top of page

My Compost Smells and Has Maggots and Cockroaches


August 21, 2013

This is the first year I have ever tried my hand at composting and also a first time gardener. It has all gone pretty well, but lately the bin smells like sewer. It also has a million fat white worms that look similar to maggots, and has constantly attracted roaches. I don't put any dairy or meat products in the bin, but I do add paper, grass clippings, scraps and water. Any suggestions?


Answer by ME: The other composters will also send you additional suggestions. I do a cold compost with soil. So I have a mound of soil and bury my kitchen waste under this loose soil. That takes care of any smell from the waste. You might be keeping the pile too moist and there is too much nitrogen (green fresh stuff) and not enough carbon (brown dry stuff). So keep the compost moisture like the consistency of a wrung out sponge. Another tip is I collect the end of toilet paper and paper towel rolls and cut the rolls up and add to my pile (for additional carbon).

As for roaches, turning the pile with a pitch fork occasionally helps disrupt them and move them out of the pile. Place the bin or pile at a little distance from your home so they don't go inside. Cockroaches are unwanted but their activity helps break down the compost. Again turning the pile should help to keep their numbers down. Hope this helps.

Answer by JZ: I agree with what ME has said. Yes, you need to "bulk" your layers with sticks, twigs, pine cones; this will decrease compression of the wet material and allow for air flow in the pile. My guess is you have June beetle larvae in the pile; they cause no harm. Just bury them deeper. They add organic material to the pile! Keep up. You are doing a fine thing by composting.

bottom of page