H E L P ! ! !
When I opened the hatch on my above-ground compost tumbler the entire
bottom of the thing was squirming and writhing with what I first took
to be worms. But on closer inspection I believe that these are mostly
some kind of an insect larvae-- possibly cockroaches-- and there are
thousands of them. I really don't want the composter to become the
breeding ground for a pest infestation. Is there anything I can do to
kill the buggars without ruining the compost?
I've used mostly vegetable scraps, rotten fruit and coffee grounds in
The composter is in the shade all of the time. Do you think that
placing it in the sun (It is made of black polypropylene) would cook
What else that's not "mostly"? What you describe is probably
maggots... you probably put some meat in your composter
Composting occurs best with heat, that's why most composters are
black, or of some dark color... place it where it will recieve full
sun. Above ground composters don't work very well regardless,
especially not in zones where freezing occurs.
My neighbor just bought a new above ground tumbler composter
(Autoflow), cost like $600, looks very formidable, but I doubt it will
work very well. Proper composting incorporates mostly micro-organisms
and earthworms, composting really needs contact with the ground,
ideally moist ground.
If what you have is maggots, and you very likely do, then you are not
composting... maggots do not process vegetable matter, only meat.
Whatever vegetable matter you place into that tumbler will just turn
to slime, not compost. I suggest you dump your tumbler composter and
get one that sits on the ground.
I have this one: http://www.composters.com/docs/bins_p4.html#sm
It's the only one I've seen that has a 25 year warranty... most have a
one, two, three year warranty and are built very flimsily... this one
is built very solid. I've been using it about ten years now and it's
just like new. It's so simple but it works like a charm... I just
keep filling it and and it takes care of itself, produces fantastic
jet black humous. I bought one of those aggitating tools but long ago
stopped using it, I do nothing but fill at the top and empty from the
Sits in full sun right next to my vegetable garden:
So far no deer have jumped in, and this is the fifth year since I
fenced that garden. The deer have plenty to eat around here in the
fields, even in winter because the farmers leave plenty of hay in
those huge round bales. And deer are not so dumb to jump into small
enclosed areas, they seem to know if they need a running start to jump
in they'll measure to see if they can get the same running start to
jump out. I actually see them checking out my garden, they go all
around surveying but decide it's not worth the risk.
I may try it, then. I'm tired of caging individual stuff, although it does
keep the rabbits away. I was concerned that if they jumped in, they'd do
more damage by trampling small stuff. This week, it's the daylillies they're
interested in. I just caged them so at least I get to enjoy a few flowers
this year. Last year, they munched all the buds. I have a couple of plants
that are like the common roadside ones, so I'm going to un-cage it today and
hose it down with the foulest smelling onion-garlic stuff in the universe.
Meanwhile, there's a rabbit which I thought was cooking up a way to get
under the cages. But, observation revealed that it's eating one of the
weeds. Lots of them. So for now, the bunny has escaped the stove. For now.
All of my foundation plantings are fenced with 4' turkey wire... I
learned the hard way the first year that left unfenced during winter
the deer munched most of my shrubs down to nubs... some came back but
some needed replacing. All those very expensive smelly deer repellant
sprays, fox piss, bars of soap, human hair, all are myth... only thing
works is a fence... a strand or two of electrified wire won't keep
deer out either, you'd need to elecrify an entire wire fence, so if
you need to install a fence they won't jump over anyway you don't need
to electrify. I fence all my young trees too, some with turkey wire,
others with chicken wire. The rabbits can't get past my turkey wire
but the moles just dig under (for some strange reason they don't go
through the fence holes, turkey wire holes are certainly large enough,
perhaps they don't like surfacing any more then is necessary. They
eat some but I can't be bothered trying to keep everything out or I'll
go nuts, it's the country... as long as they leave enough for me I'm
happy. And then there're the birds, I can't net everything... who
cares if they peck a few holes in a cuke. I'm sure the hawks are
controlling the mole population all day, and the owls all night. The
birds are good, as long as they leave me a crap-free zone in my barn
to park my tractor.
On second thought can you get some fress grass clippings to mix in and
bring the temperature up? No larvae will survive 150+ degrees a hot
compost would make, I am imagining a slimy mess that is too moist
This compost pile sounds nauseating. :-)
For the OP: For obvious reasons, do not scrape the dinner plates into
whatever you use to transport scraps to the composter. No meat juices, no
gravy, no butter, no egg residue, no egg shells (and I don't care what
anybody tells you about this). Just vegetable stuff which has not come into
contact with any of the aforementioned stuff. Besides maggots, the scent of
these things can attract raccoons. They'll even go for banana peels, but why
make it more interesting?
It isn't slimy,and the only non-vegetable matter we've added were some
(well rinsed) eggshells. I'll start by moving the thing into the sun
and put grass clippings in if I can find some clean ones. We used
alot of grass clippings in our compost last year and they must have
had weeds because a lot of weeds turned up in our tomato beds this
year. I've heard that if I can get it hot enough it will sterilize
And if these are maggots, they are the biggest damn maggots I've ever
seen. Some of them are an inch and a half long!!!
Read more carefully. You need ***A MIX*** of green (like grass clippings,
lettuce discards, corn husks) and brown (like dried leaves). Obviously, it
may be hard to find dried leaves at this time of year. So, keep the layers
of grass clippings thin, and intersperse with whatever you can find.
On Sun, 15 Jul 2007 18:27:14 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
Read what more carefully? I've followed the instructions that came
with the composter and it has worked fine in the past (well, except
for those weeds).
And this is SoCal in our driest year in recorded history.
Unfortunately, dead dry leaves are a little too easy to find right
Speaking of "driest year", after you've moved your bin into a
sunny area and added (whatever), don't forget that compost
needs to be kept moist. So after it's been stabilized in its
new location, water it every week or so.
How about pine needles? On my street, everybody hates those trees; if
it isn't the needles it's the seeds and if it isn't the seeds it's the
sap. But in our adobe soil, the acid pine needles are a good additive
to compost, so I do use them.
(also in So.Cal.)
Guessing soldier fly maggots...but they are a sign that meat/grease/fats
found their way in the bin. Hot composting rather than cold composting
will stop much of the insect activity. And as mentioned to much
vegetation from the kitchen table only creates a wet environment so add
leaves/grass clippings/news paper(no color adds).
Roaches have what's called a gradual life cycle...little roaches look
pretty much like adult roaches so you probably would recognize them easy
enough. You probably have something in the fly and gnat family eating
the probably soggy decomposing vegetable matter (such as fruit flies
attacking rotting fruit in the house). I would think you would want your
composter in the sun anyways to help with the composting.
Might be the coffee grounds. We had one of those plastic ice cream tubs next
to the kitchen sink and put the daily coffee grounds in there til it got
full then we dumped them in the compost, and one time after leaving it for
way too long, there were maggots.
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