Fly production made easy

You will need 3-4 maggot boxes with ventilated lids or 3-4 large (4 litre capacity) plastic tubs with fine mesh to cover the tops. Put a layer of bran in the base of all the tubs to absorb moisture.

Buy 1 pint of best white maggots from any angling supplier.  Remove from the plastic bag and divide them between the containers. Put on the lids or fine mesh covers secured with elastic bands.

Keep the boxes in a fairly warm area and within a few days the maggots will start to pupate, becoming dark red and inert.

Hatching will depend on temperature and usually takes 2-3 weeks.  A few will emerge and rest on the net or lid; wait until you have a reasonable amount. 

Place the whole container in the deep freeze for about 10 minutes, this is the only tricky part.  Too long and too cold will kill the whole lot, you will need to judge your timings depending on your freezer temperature, ideally 10.  Err on the mean side, they can always go back in for a little longer.

The flies will lie inert on the bottom, you then scoop them up quickly before they wake up and put them into small containers to kill them and store in the freezer.  Defrost only enough for each meal.

Return the large containers to normal room temperature and replace the net lid. They will continue to hatch out for about 10 days and you need to repeat the harvesting process until all the pupae have hatched. You can expect to harvest flies most days and will soon be able to judge the timings for the freezer, but as it can be easy to forget, an alarm clock is advisable.

You will be amazed at how many flies 1 pint of maggots can yield!

Gillian Westray 2009