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Black Soldier Fly Enclosure

How To Build A Black Soldier Fly Breeding Enclosure

Black Soldier Fly Enclosure

Breeding the Black Soldier Fly will result in the production of Phoenix Worms, which are the larval stage of Hermetia illucens. This article depicts how I built my Black Soldier Fly enclosure and can be used as a guide for others to create their own.

I apologize in advance for the lack of adequate images. I had taken far more pictures than what is depicted but as a result of an accidental deletion, many of them were lost. I salvaged this article with the images I still had available.

My Materials

12 - 8' x 1" x 2"
1 Box 2" Wood Screws
1 Box 1 1/2" Wood Screws
1 Bottle Elmers Wood Glue
2 Rolls Window Screening
2 Hinges
1 Slide Lock
1 Box Staples

My Tools

Cordless Screw Gun
Cordless Drill
Jig Saw
Staple Gun
Drill Bits
Countersink Bit
Tape Measure
Razor Knife


Your materials list and measurements would be different than what I have depicted in this article. This article is a reference as to how I built mine. Your measurements will be determined by the size of the rearing tub you used and its dimensions. I will refrain from listing my actual measurements since yours will be different. Use this guide as a reference for building your own.

Top - Bottom Frames

I started by measuring the top of my rearing container, which is a 27 gallon tough tote. I then built the top and bottom frames for this design. I predrilled all of my holes and I used wood glue and 2" screws that were recessed into the wood to hold the frames together. Predrilling prevents the screws from splitting the wood. If you use stronger building material, like 2 x 4's, predrilling shouldn't be necassary.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure


I then decided on how tall I would make my enclosure. You want to go as tall and wide as your space permits. I will be utilizing my design indoors, in my basement, and opted for a smaller enclosure. I then built my 4 corners that will connect to the previous frames I built. I predrilled all of my holes and I used wood glue and 1 1/2" screws that were recessed into the wood to hold the corners together.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure

Frame Assembly

Once the corners were built I attached them to the top and bottom frames. I predrilled all of my holes and I used wood glue and 1 1/2" screws that were recessed into the wood to hold the frames to the corners.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure

Inner Supports - Nailer

A step that isn't pictured clearly are the inner supports I used to create rigidity. You will notice that there are pieces of wood placed between the corners, attached to the top and bottom frame. These pieces are inserted into all 4 sides on the top and bottom and are screwed through the frames as well as through the corners. All of the holes were predrilled. I also used wood glue on each of the pieces. Once these pieces are in places, the structural integrity of the enclosure is much stronger.

These added pieces are also used for attaching the sceen to the enclosure. They offer a location to staple the screen to.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure

Door Frame

I then decided upon the size of the door I would be making and I built the frame that would accomodate it. I marked out my wood accordingly and assembled the frame. Once the frame itself was assembled, I went ahead and I attached it to the enclosures framework. The frame for the door required 2 uprights, a header and a footer. I predrilled all of my holes and I used wood glue and 2" screws that were recessed into the uprights, going into the header and footer pieces. I then predrilled all of my holes and I used wood glue and 1 1/2" screws that were recessed into the wood to hold the doors frame to the enclosures frame.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure


I took my measurements for the door and assembly the doors frame. I added a mid-partition pieces to help the door remain rigid and to offer additional staple locations to ensure screen was taunt. Once the door was framed I affixed it to the enclosure to ensure it functioned as expected.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure

Staple Supports

In the screened in image below you will find that I went ahead and added supports on the remaining 3 walls that lined up with the mid-support I placed on the door. For the same reason as the door, these were put in place to allow for added staples to keep the screen taunt. They also added another level of rigidity. Again, the holes were all predrilled and wood glue was used in addition to the scews that hold them in place. I used scrap pieces of wood to create a mid support on the ceiling of the enclosure. this was used for staples as well but was also an after thought, as I will be installing a handle here as well. (This enclosure is very light.)


With the door functioning as expected and the mid-supports in place, I went ahead and screened in the entire interior of the enclosure. I used staples to hold my screen in place. I precut each wall before putting it in place. This made handling each piece of screen much easier and gave me greater control on keeping the screen tight as I stapled it in place.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure


With the frame built i went ahead and mounted it to the top of the tote. The Black Soldier flies will use the space above the tote to breed. The tote will contain a food mixture for the eggs they lay to develop into larvae.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure


This is the finished product. The door offer me easy entry. When I need to clean the tote I can simply remove the screws that hold the frame to it and replace them after it has been cleaned.

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Enclosure


The flies will lay their eggs in corrugated cardboard that you can hang above the food, from the lip of the bottom frame that you created.
Opposed to using screws to hold the frame to the tote I will be upgrading to bolts, washers and a nut. This will allow the unit more rigidity and will allow me to continuously use the same holes. Over time the screw holes would need to be moved.
You can breed these flies outdoors. This enclosure was based on an indoor design. An outdoor design would need a roof that sheds water (or you will drown the larvae as it fills with water).


Author: Richard Brooks
Images - © Richard Brooks