Maggots in a compost bin

Asked July 27, 2018, 6:07 PM EDT

How can one get rid of the maggots in the compost bin

Dallas County Texas

2 Responses

I have found this in regards to your maggots in your compost bin. I have copied and paste a couple of paragraphs that talk about files, etc. and I also have copied the link to the entire article on composting. I hope this helps.

High temperatures are essential for the destruction of pathogenic organisms and undesirable weed seeds. Decomposition also proceeds much more rapidly in the thermophilic temperature range. The optimum temperature range is 135°-175°F, with 150°F usually being the most satisfactory. Since only a few of the thermophilic organisms actively carry on decomposition above 170°F, it is undesirable to have temperatures above this for extended periods.

Although the eggs of parasites, cysts nematodes and flies are usually destroyed in a short time at temperatures above 135°F, these eggs and cysts have been found to survive in cooler parts of compost stacks for days though the temperature in the interior of the stack is above 135°F. Turning the pile exposes cooler materials to the interior heat of the pile. All the material should be subjected to a temperature of at least 150°F.

High temperatures vaporize ammonia, produced when the C:N ratio is low. Any small nitrogen loss due to high temperature is outweighed by the advantages of destroying pathogenic organisms and weed seeds, controlling flies, and providing better decomposition.

This information is at the bottom of the article I sent you.

Flies and Related Pests

One of the most important considerations in composting is the control of flies. Many flies, including houseflies, can spend their larval phase as maggots in compost. Though they play an important part in the recycling and breaking down of all types of organic debris, they are unwanted guests around human households.

Garbage, livestock manure, and food scraps can be a media for the breeding and development of a fly population. If adequate control measures are practiced, and materials are covered there will not be a problem.

It is well to note that the life cycle of the ordinary housefly, musca domestica is usually from about 7 to 14 days when conditions are favorable. The time of the various life stages varies with the temperature and other conditions, but on the average, stages are as follows: egg, 1 to 2 days; larva 3 to 5 days; pupa, 3 to 5 days; emergence of young fly, 7 to 10 days; and egg laying by new fly, 10 to 14 days. Fly control measures must interrupt this cycle and prevent the adult flies from emerging so that no new eggs can be laid.

The composting procedures, turning, and systematic cleanliness, which are useful in providing compost of good quality and in destroying parasites and pathogens, are also effective for controlling flies. Initial shredding or grinding to produce a material which can be more readily attacked by bacteria destroys a large number of the larvae and pupae in the raw material. Also, the texture of material shredded to a particle size no larger than 2 inches seems to discourages fly breeding.

To control the numbers of these pests, keep attractive food wastes out of the compost pile, turn compost piles frequently (larvae die at high temperatures), cover piles with a dry material that has a lot of carbon in it such as straw or old grass clippings, or bury your food wastes. Fly-breeding can be satisfactorily controlled in most home composting operations during the fly season with a little more effort than is normally necessary for good sanitary composting.

The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is implied.

Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.