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Grubs in Compost

Posted by jdmd Maryland, Zone 7 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 3, 08 at 21:29

I started a compost pile last year and noticed that there seemed to be quite a large number of grubs in my compost pile. The grubs seem to be white ranging from 1 to 2 inches. Are these normal and safe to have in my compost. I have heard mixed ideas about these grubs. I have heard that they eat the roots of plants but have also heard that they are beneficail to to the pile. Is it safe to put the composted material into my garden bed with these grubs? I am going to be planting some newly grown plants and want to make sure that these grubs will not kill the plants. Any info is appreciated!
Thankx!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Grubs in Compost

Just a normal part of the process - in some ways even beneficial - and often come up here for discussion. See the linked discussions below for more details.

They are more common in piles that are too wet - depending on the type of grub - beetle or fly. Drying the pile out will eliminate some of them and most can be easily removed when applying the compost to the garden. Grub FAQ

The birds love them so as I find them I just toss them on to an open patch where the birds can easily find them. ;)

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Grubs and compost discussions


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RE: Grubs in Compost

Does logical thought tell you that something that is not good in your lawn magically become something beneficial in your compost pile? If they are not good in your lawn they are not good in compost piles. Grubs are the larva of Scarab beetles, June bugs, Japanese beetles, etc. and many birds relish them as a food so screening them from your compost and putting them where the birds can get them is good. But they are not a good thing in your compost.


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RE: Grubs in Compost

It depends upon the grub. Most are not harmful and some are beneficial to compost.


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RE: Grubs in Compost

No one said they were beneficial to the lawn or garden, kimmsr. But they can be beneficial to the compost pile. Like magic! they tunnel and aereate and eat and digest and poop just like worms and all the other inhabitants of the compost pile.

Sure you don't want them in the garden or lawn but it doesn't follow that you nuke your compost piles because they have grubs in them - regardless of their parentage. ;)

Dave


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RE: Grubs in Compost

As I understand it the grubs that damage grass roots are not related to the grubs that live in compost. The compost ones become butterflies and the lawn ones become beetles.

Also the scarab beetle is one of the most beneficial beetles on Earth. They are a dung processing beetle worshiped for that very fact by the ancient Egyptians.


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RE: Grubs in Compost

The Scarab Beetle family is a very large one consisting of some 120 genra and 1375 species in North America. There are many more worldwide and while under some circumstances they may be beneficial the grubs, the larva of these, eat plant roots, or other forms of organic matter. Simple logic should tell you that if these larva are not good in your lawn they will not suddenly become beneficial in your compost pile.


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RE: Grubs in Compost

Simple logic should tell you that if these larva are not good in your lawn they will not suddenly become beneficial in your compost pile.

That would be a valid argument IF my lawn and my compost piles were the same thing, had the same purposes/functions/structure, and required the same care to thrive.

Otherwise, like most "simple logic", it is logical fallacy. It's no different than the classic IF/THEN fallacy: "If this is a horse and this horse is brown then all horses must be brown and all brown things must be horses."

Sorry kimmsr - it doesn't hold water. Or in this case...grubs. ;)

Dave


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RE: Grubs in Compost

Grubs in my yard or compost on the way to the garden get squashed with a vengeance. POP!

but if they are helping in the pile while i'm adding in materials, so be it. just like any other larvae helping me out, who i'll gladly swat as an adult.


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RE: Grubs in Compost

I started a lasagna garden last fall. This spring when planting I saw the biggest grubs I have ever seen. They are about 2-3 inches long and as big around as my finger. Are these the grubs that are harmful or are they butterfly grubs as mentioned above?


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RE: Grubs in Compost

The really big ones are probably black soldier fly larvae. They are good ones, they don't eat plant roots, they are great composters, BSF larvae poop becomes worm food.


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RE: Grubs in Compost

Like jdmd, I started a compost pile last year and am getting ready to plant a garden with some of my finished product. I was sifting the compost this morning and I am noticing large amounts of small grubs, at least I wonder if they are grubs as they are so much smaller than the fat 1-2" things I've seen before. (see link w/ picture below)

Can I use my compost with these things in my garden (this is the first year for my veggie garden!)? They are so small that I can't imagine that sifting through all the dirt and picking them out by hand to throw to the birds is a very time effective activity. But still, I don't want to lose all my future veggies if these little guys will start eating at them once in the garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: pic of very small grub (or not grub?)


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RE: Grubs in Compost

  • Posted by awyb 10/11 SoCal (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 18, 09 at 15:54

luckyj, is that thing hanging from your finger by a "web" of sorts? if so, that is not a grub at all. and i'll be surprised if it is really all mixed into the finished compost product. it looks to me like an "inch worm" (obviously common name) which came in on some living vegetation recently placed in compost bin. i'm totally with you on not wanting to sift thru to find something *that* small!


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RE: Grubs in Compost

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 18, 09 at 21:11

Monte, from the FAQ:

"Green fruit beetles are, for the most part, good guys. They prefer to feed on decomposing organic material as grubs and overripe or rotting fruit as adults. If you have them in the compost pile they are working hard to break it down for you along with the redworms and other members of your "microherd".

"You can identify them from other more destructive types of grubs fairly easily. They are an off white color changing to a dark grey at the tail end with a reddish brown head. They are considerably larger than most grubs, up to 2" in some cases. Say the size of a small shrimp. If you expose them they will crawl on their backs, legs in the air, to try and rebury themselves. This "upside down" mode of locomotion is specific to this species."

That's pretty specific. So - is that what you have, you think? It says nothing about eating roots.

The first time these grubs found their way into my compost pile, from horse manure I think, they chewed through it, making the best finished compost - as fine-textured as vermicompost.


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RE: Grubs in Compost

My chickens LOVE the grubs. In the spring time while spreading the compost on the garden, I turn the chickens loose. No more grubs, happy chickens.


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