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Ants in the Compost Bin Again!

Updated on September 10, 2009

Steps Rid Yourself of Ants in Compost

Ants can be beneficial to the composting process. They are considered macro organisms or physical decomposers because they are able to break down vegetable and fruit scraps for smaller organisms in the decomposition process. Their tunnels promote aeration while they add potassium and phosphorus to the substances in the compost bin.

Still ants can be disliked pests especially when they are nesting in your compost bin. Therefore, there are plenty of actions to take to rid the bin of ants.

Step 1: Water the bin

A large number of ants are typically a sign of a dry compost bin. To improve the contents of the bin and get rid of ants, spray water inside the bin.

After spraying, mix the contents so the water soaks into everything. The substances should feel like a wet sponge when there is enough water. The moisture will repel the ants.

Check the bin periodically to make sure the contents aren’t getting too dry. When they begin to dry, spray and mix the contents again.

Step 2: Bury food

Ants are attracted to food that is exposed. They will quickly come into a bin that has fruit and vegetable scraps left on top.

Cover all food scraps with a large amount of brown material such as newspaper or grass clippings. Ants will be less likely to come into the bin if they are not picking up any scent of food.

Step 3: Mix the compost substances

Ants do not like to be disturbed and once their tunnels and home are crushed multiple times they will depart.

Frequently mix the substances in the compost bin. Initially this should be done 1 to 2 times daily until the ants are gone. Afterward, mix the contents of the bin at least every other day to keep the ants from returning.

Step 4: Heat the bin

Ants live in cooler environments. They will not stay somewhere that is extremely warm.

Covering the opening of the compost bin with a dark tarp or plastic will cause the bin to heat up and retain heat. The ants will quickly leave.

Step 5: Kill ants

Soapy water or water mixed with citrus peels will kill ants and not harm the contents in the compost bin.

To make soapy water, add one teaspoon of liquid soap to a quart of water. Mix the contents then pour over the ant nest or throughout the compost bin.

Citrus water is simply water mixed with orange, lemon, or lime peeling. Let the mixture sit for at least a day to strengthen in acidity. Then pour into the compost bin.

Step 6: Repel future ants

Once the ants are out of the bin, use substances that will keep them away.

Powdered charcoal, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and citrus oil are natural repellants that will deter ants.

Ants will stay away from the compost and these ingredients will not hurt soils or plants when the compost is used.

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