compost question - BUGS

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Rowenna7, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

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    I'm planning to make a compost bin hopefully soon. For right now I've been saving my scraps in a bucket. I've noticed that it is getting full of bugs! There are wasps, flies, gnats and who knows what else swarming around it. Is that going to have an effect on the compost, or should I just throw the whole mess out and start once I have an actual bin? I did have a lid on the bucket but it didn't fit very well. I know that a lot of people just have compost piles out in the open, as I am still in town that is not an option for me. I'm mostly wanting the compost for the new garden that I'll be putting in for next year.
     
  2. Rita

    Rita Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I hope you get some good responses as I am having the same problem with a new compost tumbler I bought. Filled with fruit flies and huge orange and black hornets are hanging around so I can hardly open it to put stuff in. One of those big, bad hornets stung my Chihuahua yesterday and wow did she yelp!
     

  3. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

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    Aww...poor chi! Luckily I haven't had any problems with the hornets yet, they just found the bucket today. Not to mention my GSD pup likes to eat hornets. My old GSD always did it too...never seemed to bother her *LOL*

    Ewww, I looked in the bucket and it is full of little fruit fly maggots. Good thing I got it out of the house the other day!!
     
  4. End of the Road

    End of the Road Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you are putting somethings in the pile/bucket you might not want to. I never put any kind of fruit in a pile unless the pile is already good sized and then I dig it into the middle of the pile. I also don't use any thing with bread or pasta (like pizza). Pretty much keep mine to veggies, grass clippings, shredded leaves, a little blood meal, a little bone meal, a little lime. Big stuff like melon rinds I also leave out as well as all meat and dairy products. Fish parts I bury at least 6 inches down in the garden, I never add them to the pile. Never had any bug problems, but I do get plenty of bigggggg juicy earthworms! I had to put chicken wire over the bin to keep out a flock of wild chickens that would tear the pile apart to get to the worms. :D
     
  5. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    At this time of year, any decomposing fruit is going to attract numerous insects. Can't put an apple core in the compost bowl here without a flock of tiny fruit flies showing up within minutes. Yellowjacket wasps are also a nuisance right now around any type of fruit. I figure that they are all just doing their part to help everything break down quicker.

    One thing which will deter those insects is to bury the material deeper into a pile. A layer of dirt barely an inch deep will also stop them. With a tumbler, add more brown material and keep it less wet than in a pile.

    Martin
     
  6. Rita

    Rita Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks Paquebot, The huge hornets/wasps are congregating around where the liquid drips out on the ground so I guess if I "dry it up" they might go away. There are two openings on the sides that I am going to put small pieces of window screen on so I don't get an unpleasant surprise from these big pests when I open the lid. This is a Backyard tumbler, my lst experience with them and I wanted it to be handy to take out kitchen scraps etc. so I didn't mind the small size. Rita
     
  7. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Whenever you put green material into the tumbler or pile, also consider that as being a liquid source. The average water content of most kitchen scraps would be about 90%. If one adds 10 pounds of green material, that's over a gallon of water. I have the big 22 cubic feet ComposTumbler and never need to add water.

    Martin
     
  8. rwinsouthla

    rwinsouthla Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have seen fruit flies and such near the compost pile. I have four piles. Each gets a 5-gal pail of the scraps each week. To keep the flies and other bugs down, I dig a hole, dump the bucket in, and cover it up. When I come back in 4 weeks, everything is compost. I think the liquids seep throughout the remainder of the pile and provide nourishment to the bacteria and worms living in there.

    I'd be worried about the fruit flies if you have your own fruit trees. Digging the hole should keep them down. But if you have fruit that has fallen on the ground, you'll have fruit flies unless you're diligent in keeping it picked up, but that surely isn't worth THAT much work. I just leave mine on the ground.
     
  9. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    My compost pile and squash blossoms had a lot of fruit flies. I put out hummingbird feeders. Now I have hummingbirds.

    Hummingbirds eat fruitflies and other small insects.
     
  10. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

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    A lot of my compost scraps are fruit so I guess that answers my question :) I did add some dead leaves this morning, and now I don't see anything buzzing around. I can't wait until I can get an actual bin set up!
     
  11. Rita

    Rita Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I added more dry/brown material and the fruit flies are gone. Also the last two days have been sunny and hot as opposed to the cloudy cool we have had and I think maybe it got too hot in there for the fruitflies. I can see proper balance is a must though.