So you’ve found maggots (larvae of flies; whitish to transparent worm-like organisms) in your kitchen compost bins and wondering how they got there. You are at the right place. The more important part is how to deal with them.
Maggots can enter kitchen compost bins for various reasons, like food waste in the bin, too many greens, or wrong temperature. Maggots break down organic matter in the compost, but if the temperature is too cold, they can’t function but keep multiplying.
Let’s check out the most effective solutions to deal with maggots in the kitchen compost bin!
Solutions to Deal with Maggots in Compost Bin
A maggot attack on kitchen compost can escalate to a serious problem if they fly out of the bin. Hence, dealing with excessive maggots as soon as possible is important.
Keep your Bucket in a Cool Location
Maggots multiply when kept at warmer temperatures. Move your bucket to a cooler location, like under the sink, counter, or a cool spot in your kitchen where sunlight doesn’t directly shine on the bin. This method may reduce the decomposition rate due to lower temperatures.
Freeze Compost Scraps
This one’s particularly useful for people who get scraps picked up periodically. Maggots don’t grow in frozen food waste. You can use small plastic bags to freeze organic waste. However, this is a time taking process, and your freezer won’t have much space all the time.
Increase Brown Content
Maggots grow in a warm and moist environment. Increasing the brown content ratio in the bin can limit maggot growth. Things like ripped-up cardboard, paper, toilet paper tubes, or used paper towels absorb the moisture and stop maggot breeding.
Use Compostable Bags to Collect Food Scrapes
Maggots love food waste as it provides them with food. Reduce the food waste in your compost bin, or you can also put it in compostable bags. The bags limit the oxygen needed by maggots to grow and multiply.
However, it will increase the composting time by slowing the decomposition rate. It makes it tough for flies to lay eggs in compost bins.
Keep the Compost Bins Clean
Flies and maggots love dirty places. Most people don’t clean the compost bin regularly, making it smell awful. You must clean the bins once you empty them. A simple wipe with a paper towel or wash it with clean water helps keep the bins clean and germ-free.
Don’t open your Bin too much
Limit your compost bins’ opening and closing frequency to keep flies away. Maggots are fly larvae; if you don’t let flies enter the bin, they won’t lay eggs.
What to do for Compost Bins with holes? Many compost bins, especially DIY bins, have numerous holes for airflow. You can install a mesh screen around the bins to keep maggots away. Select a mesh that doesn’t allow flies to pass through.
Use Electric Composters
Electric or smart composters are in vogue. They compost quickly because they maintain a constant internal environment required for composting. However, you must remove the contents once the waste has been transformed. Moreover, organic waste in electric composters must not stay there for more than 24 hours.
Avoid Composting Fat/Meat/Dairy
Meat, dairy, and fat take a long time to break down. Hence, they stay longer in compost bins and attract flies, ultimately turning your compost bin into a maggot breeding ground. It is better not to add such things in compost bins; instead, you can send them to municipality bins.
Add some Vinegar/Citrus Fruit
Vinegar is acidic and keeps flies and maggots away by creating an acidic environment. However, you must only add ¼ teaspoon of vinegar for every 5 pounds of material in the bin.
Adding some citrus fruits or peels has the same impact. You can also add pine needles, but they take too much time to decompose.
Add lime in a measured amount to speed up the composting process; it leaves less food for maggots. Please be careful; too much lime will increase the pile’s pH and slow composting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are maggots good for composting?
Yes. Maggots are more than good for compositing. Maggots increase the decomposition rate and speed up the compositing process.
You must not remove maggots from composting if you are okay with their appearance, smell, and sound.
You may be surprised that many composting facilities intentionally use black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) in a process known as grub composting. Moreover, the black soldier doesn’t carry disease.
How to get rid of maggots in outdoor compost tumblers?
Compost tumblers are typically enclosed composting systems, but they have holes for airflow. Moreover, flies can find their way through pretty much anything. You can use a mesh screen to cover these holes. The above methods also work for compost tumblers.
However, if your tumbler has hundreds of maggots, it is a good idea to remove the compost, clean it, and start compositing from scratch.
Will maggots fill my house with flies?
It takes 3-4 weeks for maggots to become an adult fly. Hence, it is unlikely that flies will enter your house from compost bins even if you have biweekly pickups. Flies may get to your house if you leave the compost bin open and go somewhere for 1-2 months.