Ants in Compost Pile - Knowledgebase Question

Elk Grove, CA
Avatar for farside5
Question by farside5
December 1, 1997
My compost pile is teeming with the plain old garden variety ants found elsewhere in my garden (but in fewer numbers). Will the ants help the composting process so I should leave them alone, or should I apply insecticide to get rid of them? Or is there another option? Thanks!

Answer from NGA
December 1, 1997
Healthy, well-managed compost piles have a great variety of insects in them, from ground beetles to snails to millipedes to microscopic nematodes. If the ants aren't causing any problems, I'd suggest you leave them alone. They're probably notactually living in it, just exploring for food. If, on the other hand, you don't turn your compost pile regularly, the ants could quite possibly begin building a home there - not a happy prospect! You should steer clear of using pesticides in the compost pile. Try rotating the contents on a regular basis and monitoring the moisture to keep things cooking. The ants will avoid the center of the pile if it's warm.

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