Is my compost composting correctly? - Knowledgebase Question

Temple City, Ca
Question by johnsonsung
December 21, 2009
Hello,I have my compost in a trash-can bin with several holes drilled on the bottom/sides.I add all my kitchen scraps into the bin and I add twigs/dry leaves to try to even it out.For weeks it has been attracting A LOT of small insects/flies(not the big black house flies, the ones around my compost are smaller). Esp. when i open the lid in morning,hundreds come flying out.Is this normal?Thank you


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Answer from NGA
December 21, 2009

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It sounds to me as though your compost is not heating up quite enough. If it's hot, it won't attact insect pests. What you describe are probably fungus gnats. These little pests feed and breed in decaying organic matter. They are reasonably harmless and but can be a nuisance if they are breeding large populations. You need more brown (carbon) material. Shredded newspapers, dried leaves, straw, and even strips of cardboard can be used in your compost to equal out the amount of kitchen scraps you are adding to your bin. Be sure to distribute things well by anchoring down the top, laying the can on its side, and rolling it around once or twice a week. This, plus the addition of more carbon material should help your compost heat up enough to deter the fungus gnats. Good luck with your project!

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