Did you know that May 29th is Learn About Composting Day? Neither did we, but we thought it was a great opportunity to address a buggy composting subject. Compost is decomposing food and debris so it’s naturally going to attract bugs. Some are going to be good for the process, while others create major problems for your compost.
Helpful Compost Bugs
Good bugs do three great things for compost. First off, they aerate the pile as they work their way through eating the goodness. Second, their eating can actually be vigorous enough to warm the pile up, which helps in the passive composting process that most people practice. Finally, they excrete after they eat. While this sounds gross it’s a huge benefit to the compost pile because the excretions increase the bacteria and fungal counts, speeding the degradation process along.
Isopods – These are more commonly called roly polys, and once they find a compost pile they’ll make it their permanent home.
Black Soldier Flies and Larvae – Unlike other fly species, black soldier flies don’t carry diseases or become a nuisance. For the most part they just hang around the compost pile helping the process along.
Worms – Ok, so technically they aren’t bugs, but many people lump worms into the garden pest category. When it comes to compost, no creature works harder than worms to turn and aerate the pile.
There are lots of bugs that benefit your compost, but the three above have practically no drawbacks. You don’t have to do anything special to attract these good bugs. They’ll naturally be attracted to the dark, moist compost matter. Build it, and they will come.
Harmful Compost Bugs
Bad bugs are attracted to compost just as much as their good counterparts. The only difference is these guys can hold back your pile and the rest of your garden.
Centipedes – These guys set the composting process back because they prey on the other bugs in the pile that are doing all the work.
Spiders – Eight-legged, creepy crawlies will do the same kind of damage as the centipedes.
Bees – These stingy insects could be attracted to the decomposing food in your pile, but they won’t do anything to aid your compost. In fact, they could be an annoying deterrent that makes it difficult to do your composting.
Ants – Ants are in the same category as bees. They do nothing but get in the way.
Houseflies – It’s a given that flies are going to be attracted to the waste in the compost. They help the composting process, but these flies can be very annoying and even carry diseases.
There are two bugs that can help your compost pile, but can be bothersome in the rest of your garden. Beetles and slugs are great if you can contain them, however, that can be hard to do once the grubs start multiplying in the pile. Keep an eye out for these guys and consider plucking them from your compost.
If bad bugs get out of control in your compost pile, give Vulcan Termite and Pest Control, Inc. a call. We’ll help you identify which insects are helping your compost and get rid of the bad ones before they do too much damage.
Image Source: www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/8261570159