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Insects Serve a Purpose in Your Compost Pile

Updated on October 31, 2020
bravewarrior profile image

Shauna strives to help the environment by utilizing green methods, rather than chemicals, in the home and the landscape.

Garbage can compost after 6 months
Garbage can compost after 6 months | Source
Whirlwind Blue re-potted with garbage can compost
Whirlwind Blue re-potted with garbage can compost | Source
Catalina Midnight Blue re-potted with garbage can compost
Catalina Midnight Blue re-potted with garbage can compost | Source

Not too long ago, a friend asked me what to do about bugs getting into the compost pile. Believe it or not, bugs are actually vital to the decomposition process.

Insects are as much a part of the food chain as are plants, birds, animals and even humans. Several species of insects are attracted to the typical compost components. These busy little critters range in size from microscopic to the more familiar roly polys and snails, among others. Each species goes about the task of exercising their role in the natural scheme of things, in order to do their part in transforming the components of your compost pile into the course, crumbly mixture which will eventually become nutrition for your garden. Yes, folks, bugs are good and should be left alone to go about their business! In fact, when hand picking slugs or other pests from your plants, throw them in the compost pile and let them join the party.

If you're finding bugs that give you the heebie jeebies, such as cockroaches and palmetto bugs in your compost, it's probably due to the mix being too wet or not stirring up the pot, so to speak, each time you add material, especially food scraps. Make sure you add brown material (newspaper, etc.) in addition to green material and mix thoroughly from bottom to top with each addition to help with distribution. And if the "icky" bugs persist, don't worry about it, they'll skidaddle as soon as you open the lid. They don't like you any more than you like them!


The Role Bugs Play in the Compost Pile

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Shauna L Bowling

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    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      I can see how that would be a concern. I had my compost in a 50-gallon drum that an engineer friend made for me. It has since rusted out, so I'll be buying myself a new one for Christmas. This time it'll be made of heavy duty plastic so it'll last.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      My dad used to do compost heaps, and the one thing he was scared of was the hedgehogs that seemed to think he made it for their benefits! lol!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Crafty, that is pretty awesome! My compost is contained, so I've not had anything sprout in it. I now have a 50 gallon drum that a friend of mine turned into a compost bin for me. It's pretty cool. He set it on rollers so I can toss the mix without much effort. I love it. In fact, I should go check on it and see how it's doing!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 

      7 years ago

      We compost too and I've never noticed a bug problem per say, but we live in the north. What I find interesting every year is all the plants that sprout in the garden from the compost materials....not something we intentionally planted. I've had whole areas of pumpkins, squash, even watermelon sprout like that. It's pretty awesome!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      Moonlake, I know how to combat animals from coming into your garden, but it involves pee from predators. I don't think bears have natural predators, do they?

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      8 years ago from America

      Enjoyed your composting tips. I love to compost it's so good for the garden but the bears also love compost. Voted Up.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you, Spy. I'm glad you're getting something out of them!

    • unknown spy profile image

      Life Under Construction 

      9 years ago from Neverland

      your green tips are always amazing and you have very good tips brave.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you! I've not posted an "infommercial" in a while. I've been sending out more of my creative writings. That's probably not the way to make money on HP, but I love the opportunity to put my heartfelt pieces before the public and I've become exposed to the most wonderful poets and "thinkers"!

      I look forward to more of your hubs!

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 

      9 years ago

      You write very well as you give out information. Great hub

    • profile image

      Linda Miles 

      9 years ago

      Great information & really liked the format & humor.

    • profile image

      Barney B 

      9 years ago

      When I was a kid, right after kids were invented, that is how and where we got our worms to go fish with. It was not for sport, but for food.

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