Maggots in my Compost Heap??? Help!

Hi! I have a compost heap that I keep in a tin garbage can. I don't put meat or dairy products in it, just stuff like banana peels, spoiled vegitables, bread crumbs, etc.
However, about a week ago, I noticed that the top of the compost heap had _congealed_ into the consistency of very wet mud (even though it hadn't rained in many days), and crawling around in this muck were what appeared to be thousands of maggots. But, unlike most maggots I've seen, these were huge . . . some being perhaps the width of a pencil, but not as round, and about an inch long.
So, I'm wondering, what are these things? Regardless, should I just leave them alone because, as disgusting as they look, they're nonethelss making compost out of my garbage? Or should I kill them, and, if so, how? Is there some organic solution I can put in the compost, like vinegar or salt or whatever to get rid of them?
Yuck.
SKB
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (CajunUSA) wrote:

Big honkin' soldier fly maggots, or "spikes," sometimes used as live bait for fishing, otherwise kind of nasty to ponder. They have naturalized in the Pacific Northwest & probably elsewhere, originally from Europe.
They're not necessarily doing any harm; they help break down the compost & innoculate the compost with beneficial microorganisms. But they're still nasty seeming, & they tend to go after nasty damp soggy rotten parts of compost that wouldn't exist if the compost was properly stirred & aerated so that it maintainted a good hot temperature.
Soldier fly maggots don't usually go for a well-mixed pile of "greens" & "browns" or anything even close to a wholesome compost. But they do help make an unwholesome compost wholesome in the longrun, with no adverse effect (when the spikes mature into flies they are hardly ever seen, as they don't swarm). If you do nothing about them there'll be no harm done. Soldier flies do no harm & much good to a compost pile or worm bin; do not harm plants; do not harm people; don't even harm worms if they get in a worm bin. But they tend to be attracted to the nastiest rather than the healthiest compost piles, so piles with soldier flies usually smell bad (not because of the soldier flies; they just were attracted to it); & of course they're kind of creepy & not even pet salamanders like to eat them because they're too leathery & apparently taste as nasty as the stuff they live in. So personally I'd want to fix the compost method so that it wouldn't attract soldier flies.
They can can be kept out of compost (even a nasty rotten compost) with nothing more than a thick layer of leaves, or an inch of plain dirt, on top of the pile.
But a healthy properly turned & maintained compost pile should never smell bad, & a pile that doesn't smell bad doesn't attract soldier flies.
As you're using kitchen garbage, you perhaps should set up a worm bin for those, & turn kitchen trash into worm droppings. Not the same as compost but very very healthy for the garden. The hope is that the worms eat up kitchen trash faster than soldier flies can find anything rotted to lay its maggot hordes in, but the bin can also be pretty tightly closed so flies can't get in.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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I get soldier flies in my compost piles and my worm bin, too :>)
Had 'em in all my piles off and on for several years now and can't see they hurt anything at all. If anything, they help...especially if the bin or compost pile is too wet from either rain or too high a percentage of kitchen scraps high in water content.
http://www.happydranch.com/8.html
John
(CajunUSA) wrote:

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Cool. Thanks to all of you for your informative replies.
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On 30 Aug 2004 17:05:14 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (CajunUSA) wrote:
:) So, I'm wondering, what are these things? Regardless, should I just :) leave them alone because, as disgusting as they look, they're :) nonethelss making compost out of my garbage? Or should I kill them, :) and, if so, how? Is there some organic solution I can put in the :) compost, like vinegar or salt or whatever to get rid of them?
They are doing their job...breaking down your organic matter...there are a number of flies that they may be and by continually turning you heap may reduce the excessive wet, that flies may be found in.
Lar. (to e-mail, get rid of the BUGS!!
It is said that the early bird gets the worm, but it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.
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I thought cajun people ate that kind of stuff.
--
Jim Carlock
http://www.microcosmotalk.com /
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On 30 Aug 2004 17:05:14 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (CajunUSA) wrote:

Just leave them be. The larvae are part of the composting process. If you can get your heap to heat up, that will kill the maggots. For example, dump a large pile of grass clipping on the top and you'll see a change in less than a day. Get a book on composting or google a few sites for composting guidelines.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (CajunUSA) wrote in message

Before you get rid of them you had better see if the bass will strike on them.
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