Roaches in My Compost
October 12, 2022
I took the composting 101 back in May and started my compost bin around the same time. I just added worms. I check on it about once a week and just noticed that I have cockroaches in there. Is this bad? How do I get rid of them or prevent them or is this good and they won’t hurt or infest?
Answer by JZ: Great to hear about your composting efforts. I am copying to master composter colleagues,who may also have some comments.I nsects are a beneficial part of the composting ecosystem (food web) including roaches. Some are so small that you cannot see them. They are all ingesting organic material,then defecating in the pile, thereby adding manure (organic material) to the pile. Some are eating other insects. Insects will stay in the bin as it is a safe place, moist, dark and there is plenty of food for them. They do not interfere with the decomposition process, but do benefit the process. So, compost on ! Hope that this is helpful. Let me know if you have questions. Best. Keep up.
From Original Questioner: I feel much better! Thank you so much. The class did a great job covering how to make the compost, but I was wondering what is the most beneficial way to use it once it is ready. I was hoping to use it to revitalize the soil where we have our garden. Is the best way to do that to till the dirt and then mix the compost in next season or do we plant first and then lay the compost on top? Will it blow away with NM winds? Do we need to wet it so it soaks into the ground? Is there any information on what to do after the compost is made?
Answer by JZ: Once again other colleagues may respond. I would suggest that you visit the main menu on our home page at nmcomposters.org There you will find many useful topics, including soil amending, see Soil Matters under Composting Info.
If you are just beginning to amend desert garden soil, then one approach is to dig down about 12”
Into native soil, then for every shovel of native soil add one shovel of compost, then blend. Then rake, then sprinkle the whole amended area so that the added microbes may become active. At this time of year you could then plant a cover crop, if you wish. Examples, winter wheat or winter rye.
In the spring they would be gently tilled into the soil, thus adding organic matter.
The final step would be to cover the whole amended area with 4-6” of organic mulch for example
leaves, garden scraps, pine needles, turf grass clippings. This will help preserve moisture in the soil and moderate wind. You may also add a layer of vegetarian animal manure which is free from persistent herbicides. If you have already started amending your garden, then you may choose to spread out 1” - 3” of finished compost on top of soil. Scratch the compost into the soil with a tine rake, then water, then mulch as above. You may amend in this fashion in the fall and spring.
Let us know if you have questions. Best.