Many pests attack compost piles that have been improperly constructed. These pests are not to be confused with worms that help the composting process. In fact, many people want worms in their compost piles and may even purchase a worm or two to get the process started or to help move the composting process along more quickly.
However, if you are creating a compost pile, the last thing you want is to attract a lot of pests. Many pests are unhealthy for humans and may pose a health risk. Even if no health risk exists, pests will undoubtedly make the job of maintaining a compost pile more difficult. They are also quite annoying.
Following are a few of the more common compost pests that result from an improperly constructed pile, a pile that is not turned properly, or a pile that has thin edges creating a space for pests to congregate and breed. Pests can be treated with a variety of biological treatments such as Bacillus thuringiensis (or Bt), chemicals or natural treatments that can be found at your local garden center.
Stable Flies look like houseflies. They are gray with black stripes and spots; however, they have a beak that is not present on the common housefly. This beak is used in a similar fashion as that of the mosquito. It is used to feed on the blood of humans and other animals making it a rather annoying and dangerous pest. Diseases can be transferred in a similar fashion to that of the mosquito. These flies feed most aggressively in the mornings and evenings.
House Flies are also gray with black stripes on their head. They feed on liquid food, which is why they are often found in or near compost piles. Their mouth acts like a sponge to take in their food. Houseflies are annoying and breed frequently but they are harmless.
Green June Beetles
Green June Beetles are metallic in appearance and green along with a bit of yellow on their wings. They fly a lot and make a very loud buzzing sound when they are airborne, which is most often during the day when the sun is shining. They are known for running into whatever is in their path, including humans. Green June Beetles lay their eggs in organic waste. This is one of the reasons they are attracted to compost piles. It is the perfect breeding ground for the beetle. Beetle larvae are often confused for worms as they grow up to two inches long before they pupate. They can also reach up to one-half inch in diameter making them a rather difficult to miss.
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