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Two Critter Questions


August 13, 2023

My zip code is 87110. After attending a how to compost class early this year, I started composting in February using 5 gallon plastic buckets method with chop and dump method. It seems our household fills about one bucket per month and the composting has been proceeding well it seems.

I bought a strainer and am ready to sift the first bucket that has aged 6 months. Question #1 the decomposing material is loaded with cockroaches. How do I  deal with those nasty critters when sifting? Do I just pour the bucket contents onto a tarp and let them crawl away before the sifting process? Will there still be cockroach eggs left in the sifted compost?

Question #2 regarding a worm-type creature that I didn't add in another bucket. When I remove the lid of the bucket to add my compost scraps, the surface and sides of the bucket are covered with 100 or more of these little white worms approximately 1/2 inch in length. By the time I run back into the house and grab my phone, 98% of them have disappeared back into the compost apparently. I got a picture of one of them. Any idea what these are? They seem to be doing a good job of assisting with the composting but could they be harmful? Thanks for your help. 


Answer by JZ: Thanks for sharing your home composting experience. Hopefully other master composter colleagues will comment on your questions. Here are my thoughts.

My experience is that when you sift your compost outdoors the roaches will scatter (run) into the local environment, they will disappear from view. My opinion is that any roach eggs in the compost may eventually (?) hatch, then complete their life cycle. But I have no particular experience with this issue. Personally it is not a worry for me.

From a distance, the picture which you sent may be a young June Beetle larva… 

If so, it will complete its cycle. Not at all harmful, but usually helpful to the decomposition process. If you wish, you might euthanize them and return the carcass to the pile. Grubs, are white, smaller, C-shaped. Should be removed/euthanized before adding compost to garden soil.

Let us know if this is helpful and compost on !    Best.

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