White fly

Asked April 12, 2017, 10:46 AM EDT

Help. I have a compost bin which is nearly full. But it is driving me mad as it is full of white fly inside outside and now going on to plants near by. I am so upset about it I am thinking of getting rid of the bin.can yu gelp

Outside United States

1 Response

Thanks for your question about white flies in your compost bin. You may or may not have 'white flies,' although they are that color. Insects, such as flies, are attracted to compost because (1) it has food and (2) it's a good place to lay their eggs, so they have something to eat when they hatch. Your question is really a two-part one: how do I get rid of the flies that I have, and how to I prevent them from taking up residence again.

To get rid of the flies you have, you can pour vinegar into a bottle with a 1" diameter opening, and insert a funnel into it. Set it on top of your compost heap, and the flies will go to the vinegar but be unable to fly out. You may be catching flies for some time with this method, since the eggs will continue to hatch and fly. If you follow the directions in this video, however, you'll be able to get the temperature of the bin high enough that it will kill the fly larvae (after they hatch but still can't fly.)

The second question's answer is more in planning than in apparatus. Many insects don't lay eggs in heaps of vegetable scraps. They are attracted to fruits and many, such as common house flies, are attracted to bones, meat, eggs, cheese, etc. So first, don't put in the latter. Add fruit peels sparingly. Be sure to keep the contents damp, and turn it weekly so it gets plenty of air. Finally, pay attention to the amounts of green materials you add compared to the amount of brown materials. The mix should be 1/3 green and 2/3 brown. Here's a really great explanation of 'which is which.'

Here's a shorter synopsis of the 'mechanics' of a compost bin.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck!