Black soldier fly larvae show a stronger preference for manure than for a mass‐rearing diet

Alejandro Parodi*, Kim van Dijk, Joop J.A. van Loon, Imke J.M. de Boer, Jeroen van Schelt, Hannah H.E. van Zanten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The attention for black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) as an alternative ingredient for food and feed products is on the rise. While many studies have reported the efficiency of BSFL to bio‐convert a wide range of organic waste streams into larval biomass, so far, it is unknown whether BSFL prefer certain waste streams over others when they have the possibility to choose. Here, we performed a choice‐test experiment to explore the preference of BSFL when exposed to pig manure and a mass‐rearing diet consisting of plant by‐products currently used for industrial BSFL production. We found that after 1 hr of exposure to both feeds, BSFL strongly preferred pig manure over the mass‐rearing diet. The preference for manure became stronger as larval age increased. Our results provide the first evidence that BSFL express a distinct diet preference. Understanding the reasons for the strong preference for manure is relevant for a diverse array of practical applications and to inform the discussion on insect welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-565
JournalJournal of Applied Entomology
Issue number7
Early online date18 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • behaviour
  • choice test
  • Hermetia illucens
  • manure
  • rearing


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