Compost bin insects - Knowledgebase Question

Ridgecrest, Ca
Question by kwgonzalez5
June 8, 2010
I live in the high desert-Ca. and have started a compost bin. I have noticed some what I call waterbugs or large cockroaches in the bin.I do not put anything in it that I'm not suppoesed to. Is there a product that will either rid or kill them withot ruining I understand certain insects are okay for compost. I have checked oodles of composting sites but have not found any help w/this.Can you help

Answer from NGA
June 8, 2010


Although we never want to see them in the house, cockroaches are actually beneficial in the garden. They are probably feeding on organic debris in your compost pile and you can actually kill them off or at least deter them by keeping your compost pile working and cooking. Be sure to turn the pile every week, moving the cooler sides to the center and the hot material in the center out towards the sides of the bin. You can also cover the pile with black plastic to help it maintain heat. As long as the pile is cooking at about 140F, the cockroaches will either die off or at least scatter. You can also use a natural control - just spread a heavy film of diatomaceous earth around the pile. Diatomaceous earth is effective against all kinds of hard shelled insects. It scrapes and scratches the insects as they walk across it and the injuries will kill them. Best wishes with your compost.

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