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A compost heap in the traditional sense or composter belongs in every garden. Unfortunately, these are sometimes visited by hordes of flies or mosquitoes. Below we explain why and what you can do about it.

Flies love compost

Usually, the appearance of a few flies and mosquitoes on the compost pile is not a cause for concern. However, if the infestation increases significantly, action must be taken. They can become extremely annoying over time. The occurrence of flies and mosquitoes in droves is usually due to the fact that the compost is simply too wet. Sometimes, however, incorrect waste is also disposed of on it, which does not belong on the compost heap. However, it should be said at this point that the compost should always be slightly moist. This moisture is important for the development and work of microorganisms.

If the compost pile is excessively wet, the discarded material cannot rot quickly. Ultimately, it begins to rot, providing enough food for a wide variety of insects. Furthermore, a large part of the layered material is preserved without decomposing. It rots and develops gases at the same time. In other words, it starts to stink. When composting, it is essential to ensure that no

  • cooked leftovers
  • Pet litter as well
  • Pet droppings
  • used diapers and
  • animal waste, especially meat and fish
  • except for eggshells

end up on the compost heap. This attracts flies, mosquitoes and rats.

Tip: Wet leaves, lawn clippings or other plant residues should also always dry well before disposal.

Compost properly

When filling a thermal composter or piling up a compost heap outdoors, the most diverse compostable waste should always be mixed well, i.e. always alternating between moist and dry materials. Dry materials should always be placed between the individual layers of very damp kitchen waste or the lawn clippings and other plant residues if there is no possibility of drying beforehand. This can be:

bark mulch
  • egg cartons
  • dry foliage
  • bark mulch
  • wood chip
  • sawdust
  • Newsprint, printed in one color but
  • no glossy magazines or brochures
  • bedrock meal
  • Bentonite (sand soil improver)

Specialist shops offer ecological products to prevent odors from forming. These not only work against odors, but also prevent eggs from being laid. Decreasing the wetness in the pile will in no way affect the quality of the compost. If flies and the like are nevertheless attracted, there are various home remedies to get rid of them again. In no case should the chemical club be resorted to. The toxins contained there ultimately reach the human organism through the compost used as fertilizer, for example on vegetable beds. There are various biological means to combat the annoying insects.

Notice: Sometimes woodlice can also be found in the compost. These should not be fought because they decompose coarse components of the compost. This creates good humus.

Restart compost

This is probably the most effective method to get rid of the pests as quickly as possible. For this purpose, the heap or composter is set up or placed in a different place, not far from the old one. The procedure is as follows:

close the composter
  • Removal of old compost
  • Disposal in household waste
  • close well
  • Thoroughly clean the composter
  • Use of vinegar solution
  • let everything dry well
  • then refill
  • a layered approach
  • always alternating dry and wet layers

With this measure, the entire rott is removed. Hot water can be used to kill the larvae before disposal. As a result, all maggots and eggs of flies and mosquitoes are removed. If only wet materials are available for the replacement, then dry materials must be added, as already described.

Use of Mosquito Free

This is not a dangerous poison, but it is for mosquitoes of all kinds, such as fungus gnats or black flies. The use prevents the development of the larvae. The agent is made from Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. It is a deadly poison for the mosquito larvae, a so-called endotoxin. There is no danger to humans, pets, bees, earthworms and toads. To apply the following:

black fly
  • apply to surface of compost
  • Larvae can be found just below the surface
  • Contact with poison deadly
  • Effect of the preparation up to four weeks

Mosquito-Free can also be used in the garden pond or the rain barrel. The water can safely be used for watering.

Notice: Mosquitoes can transmit a wide variety of diseases such as typhus, yellow fever, malaria, dysentery or sleeping sickness.

Just cover the compost

Another easy option is to just cover the compost heap before it gets warm, in early spring. This is quite easy with the composter, as it sometimes has a plastic lid. Newspaper printed in one color can also be used. The cover prevents the insects from laying their eggs in the rotted mass and prevents the development of maggots and adult insects. It is a very simple but effective method and the effort is also low. It should be covered as early as possible.

sprinkle lime

Lime against mosquitoes in the compost heap

Some hobby gardeners swear by spreading salt on the compost heap to combat existing larvae. This is generally not advisable here, because the salt would later damage the plants that were fertilized with it. Mainly this would affect the roots. A much better option is to use lime. Not only are the larvae combated, but the rott also becomes drier and odors are prevented. Not only that, ultimately the humus obtained also gets a better structure. The application is relatively easy. Only the lime is sprinkled directly on the maggots or on the entire surface or directly in the container.

Notice: If no lime is available, silica can also be used as an alternative. This has the same effect.

use of camphor oil

Many insects, including flies and mosquitoes, shy away from intense smells. Camphor oil can prove useful in the fight against insects. It is obtained from the camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora). The application is quite easy, one could say in this regard:

  • Fill bottle with water
  • add a few drops of oil
  • Pour the resulting solution into small bowls etc
  • then set it up near the compost

The rule here is: the stronger the solution, the more successful the repelling of the insects.

use of aromatic plants

The same applies to the scent of a wide variety of plants. These are avoided by flies, mosquitoes and the like. These include, among other things:

  • Lavender (Lavendula)
  • Arabic frankincense (Boswellia sacra)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
  • Common gum (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium)

These plants can be planted directly in the open ground or in containers near the compost. The scent will drive away the adult insects, but will not help against maggots in the pack. The use of oils from the plants mentioned above has a much stronger effect. This means that cloths can simply be soaked and hung up or laid out. The smell of the oils is stronger than the smell of the corresponding plant itself. A combination of planting and additional application of oil can also be very effective.

Notice: Plant parts of the aromatic plants should also be distributed regularly on the compost. Attracting the insects can also be avoided in this way.

Attracting native birds

Although this is a lengthy method, it is extremely effective. All annoying insects and their maggots buzzing around the compost are an excellent source of food for our native birdies. As already mentioned, a lot of patience and a strategic plan are required here. Can be helpful

  • Nest boxes near compost or
  • appropriate plants such as rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

The birds not only help to decimate the pests such as insects or snails, but are also an enrichment for people in the home garden.

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