Worms are a welcome friend in your compost bin. Not only do they breakdown organic material but they also keep the bacterial population balanced. This will assist you in maintaining an efficient compost process.
Generally, the type of worm that will naturally make its way from your garden into your compost bin is an earthworm. Earthworms are different to the red wriggler and tiger varieties that you may have seen in a worm farm. While still useful in your compost bin, they are a little more sensitive to heat, cold and moisture so you may find that they leave the compost bin in response to smaller changes in their environment.
Black soldier flies
Often confused with blow fly maggots, black soldier fly larvae are: bigger, browner and more segmented. They help break down compost faster, and similar to worms create a nutrient-rich compost. But, they aren’t for everyone.
There’s no easy way to remove them. Just stir more often, add more garden scraps, and they’ll leave in a few weeks.
Blow fly and house fly maggots
Eek - maggots can be a little unsightly but don’t worry, they won’t do any harm. Often confused with black soldier fly larvae, blow fly and house fly maggots are: smaller, lighter in colour, do not darken with age and are less segmented. The presence of maggots suggests that meat or dairy are present. While meat and dairy can be added to cold compost in small amounts, if they are added in large amounts or don’t breakdown quickly enough, blow flies will be attracted by the smell and lay eggs.
To get rid of blow fly maggots, place a piece of bread soaked in milk inside the compost bin overnight. This will attract the maggots, then just pull them all out in the morning.
Don't worry, your compost hasn't been invaded by alien worms. Pot worms are very small, white worms. Often confused with baby red wriggler worms, pot worms are: Only white in colour and do not grow larger than a baby red wriggler worm.
Pot worms prefer a moist, acidic environment. While they won’t harm other worm species and are efficient at aerating soil and breaking down organic material, they may indicate some imbalances in your compost bin.
To reduce a pot worm population, place a piece of bread soaked in milk inside the compost bin overnight. This will attract the pot worms, then just pull them all out in the morning. You can also adjust the moisture and pH levels by adding more brown matter to your compost bin.
While a little pesky, these tiny flies help to decompose organic material in your compost bin.
If their population is getting too high, try the following. While there is no quick fix, this will work to reduce their population as soon as possible!
- Make sure to keep your lid firmly on the compost bin between additions of organic material
- After each addition of organic material, cover your compost with a layer of carbon-rich material
A large mite population commonly indicates that your compost bin is too moist. This may be caused by overwatering, poor drainage or an imbalance between green and brown matter.
To reduce the mite population, try reducing the moisture level in your compost bin. Add brown matter and aerate the compost bin regularly, and minimise the addition of water until the mite population is reduced.
Slugs and snails
Slugs and snails are masters at decomposing organic matter and help break down organic matter in the compost bin. While there is often concern for them laying and spreading their eggs through compost, the eggs will likely be eaten or decompose in the compost.
If they begin taking over, do not add chemical baits. Slugs and snails will generally congregate on the surface of the compost bin. You can try picking them off as well as increasing the amount of brown matter in your compost as slugs and snails prefer a soggier environment.
The presence of ants indicates that your compost bin is dry. Either decrease the amount of dry matter going into your bin or alternatively, you can give your compost a quick hose when you're doing the garden!
Cockroaches hide in warm, dry, still patches. Soak your compost with a hose, then turn and toss thoroughly using your Revolver. Only add garden scraps when you 'Food, Stir, Garden' to avoid dry patches forming.