Bears and Compost Tumblers?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Bears and Compost Tumblers?
Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Friday, July 30, 2010 - 4:42 pm
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If you can't use worms, you might try black soldier fly larvae. I recently did an experiment with a single bucket and in less than one months time the larvae had really made a lot of progress in breaking it down.

Author: Tiva (Tiva)
Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 10:37 am
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Thanks for the feedback. I should have mentioned that I was burying my envirolet results (partially composted, partially dehydrated) into a composting bin, and the bears were indeed getting into it. Our bears seem not to have read the part where they dislike humanure, but maybe the results from the envirolet were different enough from a sawdust toilet that we'd see a difference.

Worms might work further south, but up here on the shores of Lake Superior they're an invasive species that are harming the boreal forest, so as an ecologist I'd have to hang my head in shame if I snuck some into the compost tumbler.

But I bet the very stiff wire might be bear-proof. It's worth a try!

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 8:56 am
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I tried composting with a tumbler with no success. You might be better off trying to use worms in the tumbler. Or better yet worms and black soldier fly larvae together. I've had the bsf larvae move into my worm farms as well as my compost pile this year. They seem to get along very well together. And the bsf larvae are voracious. Just don't tumble it. It would probably make them dizzy.


On a more serious note. My compost pile is made from some wire fencing. The holes are about two inch squares and the stuff is very stiff. I just took a roll about 15 feet or so and secured the ends together. It doesn't have any support but doesn't seem to need it.
However, I have to believe that if a bear really wanted to get into any compost pile, it would be tough keeping him out.

Author: Tiva (Tiva)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 12:59 pm
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Hi-
After 6 years fighting a horrible envirolet composting toilet at my research cabin up on Lake Superior, last week I took it apart and installed a sawdust toilet inside the old envirolet container. I can only fit a 14 L container inside the envirolet box, but that should be fine.

My question has to do with bears. We have a ton of them on our point, and they've gotten pretty fearless about getting into compost piles in particular. I've been using a compost tumbler for my regular food scraps, and the bears leave it alone. I want to try using the compost tumbler for the humanure as well, to minimize bear conflicts, but I'm worried that the tumbler may not have a large enough volume for the humanure.

I added the first bucket full of humanure today, and needed to pile on a very large amount of cover material to stop the smell.
I first tumbled the humanure with the cover material inside the tumbler, rather than burying the humanure into the cover material. This created new smells, so then I added a lot more cover material to kill them smell. For next week's deposits, I will try to bury them inside the mass, rather than mixing it in.

Has anyone successfully composted humanure inside a tumbler?
If so, what steps do you follow? A weekly turn in the tumbler, before you add new material and bury the new humanure inside the old material? Do you reduce the amount of urine added to the pile, to keep moisture levels lower?

Or alternatively, has anyone built a truly bear-proof outside composting pile?

And finally, for materials. I'm using peat moss inside, and outside I'm adding partially rotted birch logs (they worked very well inside the envirolet--they break apart into a rich, humus-like material that stores in buckets very well, and seems to absorb odors well too. I'll also use chopped weeds, and maybe some sawdust from the local sawmill, if they'll let me take a little.

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