Critters in Compost

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Critters in Compost
Author: Shae
Saturday, June 19, 2004 - 5:50 pm
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I tried to post this already....hope I don't double post. Oh Well.

Anyway, we started this bin last December. It started heating up in April. The highest temp I saw was 112 degrees. By May it had started to cool. Since the end of may I haven't seen temps above 92 degrees or so. Any since the pile has cooled some critters have moved it. I know that that is normal, but I was just alarmed by the population of this particular critter. Hoping someone can tell me if this sounds normal.

The bin is literally about to crawl away with these things. At first I thought they may be maggots because they squirm like maggots. So I started adding more cover material. But now there are more than ever, and I never see flies around the bin. They are brownish....sortof hard segmented covering over the body....like a pill bug.

Is this normal? They seem to be eating the manure as fast as I add it. I'm hoping that they aren't messing up the C/N ratio by doing that.

Thanks,
Shae

Author: The Trouts
Friday, June 25, 2004 - 1:32 pm
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They are likely Black Soldier Fly larvae.

See this link:

http://nespal.cpes.peachnet.edu/sustain/fly.asp

They are not a bad thing - they outcompete housefly larvae for example and are not a nuisance.

They do reduce the mass of your compost, however. I have them in my pile and like the fact that they seem to like to eat cardboard, and paper, as well as manure.

Author: Shae
Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 1:59 am
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That is exactly what they look like. Well, my chickens seem to like them because now all the sudden they are scratching in the pile...having problems keeping them away. I tried ashes and that worked for a day until it rained.

Also, my pile has started heating back up. I'm not sure if the rain did it or if it was because I started digging a depression in the pile to make sure the new stuff was in the center. I had been spreading each new layer evenly over the top for awhile before I remembered that was not the way to do it.

Since the pile has started heating up again, the larva are disappearing...only seen on the top inch or so where the pile is cooler I suppose.

How do the wasps get to the contents in order to lay eggs?

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