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Compost Fly Control

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

Flies can make composting nasty business, but once flies arrive they are many ways to shoo them away and prevent them from coming back.

One of the home gardener's biggest compost problems is controlling flies. Manure and food scraps are very appealing to flies, and before you know it a perfectly fine compost heap can turn into a fly sanctuary, housing thousands of the pests, and creating a health hazard.


One of the home gardener's biggest compost problems is controlling flies. Manure and food scraps are very appealing to flies, and before you know it a perfectly fine compost heap can turn into a fly sanctuary, housing thousands of the pests, and creating a health hazard.

Fortunately controlling flies in compost doesn't take much more work than composting in general. One of the tried-and-true methods for fly control is regular turning of the compost. Turning compost every two to three days allows more heat to generate from the decomposition process, making the pile too warm for fly eggs to develop and hatch successfully. When you notice flies, get in the habit of turning the compost a bit more regularly than you normally would. Also add more brown materials; they help the temperature increase.

Shredding food scraps and waste before adding to compost can also deter fly reproduction. Larger scraps, like half heads of lettuce or decaying fruit look like a perfect place to call home to mother flies, but smaller scraps don't have the same homey appeal. Shred large food waste into smaller bits and always bury it under brown material in the compost bin. If you store food waste indoors until you have enough to make a trip to the compost bin, either keep it in an airtight container or boil it to kill fly eggs before adding it.

Control a huge fly problem by turning up the heat. If flipping the compost isn't fixing things, pour boiling water on your compost pile. Compost needs water anyway, and the very hot water will instantly kill fly eggs. Leave the compost bin lid open for a short while after doing this, so any flies on the inside of the lid or sides of the bin can fly away before laying more eggs.
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