(Inside Science) — Big, black wasplike things living in your toilet may sound more like a horror scene than a sanitation solution. That’s certainly what people in rural Louisiana thought in the summer of 1930, when black soldier flies infested a set of newly installed privies. “[C]onsiderable consternation often resulted when a person lifted a privy lid and was greeted by a swarm of insects resembling wasps, or when upon leaving the privy he experienced a strange creeping and buzzing sensation due to flies being confined within his garments,” wrote researchers in an account published in 1930 in the Journal of Economic Entomology. To make matters worse, hungry local chickens tore down the privies’ foundations in search of larvae pupating in the surrounding dirt. Now, nearly a century later, black soldier flies are being hailed as potential allies in the effort to clean up human feces. They are part of a move toward dry or composting sanitation, a set of controversial approaches that may be able to help manage bodily waste in places without sewers or septic tanks. Some researchers even think dry sanitation could replace water-based sewer systems in cities. The need for sanitation alternatives Most of the […]

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