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Cockroaches and When to Move Composting Pails to Shade


June 3, 2023

I started composting in February using the 5 gallon pail method with drilled holes and my husband made a wooden stand for them to sit over dirt. Our household generates about a pail per month. 

My questions: 

Question #1: I remember hearing in the composting class that at some point in the summer you would need to move your composting to the shade because it would be too hot for it to be in the sun. At what temperature should I move those composting pails to the shade?

Question #2 :Cockroaches seemed to have moved into one of the pails for sure and perhaps more. Any thoughts on this? Cockroaches disgust me. Are they just part of the process? Is there anything I can do to deter them from making their home in my compost?


Answer by RB: You look very organized and have obviously put a lot of thought into what approach to take. Others will weigh in on our questions also, but here’s my input:

Question#1:  Now would be a good time to move your buckets into the shade; it is getting plenty hot already.  Alternatively you could dig holes and sink them into the ground, which will act as insulation but is much more work.

Question#2:  Yes cockroaches are disgusting but, yes, they are part of the process.  They are decomposers, (eating, then pooping) and are help produce finished compost.  Another thing to keep in mind, they will be more interested in your compost than in what’s in your kitchen (small comfort I know). The only way I know to keep them out, is to have a sealed system (but not airless).  Maybe sinking the buckets partially in the soil so those holes at the bottom are covered might help.  I can’t tell from the photos what size ventilation holes you have in or near the top, but hopefully they aren’t large enough for too many critters to get in. I’m sure others will have suggestions also.

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