Grubs in my composter

FishingGardenerSeptember 11, 2011

Our composter has a very large population of grubs. I'm noexpert on bugs but googling indicates they might be black soldier fly larvae. The primary inputs to our composter are kitchen scraps and grass clippings. We don't get much browns except in winter and late fall when we can get leaves. It also gets small amounts of paper (napkins, mostly).

These larvae swarm any kitchen scraps thrown in and reduce them to nothing in just a day or two. There are so many I can hear them if I put my head right over the composter. Our composter used to contain hundreds, probably thousands of redworms,such that I never had to buy any for fishing. This year there are very few worms and more of those larvae than any other year. The compost below the top levels is dark colored and smelly.

They gross my wife out and she keeps wanting to dig a big hole and bury the compost and start over. I keep telling her I don't think we need to and so far that's kept her at bay.

If these are BSFL, I gather they aren't harmful but my wife would rather not have them. Is there anything that will get rid of them without otherwise harming the compost, the worms, or making it unsuitable as fertilizer for a vegetable garden? That probably restricts it to an organic solution, or something nearly organic.

Photo is attached. They are on top of a napkin inside the shell or a large kabocha. Longest ones are about 3/4 of an inch, shortest ones are about 1/4 of an inch.

Thanks for any info!

Image link:

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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I know a woman who lets her chickens eat them. I heard wasp's work also. But I think the best bet is to remove them by hand. I would think the chickens would eat the worms also.

They are beneficial to the pile anyways. So I think leaving them would be OK

http://insects.tamu.edu/extension/publications/epubs/eee_00001.cfm

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 2:16PM
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priswell(9 CA)

Technically, Black Fly Larvae (BSF) will not harm red worms. However, the conditions that BSF like are not the same conditions that the red worms like.

BSF are prolific when there is too much water and/or too much food in a bin for the worms. Reduce the amount of food going into the bin and back off of the water added. Most people that ask me about this issue also see improvement when they stop blending any food inputs, as well.

Add more carbon based fiber, such as coir, paper or straw.

Since you fish, though, you might find it interesting that fish love BSF, and some are finding a booming business selling BSF to fishermen.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:29PM
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