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Grubbs in My Compost


October 20, 2017

I am new to composting. I set up a big compost pile last winter with all my leaves, yard waste, scraps, chicken and bunny poop etc. It looks great and is full of life: worms, bugs, a couple lizards even. I am getting ready to put it around my fruit trees, roses, and garden plot, and I am nervous, because it is full of these big, fat, white grubs with brown heads (photo attached). I have so much compost, it isn’t really practical to pick them all out. I need to know if they are harmless or a problem. And if they are a problem what do I do? Please help me. (Zip 87107)


Answer by BB: I assume that you have chickens, unless you got the chicken poop from a friend.  If you do have chickens, they will go crazy for the grubs.  Just turn them loose on the compost - spread out a bit so that they can get to them all. I suspect that within half an hour your grubs will have disappeared. Hope this helps.

Answer by JZ: It appears that you have June Beetle larvae (grubs) in your compost - common in our area. They are decomposers mechanically helping to breakdown organics in the pile. Here are my thoughts:

* Yes,  remove them manually, then euthanize them, then add to your next batch as organic material. Or bury dead carcases in the soil.  Or, as BB suggests let your chickens have at them.

* If you spread out small amounts of your finished compost on a tarp, then the larvae will be

easy to capture / remove.

* They are best removed as they may overwinter in the soil, then complete transition to adults

in another season.

* This is just one of those chores that we composters have to do. The end result is worth the effort.

Keep up.  Best.

Answer by JH: And just to add another point, your rose bushes are a favorite food of June beetles so be sure the compost you place around or near them is grub-free.

Answer by PB: I don’t have chickens so I feed them to the wild birds that come to my yard by putting them on the top of the block wall.  Just use a screen which you can buy or make to filter them out from the compost.

Response from Questioner: Thank you all for your responses! I do have chickens, so it sounds like I’ll need to build a chicken tractor of sorts and put my girls to work! Thanks again.

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