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September 21, 2016
Ammonia Gas from Canine Waste: Composting vs Landfill
I. Materials Used
3 BioPod plus, purchased from Amazon.
Extra Heavy sheeting 10 x 25 ft; 3.5 mil thick
ZOO MED™ REPTI THERM™ Reptile Under Tank Heater x 4. Two large
and 2 mini.
All Living Things® Reptile Heating Mat x 2. One Large and one mini
ZOO MED™ REPTICARE™ Reptile Terrarium Controller
SUKRAGRAHA Mini Digital Temperature Humidity Meter Gauge Thermometer
Hygrometer LCD Degree Display w 1.5M Long Wired Sensor Head Probe Black
United Solutions 5-Gallon Residential Paint Bucket x3 with lids
United Solutions 5-Quart Residential Paint Bucket x6 with lids
CJ 4000, 4000g x 0.5g. g, oz, lb, PCS
Charlotte Pipe 3/4-in x 10-ft 200-PSI SDR 21 PVC Pipe
Item # 23990 Model # PVC 20007 0600
3M All Purpose 1.88-in x 135-ft Gray Duct Tape
Item # 346952 Model # L245
Getting Grubby - Raising Black Soldier Fly Larvae as Livestock Feed Paperback use
pre formatted date that complies with legal requirement from media
matrix – Student Calendar, September 11, 2015
by Tillman E Stevens III (Author)
BioGrubs Brand Black Soldier Fly Larvae. Natures Most Voracious
Composters. Break Down Your Food Waste Quickly With BSFL. by
Fish Tank Air Pump x4
Top Fin® 8 Foot Silicone Airline Tubing
The first order of Black soldier fly larvae came on Monday, September 26, 2016. This
order was a 5,000 count of roughly 4 day old larvae. Due to some issues with the
canine poo supply, I fed the larvae coffee grounds and some dog food. Dog food was
going to be mixed in with the poo and I was going to be using coffee grounds to help
keep the RH up, this is what I decided to give them as their first meal.
Each pod received 242, 218, and 223.5 grams of the coffee dog food mixture. I also put
this mixture into the three buckets. I did this to see if my temperature probes could
keep a consistent reading or if I had just bought really bad probes. I was happy
whenever I checked the grubs that the RH was staying at 99% and the temperature
stayed around 22.2*C to 22.6*C. Itried to collect air samplesfrom the buckets as a control
and discoveredmyaspiratorpump wouldn't work. I went and bought 4 small fishair bubblers
and hot glued these to the top of the inside of the bucket lids. Imade additional holes for the
power cords and tubing. These holes were sealedup withduck tape. This system seems to
work prettywell. I’m not concerned about igniting methane if Iproduce anybecause there
won’t be enoughO2 for ignitionand the pumps didn't spark or get hot. Myfingers are crossed
Wednesday, September28, 2016
The second order of grubs arrived. The poo supply was still not forthcoming. This batch
of grubs were 1 week old and bigger. I had leftover soup that I was going to throw out,
but decided to mix this with dog food and coffee grounds to feed the grubs. I did warm
up the mixture in the microwave to 103*F before putting the mixture in with the grubs.
Each bin received 350 ml of the mixture. I did not put any of this in the buckets because
the grubs were eating quite alot.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
I decided to procure a new source of poo and went to a local doggie day care and
explained what I was doing and if they could help me out. They were happy to and I was
able to pick up the poo the next evening. I fed the grubs some leftover spaghetti sauce
and meatballs and 6 ears of corn on the cob. They devoured the Italian cuisine and are
making head way on the ears of corn.
Friday, September 30, 2016
I picked up the poo at 4:30 pm and the amount was enough to get the buckets started.
Bucket 1 received 540.5 grams of poo.
Bucket 2 received 729 grams.
Bucket 3 received 630 grams. This bucket had a few bags of waste that were
biodegradable. B1 & B2 had regular trash bags and all buckets had unbagged waste.
The buckets are now sealed and nothing else will be added to them.
The grubs were fed coffee grounds and shredded lettuce.
There is a residual odor since I fed the grubs the meatballs. The videos and literature
I’ve watched and read stated that this was pretty odor free. Their operations were
outside, which wouldn't work for air sampling. I went and bought a respirator, I fit test for
a small full or half face but all that was available was a medium. I’ll have to use duck
tape, its not a pleasant smell and I can only imagine that it will be worse with the poo.
I have placed another sheet of plastic along the front of the bins.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Was able to obtain canine waste to feed the grubs. It still wasn't very much so I again
mixed the waste with coffee grounds and dog food. The order was a bit stronger today
so I ducked taped the plastic sheeting together and around the floor in an attempt to cut
down on the smell. Since I will be taking air samples once a day and feeding them once
a day I don't think they will run out of oxygen. The enclosure is 1ft x 6ft x 6ft. I also
collected air samples from the buckets and from the bins. I went ahead and collected air
samples from the bins before the canine waste was added to them.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Checked the bugs at 10 am and they were still chowing down. Temp was good the
humidity was high in bins 2 & 3 but normal in 1. I won't be feeding them today, the
doggie daycare is closed, so I can’t make a pick-up. I used Method all-purpose cleaner
to wipe done the bins with grapefruit. Feeding can get messy and I’d like to keep the
germs, mold and fungus in the bins. There is some mold growth starting on the top of
the grub food.
Checked the bugs again at 2 pm. I have opened the garage door to air out the smell. Its
not a horrible smell, not gag worthy, but it won’t be made into a scented candle either.
The outside temp is 85*F so I’m not concerned with the bugs getting cold.
At 6 pm I collected my air samples, the temperature in the bins was getting up around
30* C so I decided to turn off the heaters for awhile so I don’t cook the bugs.
At 10 pm I checked the temps, they are still around 28-30* C. The garage is at 75*F so
I’m going to leave the heaters off for the night,
Monday, October 3, 2016
5:20 am, I checked the bugs, the humidity is 72 in bin one and still 99 in bins 2 & 3. The
temps have dropped to 24-25*C so I have turned the heaters back on. I didn’t open the
bins to “stir” the contents, I haven't had coffee yet.
I checked them again at 1pm. they are still moving around. They seem to really like the
corn on the cob, thats where I find most of them when I aerate the proto-compost. I also
picked up the poo and I will feed them tonight after I have collected the air samples. At
6:24 pm I started taking air samples and weighed the poo I got for today. It weighed
2810g total, I didn't get it broken down into exactly the same amounts for the three bins.
Bin 1 received 791g, bin 2; 776.5g, and bin 3; 726.5g. The temps on the bins at 7:24 pm
was 30-30.3*C. I turned the heaters off again and will check the temps again at 10pm.at
10:30 the temps were at 27*C so I left the heaters off. The garage was at 76*F.
Tested bags this morning at the USDA and there is no ammonia present at this time.
The bin 1 was at 26.1*C, bin 2 31.8*C, bin 3 26.3, buck 1 22.7, buck 2 22*C, buck 3
I decided to skip taking air samples tonight since the samples I ran today were a bust.
October 5 & 6
The bugs are still doing well, the second shipment of BSFL were a bit older and they
have started to self harvest. Two have escaped and bin 1 & 3 have 1 & 4 in the harvest
compartments respectively. I have switched from using the digital therms to an analog
meat therm because the digital therm readings were showing extreme temperature
swings. That’s what happens when you go cheap.
I will take air samples from the bins tonight, and that will probably be my last sample
from the bins. The smell is powerful and even though I have taped up the plastic, I’m
getting breakthrough. They will be moved to my back yard and I will keep the heaters on
at least at night. I have not had to use the heaters since the 3rd. The sensors I bought
seem to have stopped working, They temps are reading at 60*C to 33*C. I used an
analogue meat thermometer to see if that was accurate and I got all three bins at 90*F.
Since the bugs are still alive I think that is probably correct. This also shows me that
they are generating their own heat and should be ok outside.
After reading “Getting Grubby” again, I.m going to see if there is a leachate build up in
the bottom pf the bins. This could be the source of the smell. There is a drain hose on
the bins but there hasn’t been any liquid present. I will tip the bins to see if any drains
out and collect it in a container of some kind.
There was a small amount of liquid, that was probably the source of the odor but I have
gone ahead and put the bins outside. My garage stinks. I will probably get some
frebreeze to eliminate the smell. Hopefully that works. It’s really bad.
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Checked the bugs at 9:15 this morning. my outdoor thermometer is reading 49*F, so its
a little chilly. The bins are reading 75* to 85*F, so not too bad. I have noticed that
houseflies and a few beetles have breached my bins. One of the things touted by
people who promote BSF is that they decrease the housefly and botfly populations. I
have no idea what a botfly looks like, so I don’t know if I have any hanging around, but
there are LOTS of houseflies. Since I drained the leachate that may be why the
houseflies have increased. The promoters say the BSF secretes a pheromone that tells
other flies to stay away. This pheromone could be concentrated in the leachate, but the
houseflies seemed to like landing on my leachate container that had spilled leachate on
the outside of it. Each bin received a pound of coffee grounds and DP. The smell is still
there but diluted since we are outside now. The smell has been described as earthy…
What earthy smells like, I’m not sure but I don’t think this is it.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
The BSFL are still alive, they survived the little cold snap we had this weekend and my
heating units didn't short out or get wet. : ) I placed a sheet of plastic over the bins last
night to keep the rain off of my electrical equipment. I’m out of DP so I’m feeding them
some leftovers that I was going to through out. Two slices of spinach pizza went into bin
1 & 3 and shredded lettuce and sliced portobello mushrooms went into bin 2. The temps
and humidity are holding steady. Still stinks.
Monday, October 10, 2016
There are still a lot of houseflies in the bins. I should have invested in a beekeeper hat
with net. The BSF are doing well and have started to self harvest. These are probably
the older larvae that I got in the second order. I have been turning off the heaters during
the day since the temperature is pretty high for October. I have been turning them back
on in the evening since the low has been in the 50’s. They loved the pizza, it’s
completely gone. Mushrooms and lettuce didn’t last long either. I should note that I just
tossed in the pizza slices, didn’t cut them into smaller pieces or anything. Still stinky.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Same as yesterday and the BSF are still doing well. Still pungent.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Temp still ok, even with the cold snap, feed them DP and left the heaters on all day and
Thursday, October 13, 2016
This morning the temps are a little lower and the houseflies are much decreased. I think
thats due to the cold rather than any pheromones the BSF may be producing. I didn’t
stir them since the temps are lower this morning. Leaving the heaters on. Smell is less
today. Collected the larvae that have self harvested as well as some housefly carcases
and some beetles. I don’t think I will weigh or count what has been harvested since
some of the larvae I found outside of the bin, so some have escaped. I’ll check the
temps later this afternoon.
Friday, October 14, 2016
I read a research paper on gas production from dog waste, they also didn’t have any
detectable levels of ammonia. What I noticed was the mention of urine. There waste
samples did not have any dog urine contaminating the sample. I know that the dog poo
from the doggie daycare has urine mixed in, I have seen it when I place the waste in my
mixing bucket. My buckets did not have any urine mixed in with the waste when I
started them. Since I haven’t had any ammonia detection in either the bins or the
buckets, I’m going to collect some urine from my dog. My dog is a 10 year old, fixed,
female Boston Terrier. I already collected a little from her this morning and I’m going to
attach a cup to a stick and take her for a walk later and see if I can get more than a
table spoon. When I get enough, I will crack open the buckets, add new poo and I’m
going to add urine to just one bucket. I will continue to collect urine and add it to one
bin. We’ll see if that will give me any ammonia.
Fecal Odor Components in Dogs: Nondigestible Oligosaccharides and Resistant Starch
Do Not Decrease Fecal H2S Emission
M. Hesta, DVM, CCVCM Diplomate
G. P. J. Janssens, Prof, PhD, Vet., Sci., Agr., Eng.
J. Debraekeleer, DVM, ECVCN Diplomate
S. Millet, DVM
R. De Wilde, Prof, DVM
Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University,
Sunday, October 16, 2016
I added human urine to bin 1, I checked the chemical composition of human vs dog
urine and they are fairly similar. The reason for doing this is its really hard to collect
enough urine from my little dog. I was able to collect 16g and that took two days. I did
add that amount to bucket 1 and checking 4 hrs later both bin 1 and bucket 1 there
wasn’t any detectable amounts of NH3.
Interesting observation on the buckets, I removed the poo from the bags and it had not
formed any mold nor had it dried out in comparison to the naked poo in the buckets.
didn’t matter if the bag was tied closed or not or biodegradable or not. I was wearing a
respirator so I can’t comment on the smell factor, if it was worse or the same. I do know
that H2S is being produced from all 6 containers. I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure
thats the main stink gas.
Monday, October 17, 2016
I checked bin 1 and bucket 1 at 1pm. Bin 1 had a reading of 20 ppm, the outside air
about 2 ft from the bin read 12 ppm, the bucket was still reading nothing. I have decided
to add human urine to bucket 1. I added 170 g at 2 pm. at 3 pm there wasn’t any NH3
present. I will check again between 6:30 & 7pm tonight. I had left the buckets outside,
they do not have a heat source, so the cooling off last night may have affected them. I
have let the buckets heat up to 33*C roughly and have moved them back into the
garage. I’m going to double stack the buckets in another bucket to see if that helps keep
the temp a little more stable.
I went and air sampled bucket 1, still nothing and bin 1 is showing zero as well. I also
sampled outside the bin about 3 ft away and it was zero. I sampled the bin before I gave
the bugs about 2.5 lbs of poo and coffee grounds. This is mixed in a 5 gallon bucket, i
have added to the bucket roughly 30 lbs of poo, 1lb 14 oz of unbrewed coffee, (Maxwell
house) and 1 gallon of distilled water.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
So, at 6:35 pm, I sampled the buckets and bins, interesting reading from bin 2. The
meter showed 63 ppm. No urine was added to this bin and none of the other bins or
buckets had a reading. I can smell it as well. I fed and “tilled” the grubs and I’ll check
again in a few hours.
9:20 pm, not getting a reading on bin 2 any more, I can still smell ammonia but I
resampled several times and no ammonia. I’ve decided to take the air pumps and run
them thru the leachate hose to see if I can mitigate the (what I’m guessing is) hydrogen
sulfide smell. It’s beyond bad. If this works, I’ll drill holes on the opposite side and run
the air hose thru the front of the bins.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The air pumps did a fabulous job. Its 8:30 am and I can’t smell anything. I can forego
the respirator. It did cool off considerably last night and it is still cool this morning, but I
think the smell would have still been there if not for the addition of air into the systems.
Not reading any ammonia from the buckets or bins. The temps in the bins is ranging
from 78-84*F, so the heaters are keeping these guys warm enough when the outside
temp is down around 47*F. The pH is holding steady at about 7.5, the RH has dropped,
but the compost is still showing 100% moisture. Time to get the drill.
6:30 pm no more ammonia from any bins or buckets. The houseflies are still swarming.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
About 9 am, no ammonia and no H2S smell. Temp, RH, Moisture, and pH are still
holding steady. Giving the bugs a treat of pizza and apple cores.
Friday, October 21, 2016
9:30 am, no ammonia from bins or buckets. H2S is still very low, but creeping up again.
I’m going to drain the leachate tomorrow. I will feed the bugs roughly 2 lbs each of poo.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Drained the leachate, this bin design is flawed in this regard. It’s extremely difficult to
drain the leachate without some kind of incline to have it drain out.
I’m phasing out the dog poo since the grubs are starting to self harvest and I don’t want
three bins filled with dog poo and no grubs to eat it. I’ll have to complete the composting
of this over the winter. I have a lot of buckets so I’ll keep it in there and maybe get some
worms to finish composting this when it warms up. To be sure the compost is free of
pathogens it has to get up to a temp of 160*F so, that will take the summer heat to
Sunday, October 23, 2016
The grubs are still doing well, the pizza is gone as well as the apple and bread I’ve
tossed in. The dog food soaked over night in a gallon of distilled water and I’ll give them
a few scoops tonight. Houseflies are still a problem.