Dealing with vermin in compost bin

Asked February 25, 2020, 2:30 PM EST

For the first time in many years I appear to have a mouse or vole infestation in one of my backyard compost bins. There are a couple tunnels near the edge and a lot of compost has been pushed beyond the perimeter of the black plastic bin. When the top thaws and I turn it, will there be an explosion of animal life? Is the compost safe to use on my vegetable beds once the vermin clear out, or could it be contaminated with Hanta Virus or other pathogens? What should I do to remedy this? My husband did a late planting of cover crops in the nearby raised beds. Now that the snow has melted from them, I can see they are filled with vole tracks. They must have been feasting on the unsprouted seeds...My piles generally don't get very hot, so I can't rely on heat to kill anything.

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

There have been no cases of hunta virus ever reported in Minnesota so that isn’t much of worry.

https://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/surveillance/index.html
Safe gardening is important and hand washing is an important practice.
The compost shouldn’t be any more dangerous than other compost. There may be many voles in spring because they have been well feed all winter and well feed rodents reproduce.