Bugs in the kitchen compost bin

How to Get Rid of Bugs in my Compost? (Explained & Solved!)

Use a wire mesh to keep most harmful bugs out of your compost bin. Poor maintenance leads to such issues, so, care well for your compost pile. Adding a layer of sawdust/paper shreds/soil works wonders to keep pesky bugs out of your compost pile.

Why is my compost full of flies?

You’ll see a lot of flies in your compost bin if you’ve kept the lid open for too long. Compost has their food so it’s natural that you see those flies.

Rotten/rotting fruits attract fruit flies. If you want to compost rotten fruits bury them deep inside the compost pile.

You can keep most of the flies out of your compost if you use a wire mesh. You need to ventilate your compost bin while making sure flies don’t get in.

Tip: Make sure the lid of the compost bin is tight.

What are the tiny flies in my compost?

The tiny flies you see in your compost are Vinegar flies/Drosophila. They are often referred to as the ‘small fruit flies’.

Mold that forms on the rotten fruits attracts fruit flies.

Should there be flies in my compost?

If you maintain your compost bin properly you shouldn’t see any flies in it. Check the lid and make sure the rotten fruits are covered in soil.

Are vinegar flies good for compost?

Some people find vinegar flies to be a nuisance but they aren’t that harmful. They only appear in compost bins that are maintained poorly.

They just feed on the rotting fruits. You can keep them away if you don’t want them around your garden.

How to get rid of compost flies/gnats?

If you want to get rid of flies in your compost bin, cover the material that attracts them. Rotten fruits attract fruit flies.

If the pile is new you can cover the rotten fruits/meat/bones with a layer of soil. If you add waste to the pile often there are other ways to cover the rotten fruits.

  • Add a layer of dead leaves above the rotten fruits. You can collect dead leaves from your landscape beds daily.
  • Adding a layer of paper shreds above the rotten fruits works well too.
  • If the soil is alkaline, add a layer of pine straw above the rotten fruits. Pine straw acidifies your compost pile.
  • To get rid of vinegar flies, take a bowl of apple cider vinegar and add a dash of dishwashing liquid. The liquid attracts them but it also drowns the vinegar flies.

Is it ok to have maggots in my compost?

Maggots/Grubs are actually helpful as they help in the process of composting. Maggots are seen in the compost when the compost bin loses balance.

Grubs in compost good or bad?

There are various types of grubs/maggots. The most common type of maggots is the larval form of Black soldier fly.

When your compost pile has more greens than browns, the conditions become favorable to maggots. Try to add more greens to the compost if you don’t want grubs in it.

Rhinoceros grub worms in compost

Rhinoceros grubs are the larval forms of Rhinoceros beetles. They are not harmful to the compost or humans in any way.

Rhinoceros grubs help decompose the organic matter in the compost pile. They may look disgusting but they are actually helpful to you.

Are maggots good for compost?

Yes, maggots are good for your compost pile. Your compost pile decomposes faster if there are maggots in it. Let them thrive as they are just beneficial to your compost pile.

How to get rid of Maggots/Grubs in the compost bin?

As I said maggots/grub worms aren’t harmful to you or the compost pile in any way. They are in there for the food and in return, they break down the compost for you.

Do they look disgusting? There are various ways to get rid of Maggots/Grubs from your compost bin.

  • Cover your compost pile with a wire mesh to keep flies from laying eggs inside the compost pile.
  • Greens attract maggots, so add more browns to balance your compost pile. You can do this by adding dead leaves, sawdust or paper shreds.
  • If you want to get rid of maggots that are thriving already add lime to the compost pile.

Tip: Let maggots thrive if there are only a few.

Pillbugs/Isopods in compost

Pillbugs are related to woodlice and they can roll themselves into a tight ball when disturbed. This is the reason why they are also called Rolly Pollies.

Are Rolly Pollies good for compost?

Yes, Rolly pollies are good for compost. They do not harm your compost pile in any way. Rolly pollies are a common sight in compost piles.

Rolly pollies do not bite humans and these aren’t harmful to plants too. They help break down the organic matter in the compost pile.

Rolly pollies feed on the decaying organic matter and speed up the process of composting. Just make sure to turn your compost pile often.

How often should I turn my compost?

Flip your compost pile inside out once a week. By following this procedure you may ensure that every rolly polly in the compost pile gets equal opportunity.

Tip: A compost turner is a helpful tool to manage your compost pile.

Shovel the outer portion of the compost pile towards the center. Get rid of them only if there’s a severe infestation of Rolly pollies as they can devour seedlings.

Springtails in compost

Springtails are tiny insects without a flying ability. They jump when they are disturbed. They are not easily visible to the naked eye.

Springtails are found in large populations in a compost pile. They feed on insect carcasses and excrement although their main meal is decaying plant material.

Springtails chew on nematodes and decomposing plant material. They are not harmful to your compost pile. Most types of springtails are not harmful to your garden plants either.

Some varieties of springtails chew the leaves of plants. They thrive in wet conditions. You can stop their spread if you enhance soil drainage.

Mites in compost

Many types of mites can be found in the compost pile, most of them are beneficial. One needs to be wary of the Earthworm mite.

Earthworm mites are reddish-brown in color and can be found on decaying fruits. They deprive earthworms of their primary food.

There are also tiny red mites. They like to feed on earthworms. They have sharp mouthparts that are designed to devour earthworms and their eggs.

Red mites first appear as white/gray outgrowths near mold. Here are some ways to get rid of these harmful mites from your compost pile.

  • Keep your compost moist.
  • Scorch the top layer of compost to kill these harmful mites.
  • Add a layer of sweet fruits, let the mites gather on these fruits. Dispose of these fruits once enough mites gather on them.
  • Expose the compost pile to the sun for a couple of hours daily.
  • Add some food-grade diatomaceous earth to the compost pile to get rid of these mites without harming the earthworms.

Bugs in the kitchen compost bin

It is natural to have bugs in the kitchen compost bin too. What matters is the kind of bugs that are present in the bin.

The most common types of insects you see are vinegar flies and houseflies. They get attracted by the decomposing organic matter.

Maggots in kitchen compost bin

It’s quite natural to have maggots in the kitchen compost bin. They are there to help with the composting process, so don’t panic.

They just speed up the process. You can prevent them by covering the compost pile with wire mesh.

Many types of bugs you see in the compost pile are beneficial to the compost bin. There are only a few which could be harmful.

Happy Composting 🙂