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Maggots in Compost


June 24, 2012

We just discovered maggots or black fly larvae in our compost pile and initial research says that’s a good thing. We only use kitchen veg and fruit scraps, no meat, dairy or oily foods. My question is, can we use this compost on our veg garden? Do we want to be distributing BFL into veg that we will be eating?


Answer by WR: If you have a good hot compost and stir it up good, the maggots, or their “remains” should just compost along with everything else. Just more good organic material. Same is true for cold compost, but will be a little slower and they’ll probably turn into flies or something at some point, just as they would if they laid their eggs elsewhere. You could try scooping them out, but they are not hurting anything. I wouldn’t worry about the finished compost in your vegetable garden. Just, as always, be sure that you use compost that is “done” and and smells good like finished compost should. I remember the first time I saw maggots in my pile I was quite concerned and creeped out, too. That was quite a few years ago and I’ve since come to learn that, while I don’t particularly welcome them, they aren’t a problem. Good luck and be sure to write back if you have any other questions.

Answer by GM: Fly larvae are definitely ok in your compost pile. Sounds like it is healthy. You may also find some other “disturbing” insects, just be assured that your friendly bugs are doing the business of decomposition. If you feel very uncomfortable with the larvae, your option might be to purchase a bin type of composter which would eliminate the pesky problem. However, you needn’t worry about the fly larvae contaminating anything and they won’t bother your veggies. The flies that are produced are usually very slow and if you want, some yellow sticky fly paper seems to work for me. I get it at the feed store or at a hardware store. By the time you start to use the compost, the larvae should be gone. Your compost is going through a process and the fly larvae are pretty much normal. I know, ick. And I don’t use meat/dairy or oil either. If you would like to learn more about the decomp process, please look under Activities in the main menu of our website and go to the Classes page. You are welcome at any of these events and there is no fee. If you have any other questions, please feel free to write us back

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