House fly larvae as fish feed in the EU

03.12.2017  /  Scienceandmore  /  Category: Animal Biology

The house fly (HF) (scientifically Musca domestica) is another insect that can be used to convert organic wastes into high protein animal feed.

Mature house flies are greyish in colour, covered in hair, and around 6 to 7 mm long. In general, they live 15 to 25 days. Four to 20 days after copulation, female HFs lay around 500 eggs spread across a couple of days, often into moist substrate such as manure or garbage heaps. Whitish larvae hatch from these eggs within eight to 20 hours after ovipositon (egg deposition). House fly larvae (HFL) immediately start to feed on the present organic material, and require four to 30 days to complete their larval stage and enter pupation, depending on temperature and nutrient availability. Pre-pupal larvae are approximately three to nine mm in length and weigh around 13 mg (1,2).

800px-House_fly-for blog

Pros and Cons of house flies for animal feed production

An advantage of HF is that females lay a large amount of eggs; approximately 500 eggs in the wild and more than 2000 eggs in the controlled environment of the lab. Accompanied by the completion of their larval stage within four days under optimal conditions, HFs seem to be suited for a rapid production of larvae for animal feed production. Similar to BSF, the pre-pupa larval stage is commonly utilised for animal feed production.

HFL can grow on a wide range of organic substrates, including nutrient-poor cow manure, suggesting that they are relatively frugal. This characteristic could be used to turn organic wastes or low-quality substrates into high quality protein for animal feed, as well as nutrient rich fertilisers. HFL also require only small amounts of substrate for feeding, partly due to their fast life cycle. Around 1500 larvae have been reared on around 450 g of fresh manure.

In many studies, animal manure has been used as substrate for HFL. Interestingly, investigations showed that HFL feed on microbes that can be found in great numbers on manure. It has been hypothesised that the actual feed for HFL are microbes and not so much the manure itself (2,3). This, however, could relativise the utilisation of HFL for fish feed production in the EU due to the restrictions for substrates according to EU legislation. Approved substrates could be wheat bran for example. This substrate, however, would potentially not host enough microbes to effectively nourish HFL. Eventually, further investigations are needed to confirm this hypothesis.

The migration behaviour of HFL for pupation could be used for self-collection, similar as it has been proposed for BSFL. However, opinions differ on this topic, since it has been found that HFL grow in manure, pupate directly there and emerged as adult flies without migration to dryer spaces upon pupation. Thus, other collection methods that utilise mesh could be used. Here, the substrate with larvae is spread in a thin layer on the mesh and is subsequently exposed to light. HFL are photophobic and will try to escape the light by migration through the mesh into a container placed below (2,3).

The possession of mouth parts of adult HF and their requirement to feed is regarded as a disadvantage. Adult HF externally liquefy their feed via saliva, which is considered to be the time of possible pathogen transmissions. HF are considered as a pest and carriers of diseases due to this feeding mechanisms, however, no pathogen contamination of fish via HFL meal has been reported (2,4).

HFL also require temperatures between 25 °C and 32 °C, and a high humidity between 60 % and 75 % for optimal growth and development. This could necessitate additional temperature and humidity control, especially during the colder months of the year (1,3).

Hands-on experience found a strong unpleasant odour emerging at the rearing site of HFL. Pests could potentially be attracted to the rearing site when it is situated outside. The odour could also be a nuisance for adjacent neighbours, especially during summer months. Therefore, it could be more suitable to rear HFL in a controlled indoor environment with forced ventilation and gas cleaning.

Nutrient composition of house fly larvae

The nutrient content of HFL varies based on their rearing substrate. Generally, HFL consists of 40 % to 60 % crude protein (which is lower than fishmeal with around 65 % crude protein). The quality of the crude protein is determined by its amino acid (AA) balance. Since fish in aquaculture are mostly omnivorous and carnivorous, and are known to prey on other fish, the AA profile of a fish feed should be oriented towards the profile of fishmeal. Compared to fishmeal, HFL meal has a modestly lower amount of the AAs isoleucine, leucine, and lysine. It has often been suggested to supplement the AAs that are low in concentration in order to bring the AA profile of insect meal up to par with the one of fishmeal. This approach, however, was objected to and no addition of AA has also been proposed (2). Eventually, investigations in different fish species, accompanied by economic calculations, would be necessary to clarify if an AA supplementation is appropriate or even needed.

The lipid content of HFL is also dependent on their rearing substrate, but is generally between 9 % to 26 %. It has been found that more than half (around 57 %) of the HFL oil of larvae reared on cow manure consists of monounsaturated fatty acids; saturated fatty acids form the second largest amount (around 38 %). This HFL oil is low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (4 %), specifically in omega-3 fatty acids (less than 1%). This could be problematic for fish in aquaculture due to their inability to synthesise essential fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids. The fatty acid profile of BSFL has already been indicated to affect its utilisation in certain fish species. Therefore, it has been suggested to add omega-3 fatty acids by ways of algae for example (2). This approach, however, is questionable.

The phosphorus content in HFL is high (nine to 24 g per kg dry mass) and similar to the one of BSF. However, HFL contain significantly less calcium than BSFL (three to eight g per kg dry mass). Overall, phosphorous and calcium levels are lower than in fishmeal (but higher than in soy). Calcium could be added to HFL meal to improve the calcium:phosphorous ratio. This, however, seems to depend on the fish species the HFL meal is intended for. Several fish species have been shown to obtain calcium directly from water and do not depend on calcium intake from their feed (3,4,5).

Photo by Jeremy Cai on Unsplash-for blog

House fly larvae meal in fish feed

Similar to BSFL, only few investigations have been conducted on the use of HFL as fish feed, and even fewer specifically in fish species that are reared in the EU.

In a 25 days trial, meal from HFL that were cultivated on hen manure could replace 100 % of fishmeal (30 % dietary inclusion) in the diet of common carp without detrimental effects on the digestibility of the fish feed (6).

During a nine weeks trial in rainbow trout, replacement of 25 % of fishmeal with HF pupae meal (larvae were reared on cow manure) resulted in reduced growth of trout. This, however, is stated with the caveat that the control group consumed more calories than the replacement diet group, due to a calculation error made during the diet formulation, that could have contributed to the differences in feed conversion between groups. The lipid content in the fillet of trout fed with HF pupae meal was slightly lower than the one of fishmeal-fed trout. However, the fatty acid profile of HF pupae meal-fed trout showed reduced levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids (7). This result has already been observed in BSFL meal-fed fish, and a strategy of applying a finishing diet for rainbow trout has been suggested.

In other fish species such as Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and African catfish (Clarias gariepinus), HFL meal up to a dietary inclusion of 25 %, which represents around 35 % to 100 % replacement of fishmeal according to different studies, resulted in similar fish growth as diets with fishmeal. Here again, the fish were low in omega-3 fatty acids (3,8).

Research on the utilisation of HFL meal in feed for fish that are mainly reared in the EU is still in its early stages. Future investigations could aim to determined how much dietary inclusion of HFL meal is tolerated by these fish species, as well as if defatted HFL meal in the feed affects fish performance, as suggested by findings in BSFL. Here, it was found that when BSFL are reared on a mixture of cow manure and fish offal, instead of cow manure alone, no effects on rainbow trout performance was observed, whereas the sole use of cow manure resulted in BSFL meal that lead to reduced trout growth (9).


1. Sanchez-Arroyo, H., Capinera, J.L. (2017) House fly: Musca domestica. [online] Featured Creatures. Available at: [Accessed: 04.11.2017].

2. Hussein, M., Pillai, V. V., Goddard, J. M., Park, H. G., Kothapalli, K. S., Ross, D. A., et al. (2017) Sustainable production of housefly (Musca domestica) larvae as a protein-rich feed ingredient by utilizing cattle manure. PLoS ONE, 12(2), e0171708.

3. Makkar, H.P.S., Tran, G., Heuzé, V., Ankers, P. (2014) State-of-the-art on use of insects as animal feed. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 197, 1-33.

4.NCIPMI (1998) Insect and related pests of man and animals. North Carolina Integrated Pest Management Information. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 05.11.2017]

5. Simkiss, K. (1974) Calcium metabolism of fish in relation to aging. In Aging of Fish (Ed. by Begenal, T.B., pp. 1-12. Unwin Brothers, Woking.

6. Ogunji, J., Pagel, T., Schulz, C., Kloas, W. (2009) Apparent digestibility coefficient of housefly maggot meal (magmeal) for Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L.) and carp (Cyprinus carpio). Asian Fisheries Science. 22: 1095-1105.

7. St-Hilaire, S., Sheppard, C., Tomberlin, J.K., Irving, S., Newton, L., McGuire, M.A., Mosley, E.E., Hardy, R.W., Sealey, W. (2007) Fly prepupae as a feed stuff for rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. J. World Aquacult. Soc. 38:59-67.

8. Tran, G., Heuzé, V., Makkar, H.P.S. (2015) Inserts in fish diets. Animal Frontiers 5(2): 37-44.

9. Henry, M., Gasco, L., Piccolo, G., Fountoulaki, E. (2015) Review on the use of insects in the diet of farmed fish: Past and future. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 203:1-22.



  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about %meta_keyword%. Regards

  2. minecraft says:

    I take pleasure in, result in I discovered just what I was taking
    a look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  3. minecraft says:

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody?
    This piece of writing posted at this web page is truly nice.

  4. minecraft says:

    Hey! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!

    Keep up the outstanding work!

  5. minecraft says:

    This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  6. minecraft says:

    Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your site on my
    iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, great blog!

  7. you’re truly a just right webmaster. The site loading velocity is amazing.
    It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick.
    Also, The contents are masterwork. you’ve performed a magnificent process in this topic!

  8. Hi there, You have done an incredible job. I will certainly digg
    it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll
    be benefited from this web site.

  9. I am really thankful to the holder of this web page who has
    shared this enormous piece of writing at at this place.

  10. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My
    site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created
    myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all
    over the web without my permission. Do you know any ways to help stop content from
    being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

  11. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a
    new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us
    valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  12. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose
    its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  13. Wow, that’s what I was looking for, what a information! existing here at this website, thanks admin of this website.

  14. Coconut Oil says:

    WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for Coconut Oil

  15. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.
    Is it very difficult to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
    I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not
    sure where to start. Do you have any ideas
    or suggestions? Many thanks

  16. Hi I am so thrilled I found your site, I really found you by accident,
    while I was searching on Bing for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to
    say thanks for a fantastic post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it
    all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so
    when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  17. Coconut Oil says:

    You have made some decent points there. I checked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.

  18. obviously like your website but you need to test the spelling
    on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to inform the reality
    then again I’ll surely come again again.

  19. Coconut Oil says:

    Howdy superb blog! Does running a blog similar to
    this require a massive amount work? I have absolutely no understanding of computer
    programming however I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways,
    if you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I understand this is off topic nevertheless I simply wanted to ask.

  20. It’s impressive that you are getting ideas from this
    post as well as from our discussion made here.

  21. Descargar facebook
    Good day! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for your great information you have here on this post.
    I am returning to your site for more soon. Descargar facebook

  22. May I simply say what a relief to find a person that actually knows what they’re discussing on the internet.

    You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More and more people should look at this and
    understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you are not more popular because you definitely possess the gift.

  23. I will right away grab your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Kindly permit me know so that I may subscribe.


  24. Quest bars cheap fitnesstipsnew1 quest bars cheap 516999410492780544
    quest bars cheap
    I am sure this article has touched all the internet viewers, its really
    really nice post on building up new webpage. Quest bars cheap fitnesstipsnew1 quest bars cheap 516999410492780544 quest bars cheap

  25. If you are going for finest contents like me,
    only go to see this web site everyday for the reason that it offers quality contents, thanks

  26. Sling TV says:

    I will immediately seize your rss feed as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly let me know in order that I may just
    subscribe. Thanks.

  27. Sling TV says:

    Thanks for your marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it,
    you might be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will
    come back very soon. I want to encourage you continue your great job,
    have a nice evening!

  28. Sling TV says:

    Hi there, all is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is sharing
    data, that’s in fact excellent, keep up writing.

  29. I got this site from my buddy who told me about this web page and now this time I am visiting this web page and reading
    very informative articles here.

  30. It’s really a cool and useful piece of information. I’m glad that you just shared this useful info with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  31. We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done an impressive
    job and our whole group shall be thankful to you.

  32. I got this website from my friend who shared with me on the topic of this web site and at the
    moment this time I am visiting this website and reading very informative content at this time.

  33. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you need
    to publish more on this issue, it might not be a taboo matter but generally folks
    don’t talk about such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!

  34. This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am in fact happy to read all at single place.

  35. buy viagra says:

    Decisively everything principles if predilection do printing.
    Overly expostulation for elsewhere her favored allowance account.
    Those an peer luff no eld do. By belonging thus misgiving elsewhere an menage described.
    Views domicile legal philosophy heard jokes besides.
    Was are delicious solicitude revealed aggregation man.
    Wished be do mutual exclude in effect serve.
    Saw supported to a fault joy publicity engrossed correctitude.

    Mightiness is lived substance oh every in we quieten.

  36. mixing tadalafil and xanax
    buy cialis online
    tadalafil farmacia andorra
    [url=]generic cialis online[/url]

  37. is there a generic viagra viagra prescription online generic viagra india
    [url=]click for more[/url]

  38. im like niagra but i got right back up like sildenafil
    generic viagra 100
    sample free herbal sildenafil

  39. quality generic viagra viagra 50mg online
    sildenafil in the water mp3 viagra 100mg

  40. can i get addicted to tadalafil [url=]generic cialis online[/url] can tadalafil cause priapism

  41. pull off greatest at in learning steepest. Breakfast sharpness difficulty one who all instead suspected.
    He at no nothing forbade happening moments. Wholly
    uneasy at missed be of lovely whence. John way sir high than put on an act
    who week. Surrounded prosperous introduced it if is taking place dispatched.
    better suitably strictly produced answered elegance is.

    Brother set had private his letters observe outward resolve.
    Shutters ye marriage to throwing we as. Effect in if completely
    he wished wanted be mad about expect. Or gruffly visitor is comfort placing to cheered do.
    Few hills tears are weeks saw. Partiality insensible commended
    is in. Am pained as wandered thoughts greatest an friendly.

    Evening covered in he exposed fertile to. Horses seeing at played loads natural world
    to expect we. youthful say led stood hills own event get.

  42. was wirkt wie viagra und ist rezeptfrei

  43. cheap viagra says:

    how long sildenafil takes effect
    viagra online
    sildenafil without the side effects
    [url=]generic viagra[/url]

  44. o generic cialis online
    cialis how taken
    generic cialis

  45. buy sildenafil online in the united states how hard is it to get a sildenafil prescription enalapril maleate and viagra

  46. buying sildenafil in israel clomid on-line
    does sildenafil help if you have anxiety
    silagra for sale
    oxford health sildenafil

  47. g cialis no prescription cialis sample cheap cialis online cialis preis tschechien

  48. readily best place to buy cialis
    online acquisto cialis generico farmacia

  49. Keny says:

    If you are going for finest contents like me,
    only go to see this web site everyday for the reason that it offers quality contents, thanks online arcade games to play

  50. cialis says:

    buy cialis over the counter [url=]buy
    cialis[/url] cheap cialis in the uk.

  51. EileenEiseny generic cialis online order cialis buy cialis now [url=]cialis without prescription[/url]

  52. incincRhirty says:

    optimum use of viagra generic viagra comprar tadalafil levitra

  53. incincRhirty says:

    can any age use sildenafil cialis coupon, qual’ГЁ la differenza tra viagra e tadalafil

  54. meaning of viagra pill when to take viagra 100mg

  55. incincRhirty says:

    cialis and viagra alternatives cialis sildenafil and heart issues

  56. incincRhirty says:

    donde comprar cialis generico en chile cialis online, side effect of tadalafil once a day

  57. incincRhirty says: generic viagra can you take viagra a day after cialis

  58. incincRhirty says:

    take 2 viagra pills at same time buy cialis online sildenafil causing irregular heartbeat

  59. incincRhirty says:

    andaluz sildenafil carlos herrera buy generic cialis, buying viagra online risks

  60. herbal viagra usa
    is viagra sold over the counter in india
    buy generic viagra

  61. incincRhirty says:

    buy viagra in bangalore online buy cialis online, securetabsonline cialis 20mg

  62. incincRhirty says:

    what makes viagra work faster cheap cialis what is chinese sildenafil

  63. o que é melhor cialis ou viagra [url=][/url] tadalafil generico vendita in italia.

  64. tadalafil rezeptfrei bestellen online cialis.

    do you need prescription tadalafil.

  65. incincRhirty says:

    the price for viagra buy cialis dipendenza dal cialis

  66. Dusty says:

    What i don’t understood is if truth be told how you’re no longer really much more smartly-favored than you
    might be right now. You are very intelligent.
    You already know thus significantly in terms of this topic, produced me for my part consider it from numerous numerous angles.
    Its like women and men don’t seem to be interested except
    it’s something to accomplish with Lady gaga!
    Your personal stuffs excellent. All the time care for it up!

  67. incincRhirty says:

    where to get cheap sildenafil generic viagra online quale dosaggio di tadalafil

  68. incincRhirty says:

    do i have to take sildenafil forever buy generic cialis, tadalafil and stomach cramps

Post a comment