Larvae in my compost bin

Asked December 25, 2015, 10:59 AM EST

I have been composting in a bin for three years adding food waste (no fruit or animal products) garden waste and purchased topsoil. I have finally got beautiful compost full of lovely earthworms. As I was turning it over recently I came across a huge colony of the larvae pictured below. Can you identify them and advise me as to what I need to do if anything to get rid of them? At this point they are about 1/2 inch long and very copious. I don't want to use any of the compost if they are plant eating insects. If I need to get rid of all my compost do you have a suggestion as to how to go about it?

Baltimore Maryland compost

1 Response

This looks like one of the many fly larvae that show up in compost bins that become a bit too moist and contain a relatively high percentage of food scraps and/or proteins. The most common species that I have seen in the area, that readily inhabit compost piles, is Black Soldier Fly. I believe this is what you have. Many people consider these flies beneficial and have found them very effective at helping to produce compost. Please see: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-51_black_soldier_fly.htm http://www.opb.org/news/blog/ecotrope/using-soldier-flies-to-compost-food-scraps/