Ask a Question forum: White Larvae (Maggots) Appear in seedling medium of compost+Peat Moss

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Sep 5, 2016 3:09 PM CST
Hi Every body

I am soil scientist and working on a project of poultry composting . i , some doubts about a thing, actully i was working on a trail to test my finshied poultry compost , i just mix it with peat moss (1 :1) as a medium for my green chilli seeds. After 4 days i found white meggots like larvae in my seedling tray. i am worried please suggest what to do?
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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Sep 6, 2016 10:39 AM CST
Welcome! to NGA

If you have maggots, I would assume your poultry compost was not done composting yet. In my experience, it takes about a year for poultry waste mixed with other organics to compost properly.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Sep 6, 2016 10:50 AM CST
Not knowing what type of maggots they are I can make a guess. It only takes one day for the common housefly egg to hatch into a maggot so I would think the fly deposited the eggs onto your soil and less likely that the eggs were leftover from the compost process.

You could try to repeat the experiment by re-planting in a controlled fly-free environment and keep the planters in a screened enclosure.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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Sep 6, 2016 4:57 PM CST
Hi Fakharsherazi. Welcome to NGA!

Diluted hydrogen peroxide will kill some things, maybe larvae?

Try 0.2% H2O2. Drench the soil often enough to kill the hatching maggots.

If you can buy "drugstore peroxide", it will be around 3% strength, so you would dilute that by 16:1. For example,
2 ounces 3% H2O2 + 1 quart water.

But, if the soil is very fine, it will hold a lot of water and not drain very well. "Compost plus peat" sounds VERY finely divided and very water-retentive, and NOT well aerated or fast-draining. If you get them past all the hatching living things, the seedlings will still have to survive "damping off" as they grow through the organic-rich, microbe-rich soil. And that rotting compost will attract lots of fungus and flies.

I agree that, IF you use compost to start seeds, it should be very well-finished compost, to reduce the number of microorganisms and insect eggs by as much as possible.

If you do use FINISHED compost , add something to the seedling mix that promotes aeration and fast drainage - something coarse, like crushed stone or grit, Perlite, or pine bark shreds.

Starting seedlings in a near-sterile soilless mix might be wiser than using compost plus other fine particles.

BTW, I thought the main value of chicken manure was all the nutrients, especially nitrogen, that it contributes. But seedlings need very LOW nutrient levels!

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