So let’s talk about maggot in your compost. You might be the one that freaks out when you see maggot in your compost. But they are not so bad and they can’t hurt you.
Actually, they are pretty useful in breaking down waste in your compost pile. They will even make decomposition faster and they will help in recycling nutrients back into the soil.
What is a Compost Maggot?
Compost maggots are actually the black soldier fly larvae. Black soldier fly (BSF) are simply normal housefly. When these flies settle on your compost, they lay their eggs and result in larvae (maggot). The maggot may be white, grayish, or brownish and segmented depending on what your compost consists of.
The segmented maggots are as long as one inch to one and a half inch. The maggots are born from black soldier fly eggs right into the food waste especially in conditions that are damp. They feed on the nitrogen-dominant decaying matter such as scraps from your kitchen and manures.
Black soldier flies do well in a warm environment with a temperature of about 80 to 90 degrees. However, when the temperature reaches above 100 degrees, they will lose their strength and die off.
The Usefulness of Maggot in Your Compost
Those tiny black soldier flies which are maggots are like devouring beasts. They can consume a huge amount of food scrapes faster than you can imagine. Thus, they will make the decomposition of your compost fast. And if you are concerned they might show up in your home, not too worry. That won’t happen only if you place your compost pile is close to your window.
In the southern part of the United States, these maggots are been used to decrease hog manure. This is because they are capable of consuming as much as 30 tons of hog manure in just two days.
So, you can even place your compost outdoor far away from your house, and not worry about getting rid of them for a long time. The mission is to reduce waste!
Matter of fact, some farmers go ahead and cultivate these black soldier larvae and sell them to pet stores. They are very high in protein and are excellent foods for birds, lizards, and even fish.
Eliminating Maggot in Your Compost Bin
As we have mentioned earlier, maggot in your compost is beneficial. However, if you can’t stand them and you want to get rid of them. You can do the following:
- Add Dry Material into your Compost: because these maggots thrive in damp environments, adding dry materials such as browns will prevent them from emerging. Add dry materials such as dry grass, dry leaves, shredded papers, and cardboards and cover them at least two to four inches. This will create a dryer environment and also cover the nitrogen food source. This is because it is this exposed nitrogen food materials the female soldier loves to lay their eggs on.
- Bury Food Scraps: if it is a compost bin or a worm bin you have, bury the food scrap right at the bottom (at least 6 inches) of the pile. Also, ensure they are well covered.
- Reduce Flies by Covering Holes with Window Screen: if you are able to prevent flies from entering your compost, they won’t lay eggs and you will have no maggots. Therefore, cover every hole with a window screen and hold it down with a waterproof filter or seal.
- Apply Lime to your Compost: you can add lime to your compost to deter these black fly larvae. However, adding lime to your compost can interfere with the pH. It can make the pH too high when it’s done composting. Even though lime also helps in the breakdown of compost, it is usually not needed. But you can add lime if your compost is acidic so as to make your compost slightly alkaline. Also, the amount of lime added should not exceed one cup per 25 material feet.
In the end, these maggots in your compost will die and their bodies will decompose. They will in the due process leave behind thick and rich components for your soil use.
Maggot might be disgusting and gross to behold. But you should consider the good they do to your compost. Think of it, you put a big pound of waste in your bin. A couple of hours later, the waste has reduced drastically.
After the black soldier larvae are done with your compost pile, they will crawl out and vanish. During this process, they can become food to birds and other little animals.