savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

Maggots in compost

Hello,
I just started a new compost not to long ago
in a plastic bin, I have mostly food scraps some grass clippings,and shredded newspapers,some leaves, I was having a problem with ants ,they still come around ,but then I started seeing mosquito larve in the water from when it rains around the bottom tray..I am thinking I do not have enough holes?
I was wondering if my compost is done with?
should I just bury it and start over?
or will the maggots go fly out when they turn?
I am also guessing my bin is to wet from all the rain
any advice would be appreciated

thanks!!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I am not quite getting the picture of what your set up is. You mentioned a plastic bin and then you mentioned the bottom tray. Is the tray part of the bin? Is the bin sitting in a tray? Anyway you should NOT have standing water. More holes or whatever else you need to do to increase the drainage and/or cover the bin or whatever. You are right too wet.

Then you mentioned mosquito larvae and then maggots. Those are not the same thing. Mosquito larvae obviously turn into mosquitos. Maggots turn into various kinds of flies. Mosquito larvae live in water. Maggots live in and eat decomposing stuff like unfinished compost. You don't want to have mosquito larvae. You don't mind having maggots, which will go away once the compost is finished and there is nothing more for them to eat.

Add drainage, turn the compost, add some extra leaves, it will probably be fine...

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Insufficient Data

..

Not enough info. What's in the bin? How much is in the bin? How old is the stuff in the bin? How big is the bin? Worm bin? What does the bin look like? On the ground? Covered (apparently not)?

The link below hasn't been updated in a while but maybe there's a live contact somewhere there. It's from Sarasota Florida. Good basic info otherwise and easy to follow and understand.

https://www.compostinfo.com/

..

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

It is an 18 gallon plastic bin sitting in a tray
when it rains water sits in the tray ..I empty it ,but I have seen mosquito larvae in the water , the maggots are in the actual compost . I do turn the compost, maybe some extra holes and leaves?
only vegetable sourced food scraps are in the bin along with recycled newspapers & other recycled paper, a little bit of leaves and twigs from the yard and some grass clippings, I just started it at the beginning of the month.. it is on the ground sitting on the tray and with a cover.

not sure what to do ...

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

get rid of the tray

..

Get rid of the tray and get it out of the rain - just cover it from the rain. It's OK if it sits on the ground. It may discolor a wood deck. The stains on my concrete are usually gone by the end of the rainy season.

18 gallons is kind of small. Others know how to deal with that scale better than I. I come from a school of thought where that's just too small.

I'm betting you've got way too much moisture. Getting it out of the rain or just under cover from the rain will let you control the moisture better. You can mitigate things by mixing dry brown stuff like leaves or shredded paper just to name a couple of typically handy things. But it's hard to say because you may already have a lot of browns in the mix.

Without knowing what else you chucked in there, if you do nothing else, ramp down the moisture and keep turning and it will right itself in time. Right now it sounds real wet and in danger of going anaerobic. You'll know it gone anaerobic from the sewer like smells.

Check out the link from my previous message. It should talk about the mixing of ingredients and if I remember correctly, things to do for certain symptoms.

..

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

Re: get rid of the tray

I am not in a position to get it out of the rain , I do have the lid on it..
after it rains there is moisture inside the bin, yes it is small but it is something I was able to get away with to start..
I could put it in the grass without the tray
really what is in there are fruit and veggie scraps
hand shredded papers some leaves some twigs, not to many leaves or twigs I am not sure what kinds to put in there , I did read some plants are poisonous so that concerns me, I will keep turning it, it might already be anaerobic , I am considering burying it and starting over with more leaves and browns on the bottom maybe even some dirt from the ground...thanks for the reply


rot wrote:..

Get rid of the tray and get it out of the rain - just cover it from the rain. It's OK if it sits on the ground. It may discolor a wood deck. The stains on my concrete are usually gone by the end of the rainy season.

18 gallons is kind of small. Others know how to deal with that scale better than I. I come from a school of thought where that's just too small.

I'm betting you've got way too much moisture. Getting it out of the rain or just under cover from the rain will let you control the moisture better. You can mitigate things by mixing dry brown stuff like leaves or shredded paper just to name a couple of typically handy things. But it's hard to say because you may already have a lot of browns in the mix.

Without knowing what else you chucked in there, if you do nothing else, ramp down the moisture and keep turning and it will right itself in time. Right now it sounds real wet and in danger of going anaerobic. You'll know it gone anaerobic from the sewer like smells.

Check out the link from my previous message. It should talk about the mixing of ingredients and if I remember correctly, things to do for certain symptoms.

..

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

here are some pics

Here are some pics of the compost bin, the inside, the maggots etc
I moved the compost inside around and turned it to take pics, I am thinking about burying it and starting over, just not sure, it is definitely wet!

[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4027.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4029.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4025.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4023.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4024.jpg[/img]

GeorgiaGirl
Senior Member
Posts: 228
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:08 pm
Location: Metro Atlanta, GA (zone 7)

Eek, you need some air holes in that thing! Compost needs good ventilation. Also, as others suggested, mix some browns (dead leaves, straw, etc.) into it. You don't have to trash it and start over, but definitely get it directly onto the ground and drill a bunch of ventilation holes in that container (or just buy some cheap chicken wire, make a circle of it directly onto the ground, and use that instead).
Julia in Georgia

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

eeek...okay!
does it matter what kind of leaves go in I read something about not putting to much pine leaves and some are poisonous well the live plant was does that matter?

GeorgiaGirl wrote:Eek, you need some air holes in that thing! Compost needs good ventilation. Also, as others suggested, mix some browns (dead leaves, straw, etc.) into it. You don't have to trash it and start over, but definitely get it directly onto the ground and drill a bunch of ventilation holes in that container (or just buy some cheap chicken wire, make a circle of it directly onto the ground, and use that instead).

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Pine needles are acidic and slow to break down, so you wouldn't want lots in your pile. You don't really need to worry about whether some plant might be toxic or not, as long as you aren't filling your pile up with one kind of thing. The key to composting (one of them!) is diversity. In general you don't want your pile to me more than 10% any one thing (where one thing doesn't mean leaves, that's a category, it means e.g. maple leaves). The stuff is going to be in there for months, worked on by heat, cold, bacteria, fungi, insects, and other creepy crawlies... the toxins will break down.

But you'd really be better off ditching the plastic bin and starting over with chicken wire, wooden pallets, concrete blocks (the kinds with holes in the sides) or anything else with lots more ventilation. Lots of that stuff is available from freecyle.

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

how do you know how much percent of what ?
10% of one thing 10% of another , just eyeball it?

I do not have much choice I am restricted to what I am able to use as a bin so I found a compromise and heard it works
I added a bunch of holes today I am going to find leaves or hay somewhere and add it in mix it up and see what happens from there hopefully I can turn this thing around and make it compost correctly...
if it doesnt seems to work or gets worse I plan to start over with a bunch more leaves ...can throwing some of the soil from the ground in there help?
here it is more sandy I am in central florida...
thanks for all the help everyone!



rainbowgardener wrote:Pine needles are acidic and slow to break down,
so you wouldn't want lots in your pile. You don't really need to worry about whether some plant might be toxic or not, as long as you aren't filling your pile up with one kind of thing. The key to composting (one of them!) is diversity. In general you don't want your pile to me more than 10% any one thing (where one thing doesn't mean leaves, that's a category, it means e.g. maple leaves). The stuff is going to be in there for months, worked on by heat, cold, bacteria, fungi, insects, and other creepy crawlies... the toxins will break down.

But you'd really be better off ditching the plastic bin and starting over with chicken wire, wooden pallets, concrete blocks (the kinds with holes in the sides) or anything else with lots more ventilation. Lots of that stuff is available from freecyle.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

definitely eyeball, it's not rocket science. The point is just diversity and don't fill your pile up with all one thing, whatever the thing is, some leaves, some kitchen scraps, some weeds, some manure if you can get it, some shredded paper....

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

I discard a lot of kitchen scraps I am going to try to get some leaves and some different things to try to throw in there , I am doing without manure cause I want it all plant based..I appreciate the feedback

-Andrew


rainbowgardener wrote:definitely eyeball, it's not rocket science. The point is just diversity and don't fill your pile up with all one thing, whatever the thing is, some leaves, some kitchen scraps, some weeds, some manure if you can get it, some shredded paper....

GeorgiaGirl
Senior Member
Posts: 228
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:08 pm
Location: Metro Atlanta, GA (zone 7)

if it doesnt seems to work or gets worse I plan to start over with a bunch more leaves ...can throwing some of the soil from the ground in there help?
Don't worry, it will work! :) Adding leaves, and DEFINITELY adding some soil from the ground (especially if you can dig up a handful near a forested area), along with the extra ventilation holes, will all make a wonderful difference, so you're on the right track.

It may smell for a few days and the maggots may not go away completely, but that's okay! Keep mixing in your kitchen scraps and leaves or wheat straw, and it will break down into wonderful compost over time.
Julia in Georgia

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

I added some soil 2 scoops,some dead/dried twigs, some leaves there doesn't seem to be to many leaves around I don't know why!!
I might goto a trail and just pick a bunch up I pulled a few pine twigs down going to let them dry out and add them..hopefully it turns around
I have it on the grass without a tray on the bottom now..more leaves are my next mission!
thank you...very much!



GeorgiaGirl wrote:
if it doesnt seems to work or gets worse I plan to start over with a bunch more leaves ...can throwing some of the soil from the ground in there help?
Don't worry, it will work! :) Adding leaves, and DEFINITELY adding some soil from the ground (especially if you can dig up a handful near a forested area), along with the extra ventilation holes, will all make a wonderful difference, so you're on the right track.

It may smell for a few days and the maggots may not go away completely, but that's okay! Keep mixing in your kitchen scraps and leaves or wheat straw, and it will break down into wonderful compost over time.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Let's hold the pine twigs; pine is heavy in in the chemical terpene (what turpentine comes from) which arrests composts hard (I've heard it called pine poisoning). My compost from under the pines is mostly what I use for mulch around my mixed and shrub beds and it does not finish well but is more fungal; veggies and flowers get bacterial composts (more grass and kitchen leavings). Deciduous leaves or even shredded paper are definitely the things to go for now, along with some air; we'll leave fancy fungal compostin' for AFTER we get rid of maggots and nasty wet anaerobic stuff...

HG
Scott Reil

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

improvements

I did get some pines but I have not added them yet, I went out and collected a bag full of all sorts of leaves,bark,from the forest ground some from trees whose leaves are brown, and some hay, I did happen to get some brown pine leaves in the process though, they are everywhere kind of hard to pick them out..I won't add the pine I have collected separately I have also added holes all around and on the bottom of the bin..here are some improvement pics

[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4053.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4054.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4055.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a358/oipunkskaboyoi/HPIM4052.jpg[/img]

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Looks good!

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

Thanks!
I hope it re-establishes itself...
rainbowgardener wrote:Looks good!

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

upate

Hello all..

just posting an update on my compost
I still have some maggots, I do tend to have white and brown ones so I assume I have the house fly and the black solider..if that's possible!
they kind of stay on the bottom and return there after I turn it
I do have millions of ants and now also wasp that go in and out of the holes
I have added more leaves and hay as well in layers and then mixing it up every few days or more
not sure what to do to minimize the ants and wasp,different kinds!
I had to move from concrete to grass as ants were all around the concrete
that's where its at now
I will browse the forum to see if anyone has had these issues
thank you!

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I wouldn't get to excited about maggots. A compost should be a living breathing entity. And the more insect life you have in it, The better. What you'll get is microbes and macrobes feeding on the plant matter and then other macrobes (insects and other animals) will feed on the microbes and macrobes feeding on the plant matter.

So, this is a good thing.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

I am not sure what kind of wasp they are..ants I can deal with
maggots I am sure are still there but I added tons of browns, the wasp might be yellow jackets, or feed on BSF's they are yellow and black
I just don't want to get stung really, every time I take the lid off they go crazy!


opabinia51 wrote:I wouldn't get to excited about maggots. A compost should be a living breathing entity. And the more insect life you have in it, The better. What you'll get is microbes and macrobes feeding on the plant matter and then other macrobes (insects and other animals) will feed on the microbes and macrobes feeding on the plant matter.

So, this is a good thing.

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

good news bad news

..

The good news is that wasps, including yellow jackets, will clean up all the other insect pests you might have. No need for bug spray.

The bad news is once the yellow jackets finish cleaning up your yard, give it about two weeks I'm told, they're gonna get mean looking for food in other places. That means your soda and any other food you might have outside.

Just to be on the safe side, move your little bin away from the house. They will move on in time. The contents of the bin will compost in time if you do nothing else.

I believe you should connect locally for advice. Check with the local master gardeners and if they don't have composting expertise, they will know someone who does.

Personally I dread and hope for a nest of yellow jackets or bees. Bees for pollination and wasps for pest control. I'm not sure if it's something I can handle and I don't think it's for everyone.

For my sensibilities, I would be perfectly content to maybe move the bin from the house and wait and see. I can only expect that it might be too much for some. This composting, this bio-remediation, only works if it works for you. If it's not working for you then change is in order only I don't have the local smarts to tell you how to handle this one.

A Florida composting website: https://www.compostinfo.com/

Thanks for the update.

..

savetheworld
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:02 pm
Location: Florida

Re: good news bad news

we do have a master gardener and gardeners extensions with the university of Florida which has a plethora of information I will ask them as well.

I think I am going to try to get a picture just to show, there are a bunch now, the bin is out side,we don't eat out there.
hopefully they will move on, there seems to be at least 20
are they eating insects in the bin or the scraps as well?
or mating?
do you know?

this is all an experiment for me..so I am definitely learning as I go
thanks!



rot wrote:..

The good news is that wasps, including yellow jackets, will clean up all the other insect pests you might have. No need for bug spray.

The bad news is once the yellow jackets finish cleaning up your yard, give it about two weeks I'm told, they're gonna get mean looking for food in other places. That means your soda and any other food you might have outside.

Just to be on the safe side, move your little bin away from the house. They will move on in time. The contents of the bin will compost in time if you do nothing else.

I believe you should connect locally for advice. Check with the local master gardeners and if they don't have composting expertise, they will know someone who does.

Personally I dread and hope for a nest of yellow jackets or bees. Bees for pollination and wasps for pest control. I'm not sure if it's something I can handle and I don't think it's for everyone.

For my sensibilities, I would be perfectly content to maybe move the bin from the house and wait and see. I can only expect that it might be too much for some. This composting, this bio-remediation, only works if it works for you. If it's not working for you then change is in order only I don't have the local smarts to tell you how to handle this one.

A Florida composting website: https://www.compostinfo.com/

Thanks for the update.

..

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

It's the kids I think

..

I don't know that much about wasps and such to really expound. I believe the big sting comes from the larval form. If I understand things right, some will sting their pray and leave eggs. The eggs will hatch and devour the host. Others will leave their eggs on or in plants. The larvae hatch and come out hungry. I believe certain figs rely on certain wasps to reproduce.

Pure Speculation: Yellow Jackets are getting sugars out of the moist bin. Maybe yellow jacket like wasp things that don't nest are leaving eggs behind. Eggs hatch and larvae feed on the critters dining there. Larvae grow up to be wasps. Wasps leave eggs and so on.

I betcha the master gardener types will know all about it. Apparently about the only thing that doesn't thrive somewhere in Florida are the polar bears.

Less than two cents I'm afraid.

..

Return to “Composting Forum”