Types of Compost Bugs

Written by christina sloane
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Types of Compost Bugs
Compost piles attract hundreds of different bugs. (bêche image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com)

When you turn and stir your compost pile, you may notice various insects crawling around in your soil and food waste. You may also notice some bugs flying around the outside of your pile. While many bugs are beneficial and even added to a compost pile intentionally, other insects are annoying and can indicate a problem with your compost.


Earthworms and nematodes are common compost-pile inhabitants, and the former are often intentionally added to worm-compost, or vermicompost, piles. Earthworms eat plant waste and help to stir and aerate your compost pile. You can use their nutrient-rich casings as fertiliser for your garden. Nematodes are also beneficial to compost, as they decompose food waste.

Types of Compost Bugs
Earthworms will benefit your compost pile (Earthworms image by Ana Dudnic from Fotolia.com)

Flying Insects

Flies swarming around a compost pile are an indication of spoiled food waste. To eliminate flies, avoid placing meat and dairy products or animal waste in your pile, and keep fruit and vegetable waste (such as apple cores and orange peels) in the middle of your pile. If your pile is topped with at least one inch of soil or dry leaves, it won't attract flies.

Types of Compost Bugs
Flies are attracted to rancid materials. (gadfly isect fly image by Pali A from Fotolia.com)

Non-Flying Bugs

A variety of critters such as centipedes, millipedes, earwigs, pill bugs and beetles are attracted to compost because they feed on decaying leaves and plant matter. These bugs pose no harm to your compost and help break down its contents. If the presence of earwigs and various poisonous, biting or pinching bugs bothers you, you can spray them with a solution of 1 tbsp liquid detergent and 1 quart of water to kill them.

Types of Compost Bugs
Centipedes and other bugs may visit your compost pile. (centipede 02 image by Artem Latotin from Fotolia.com)

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