I was wondering why people here didn't touch on this, I only assume it's due to disease potential. The last few months we put out some test tubs. Actually we were trying to bait black soldier fly for future breeding. We obviously got both when attracting wild flies. Some things I have noticed so far in compasion to house fly vs BSF:

    House fly develop way faster and thus they climbed up the ramps provided much faster than bsf. Actually we found they not only self harvested like people claim for bsf (albeit in lesser numbers maybe) but they like to pupate in the drier tubs away from the food.

    House fly go through food WAY faster. But in fairness it could be due to population quantity, I have not done any testing only noted that seperated batches the house flies clear out food at lightning speed.

    Lastly I notice that house flynlarvae are far easier to drown from war logged food compared to BSF larvae. Maybe not important for all, but in the rainy tropics it's a considerable consideration in structure design.

    I would grow house fly larvae over BSF any dayprovided I have enough food and a good way to assure no disease. But on a weight basis I wonder which is best dried using FCR.

    I also notice both species are terrible at eating things like fruit peel (onion, mango, citrus are my main peels) and they will leave those bit inedible pieces on the surface.

    My only issue with house fly would be smaller size. I haven't read into it much yes, but separation of larvae from other material I can see being a nightmare as they are far more slimy, mobile and tiny in comparison to BSF. But I would assume for colder regions they.much out pace BSF even more...?

  • One detail is how much of the house fly larvae can be metabolized.The fly larvae protein is 98.5% utilized by chickens.

    Relatively clean rearing can be done on "... powdered milk, sugar, and fresh layer droppings" of chickens to get 64% protein (dry weight) & >4,000 KiloCalories/Kg absorbed by eating chickens(as per study linked below). I have not worked out the economy of using powdered milk over food scraps, but once factor in labor & quality control it may be cost effective (50 pounds powder milk on-line USA today see for US$156; around US$3/pound).

    Cited Korean research shows that blending up to 15% of dried fly larvae (maggots) into a balanced chicken feed creates weight gain & good amounts of meat (breast/thigh); going up to 20% of larvae was safe but not more beneficial . Authors remark that if already using fish meal in chicken feed the similar amino acid profile with fly larvae means 7% of that fish meal can be directly replaced with fly larvae.

    After 5 weeks broiler chickens getting 15% dry fly larvae ate 2,771 gr of total feed & produced 1,785 gr of fresh weight in chickens; with a good dressage (meat) ratio (Table 5). This can provide a basis for seeing if growing the larvae with powdered milk is as economic as feeding them scraps. For data see (2009) "Utilization of house fly-maggots, a feed supplement in the production of broiler chickens"; link free full pdf =

  • I wonder how much of that available protein is in the form of the gut load fed to the flies? For example milk is a relatively high quality and expensive ingredient, where's waste fruit is far less protein and higher sugar content, but free so I am assuming the data above would vary. I'm not sure, but am curious how the digestive tract contents vsnactual worm meat nutrition varies. I'd image maggots raised on human feces would be far worse feed stuff than that of fruit, milk or other higher quality feeds. Pathogens still seem a real issue. Obviously I wouldn't be using feces but still curious how disease might be an issue. Would heating larvae (sterilizing) adversely affect nutrient quality of fly larvae meal?

  • Hi formosa, - My thinking is only a small amount of milk powder was dusted on to the chicken droppings in cited research in order to balance out the amino acid profile of the fly diet; which otherwise would have had only nitrogen in the chicken droppings to synthesize into amino acids. 25 year old research found adult fly longevity is higher when the fly maggots fed milk (& sugar) instead of just manures.

    As for cost effectiveness the above cited study noted that in all cases of commercial edible (broiler meat) chicken raising : " ... feed costs ... controlled by the intake of the first-limiting nutrient... lysine in order to maximize breast muscle .... " Thus the end product was a more balanced replacement ingredient when blended into a complete feed formula. Regarding the realistic cost of milk powder as an ingredient the authors infer that, on an daily 10 ton industrial scale (by Korean commercial operation Medilavatec Company), the bulk purchase of ingredients brings the cost of producing 1 ton of house fly maggots to 9.45$ (2009 figure, supposedly in US$).

    Since you seem to be working in the field of education I suggest you use an official channel to contact the funding agency for that research asking for professional courtesy (rather than Medilavatec Co.) in order to find out what % of dried milk powder was used, because the cited report does not provide any supplemental information & yet seems to be generated via public money. Research was funded in enough part by the Institute of Animal Resources Kangwon National University, South Korea to oblige mentioning. And the pdf heading mentions the authors' affiliations as College of Animal Life Science, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon - 200 701, the South Korea National Institute of Animal Science, RDA, Suwon - 441 706 & the South Korea National Institute of Animal Science, RDA, Cheonan - 303 801, South Korea if you are able to network there.

    (2012) "Effect of livestock manures on the fitness of house fly, Musca domestica L. (Diptera: Muscidae)", by Khan, et al. compares manure substrates from "... buffalo, cow, nursing calf, dog, horse, poultry, sheep, and goat ...." The verdict was for fly larvae (maggots) raised on poultry "... developmental time was the shortest ... percent survival of immature stages, pupal weight, eggs viability, adults' eclosion, survival and longevity, intrinsic rate of natural increase, and biotic potential were significantly high(er) ..." in comparison to low survival on horse, buffalo, cow, sheep, and goat manures ...." Also manure collected from nursing calves & dogs provided satisfactory fly maggot feed; although I think chicken manure would be easier to find in a consistently available form for a commercial scale process.

  • House flies settling some differences=

  • I am very interested in house fly as well. I see the potential over BSF especially in regards to climate. Look forward to reading more of the discussions here.

  • edited January 2017

    Hi katee571 - I'm typing on a small tablet, so will refer you to several recent house fly reports available on-line as free full texts or pdf. If you have any questions about reading them let me know.

    Here is a sensible rearing method for house fly larvae. In practice several studies have found that poultry manure is the most simple nutrient source to raise them on, which this utilized. See Ezewudo, Monebi & Ugwumba's (2015) "Production and utilization of Musca domestica maggots in the diet of Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus,1758) fingerlings"; originally published in African Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 10(23)

    Here is a simple method of making house fly larvae into a protein supplement. The researchers' house fly larvae were raised on fish waste; you can use the same processing technique for larvae reared on any other nutrient source with the understanding that this study's data for the end product's composition may differ. Where they use a centrifuge you should be able to utilize a cream separator, if easier to get hold of that. See Ulanova & Kravchenko's (2016) "Housefly larvae as a source of good quality renewable protein product''; originally published in Entomology and Applied Science Letters, Vol.3(5), possibly available via

    Here is a lot of data for both housefly larvae & pupae fed to chickens. These were reared on bran & blood. See Pieterse & Pretorius' (2013) "Nutritional evaluation of dried larvae and pupae meal of the housefly (Musca domestica) using chemical- and broiler-based biological assays", originally published in Animal Production Science

    Here is a comparative analysis of replacing some soy bean with house fly larvae in chicken diets. This data is for larvae & pupae raised on chicken manure. See Khan, et al. (2015) "Evaluating the suitability of maggot meal as a partial substitute of soya bean on the productive traits, digestibility indices and organoleptic properties of broiler meat", originally published in Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition

    Here is how you can increase the protein content of house fly larvae raised on poultry manure. Authors provide data on other aspects as well. See Ukanwoko & Olalekan's (2015) "Effects of source and time of harvest on the proximate composition of maggot (Musca domesticus) larva meal"; originally published in Intntl.Journal of Livestock Research, Vol.5(7)

  • edited January 2017

    A reference for fresh manure feeding rates to house fly larvae can be seen in the following report of a commercial swine manure operation. See on-line full free text pf Wang, et al. (2013) "A full-scale house fly (Diptera:Muscidae) larvae bioconversion system for value-added swine manure reduction '' ... if can't find it let me know.

    Facility feeds the adults on sugar, milk powder, yeast extract, urea, liquified rice in a 98% water medium. Density of adult flies = 1/10 cubic cm (4.8 million fit in 4 X 4 X 3 mt. cage.

    When ready to lay eggs the adults are fed on a viscous sugar, milk powder, bran & some female attractant. Eggs are placed in a new bin (60 X 40 X 12 cm) containing wet bran & milk powder.

    Larval emergence is monitored so that at 20 hour age they can be put to feed on a prepared layer of 5cm fresh swine manure. Next day & every day thereafter the larvae are fed additional fresh swine manure at the rate of 25-30 Kg./; so that when cull larvae after 5-7 days the amount of fresh swine manure would be 8-10 cm deep.

    This operation in 1 week yields 95-120 Kg. housefly larvae/cubic meter of fresh swine manure. As the facility improved it's technique they got more larvae/cubic meter/year (407 Kg vs. 907 Kg/

    The residual manure from feeding them is 350-450 Kg manure/cubic meter. This represents an average 67% manure weight reduction (& 80% reduction in moisture content); such that 57-70% of the manure reduction is attributable to larval metabolism.

    Residual manure has changed color (from yellowed brown to dark brown) & smell (from ammoniacal to earthy); it is suitable for composting to become fertilizer. In another report on this commercial operation (Zhang, et al. 2012 "Swine manure vermicomposting via housefly larvae ...: The dynamics of biochemical and microbial features", originally published in Bioresource Technology Vol. 118) this residual manure was found to have 45% less kinds of microbes than raw swine manure.

    Originally cited report's authors included amino acid & fatty acid composition of these larvae. They also address the particular heavy metal residues.

    Here is another feed for house fly larvae, comparing wheat bran with millet bran with corn silage with sawdust when added to restaurant food waste (dried in colander to 75% moisture content then chopped to uniformly mix). Using 1.5 million fly eggs' larva fed during 4 days 700 gram food waste blended with 300 grams of either "adjuvant" (i.e: either wheat bran, millet bran, corn silage or sawdust) researchers produced 53 grams of dried fly larvae having 55-59% protein content. See Niu, et al. (2016) "A novel bioconversion for value-added products from food waste using Musca domestic"; originally published in Waste Management.

    Density which the team reared house flies was 2.8 cubic cm/fly (5,000 flies in 50 X 50 X 50 X cm 0.2 mesh cage), feeding them on 2 part powdered sugar : 2 part milk : 1 part chicken egg (stirred every 6 hours); temperature was 25 Celsius with 12 hours light : 12 hours dark.

    Media for egg laying (female lays ~500 eggs) was little packets of 4 part wet wheat bran : 1 part brown sugar; these were collected every 12 hours & estimated number of eggs themselves is 1 gram house fly eggs = 16,000 eggs. Given that 2 week old females lay more eggs the maximum egg production was 160,000 eggs in 12 hours.

    Of these 4 different larval dietary "adjuvant" blended with restaurant food waste, having 5-7pH & 70-80% moisture content fed when 25-30 Celsius, the highest weighing larvae & highest protein containing house fly larvae came from those reared on wheat bran mixed with food waste. Although millet bran mixed with food waste reared larvae had more protein the larvae on corn silage mixed with food waste weighed more.

    Feed rate also had an impact, with weight per individual larvae generally greater when put 0.5 grams of eggs on 1 Kg. of this kind of feed, followed in individual larval weight with 0.75 gram eggs/Kg. feed. Authors found that up to 1.0 grams of fly eggs/Kg. of feed provided decent individual larval weight, but then a notable loss in individual larval weight is seen as increase the number of eggs/feed.

    However, in total weight of larval harvest 1.5 gram of fly eggs/Kg. of feed provided a greater total weight of them than at lower egg density. And 2.0 grams fly eggs/Kg feed gave even more total weight harvest in the larvae fed/Kg., amounting to approximately 56 grams of larvae/Kg. feed & about 43% reduction in the waste fed them. (The individual larvae weight at 2 gr. egg density/Kg. is about half of what it would be at 0.5 gr. egg density/Kg.)

  • Thanks gringojay. I will enjoy reading this...any questions i will get back to you.

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