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Flying Insects Attracted to Worm Bin


July 7, 2014

I attended both of your spring classes on composting and vermicomposting. I have started my vermicomposting as I learned in my classes – however I am having one problem. Everything seems to be going fine except that I am attracting an unusually LARGE amount of gnats, fruit flies, small flying insects. In both classes they said you could do this indoors which I am doing – but I must be doing something wrong because of all these insects outside my compost bin. Hope you have some suggestions as to what my problem might be.


Answer by JZ: Others may also respond to your question. Here are some thoughts.
* The insects that you mention are attracted to the scents coming from the bin, so do not leave the bin uncovered, except of course when you adding organic material.
* Cover the top layer of the bin with about 3 inches of dry shredded paper or dry shredded leaves, then cut a piece of plastic to cover that addition, lightly cover the whole thing. Move this layer aside when you make an addition of organic material, then recover over the addition.
* This should decrease the ability of flying insects to get to the top layer of your bin and perceive the scents coming from it.
* Prior to the above you might also add some yellow sticky traps, available at nurseries, to the bin for a day or so. Trapping some of the insects will help decrease their reproduction.
* It may take some time for this situation to settle down, so be patient.

Answer by JE: I would also suggest put it outside with the lid off for 15 minutes, but no longer, when it is hot out to kill the current bugs. I put a timer on so I don’t forget, otherwise longer periods can kill your worm too. This usually does the trick for me.

Answer by RR: I have been going through my old Organic Gardening magazines, and I just came across a Tip from someone who had the same problem with fruit flies in and around her worm bin. While all of the answers from our Master Composters will help solve your problem, here’s another one for you to consider. This lady tossed a newly pruned rosemary branch over the top layer of her worm bin, and the fruit flies disappeared. Apparently, any of the pungent herbs will work. Good luck.

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