While composting, one of the biggest and most common problem people face is fruit flies all over the compost. These fruit flies are attracted to the sweet smell of decaying organic matter and can quickly damage the pile if it’s not managed properly.
In this article we’ll see why fruit flies are bad for the compost pile and ways you can avoid them from getting into your compost.
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Understanding Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are small insects that are attracted to sweet and decaying organic matter. They are commonly found around ripe fruits, vegetables, and in compost bins. Fruit flies are notorious for their ability to reproduce quickly, and a single female can lay up to 500 eggs at a time. This is why it’s important to take preventative measures to avoid them in your compost bin.
Fruit flies are small insects which are attracted to sweet and decaying organic matter. You’ve probably seen them flying around your house and sitting on sweet eatables. Fruit flies have an ability to reproduce very quickly as a single female fly can lay upto 500 eggs at once.
How Fruit Flies Damage Compost
Fruit flies aren’t harmful in themself but they can carry bacteria which can be harmful for humans and also the compost.
- Indication of imbalance of organic matter: Presence of flies in the compost is a problem because flies can indicate overabundance of wet and decaying fruits and vegetables in the pile which creates an imbalance in CN ratio of the compost. This imbalance can lead to the slow down of the decomposition in the compost.
- Fruit Flies Eggs: One fruit fly can lay upto 500 eggs at once in your pile. This activity can cause excessive moisture in the compost pile and cause an increase in anaerobic activities in the pile leading to foul smell and bad odour.
- Health Problems: Fruit flies although aren’t harmful but they can carry bad bacteria which can cause problems to both humans and compost as well.
Tips for Avoiding Fruit Flies in Your Compost Bin
Here are some effective tips for keeping fruit flies out of your compost bin:
- Properly Cover Your Compost Bin: Keeping your compost covered is the number one thing you can do to avoid fruit flies into your pile and damaging it. Make sure you cover the pile in a way that there is no opening from where the flies can enter it.
- Balance Your Compost Bin: Fruit flies usually come on decaying fruit and vegetable matter. If you make sure that your pile is properly balanced by browns and greens then it will reduce the sweet odor which attracts flies into the compost pile.
- Avoid Adding Meat and Dairy: . Avoid adding meat and dairy products into your compost bin to reduce the risk of fruit flies as these products can create a strong odor that attracts fruit flies.
- Keep Your Compost Bin Moist: Keep your compost little moist as fruit flies usually avoid laying eggs in a moist environment.
- Stir Your Compost Bin Regularly: Stirring your compost bin regularly will help to prevent fruit flies from laying their eggs in one area. It also mixes the greens and browns in the compost which help in reducing the sweet smell from the compost.
- Use Compostable Bags: You can use compostable bags for composting and make sure that you tie them from the top so no flies or insect can enter into it.
- Clean Your Compost Bin Regularly: Cleaning your bin can help you prevent breeding of fruit flies in the compost.
- Cover Your Compost With Browns: Cover your compost pile with a layer of browns. Browns helps prevent odor of the compost from coming out of the pile and avoiding flies from getting into the compost.
- Use a Compost Bin with a Built-in Screen: This will help you avoid fruit flies from getting into your compost and also keep the compost aerated.
- Freeze Your Food Scraps: Freezing your food scraps before adding them to your compost bin will kill any fruit fly eggs that may be present.
- Use a Bokashi System: A bokashi system uses anaerobic fermentation to break down food waste and this system is great for preventing fruit flies and can be used indoors.
- Use a Compost Bin with a Spigot: A compost bin with a spigot makes it easy to drain any excess liquid from your compost bin. This excess liquid can attract fruit flies, so draining it regularly will help to prevent them from breeding.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
If you already have fruit flies in your compost bin, here are some effective ways to get rid of them:
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
An apple cider vinegar trap is a simple and effective way to catch and kill fruit flies. Here’s how to make one:
- Fill a small jar with apple cider vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap.
- Cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke several small holes in the top.
- Place the jar near your compost bin and wait for the fruit flies to be attracted to the vinegar. In this trap, dish soap will break the surface tension of the vinegar and cause the fruit flies to drown.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural and safe way to kill fruit flies. It’s made from the fossilized remains of microscopic aquatic organisms and works by dehydrating insects. Here’s how to use it:
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth over the top of your compost bin.
- Stir the compost to distribute the diatomaceous earth.
- Repeat every few days until the fruit flies are gone.
Sticky traps are another effective way to catch and kill fruit flies. Here’s how to make one:
- Cut a piece of yellow paper or cardboard into a small rectangle.
- Coat the paper with honey or another sticky substance.
- Place the sticky trap near your compost bin and wait for the fruit flies to be attracted to it.
Fly traps are designed to attract flies and catch them so that they can not breed and spread wherever they are implemented.