Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Worm Bins & Fruit Flies

Worms and fruit flies are on my list of "I hate these kinds of things." I'd never in a million years think I'd have a worm compost bin let alone one in my house. It truly gives me the heeby jeebies to think of the crawlers and fliers.

Since gardening, I know how important the soil is - soil is everything (Jesus thought a lot about soil too - He even told His followers a parable about four different soils). Without good soil there can't be much produced (kind of like our lives too).

Everything I've read about gardening point to the need to do some composting and worms are the ticket. I hate worms. Now I love worms (sorta) because of the good they do.

Anyway, these new little critters called fruit flies decided to join the party of worms in the compost bin. Immediately, I cried out for help - posting in my local Phoenix Permaculture Guild. Today, I received this advice from Lisa (an expert worm woman). So, just in case you have fruit flies in your worm bin ( :-) ) try this - it should help.

Here's my fix for fruit flies in an indoor worm bin - so far, I've been able to keep my worms virtually fly-free. I try to control them on all fronts. First - don't let any more get in there. Try to seal off the bin completely, so there are not spaces where new flies can get in.

Ventilation is obviously very important, but you can cover all of the ventilation holes with mesh. As an extra precaution for keeping critters out, I also drape a piece if fabric over the top of my bin, and then put the cover on top of that (since my cover doesn't fit tightly).

So no more flies can get in now. Next you have to deal with the flies that are still in there. They want to lay eggs, so if you cover up all of the food surfaces, they have nothing to lay eggs on. A thin (1") layer of dirt over everything will do it.

I would also wrap up new food with newspaper before you put it in there, so the flies can't get to it. so you've prevented them from laying eggs, but you also probably want them to go away, and not swarm out every time you open the bin.

I'd throw a few sticky traps in there, and that will take care of them pretty fast. (They have sticky traps at ACE that don't have any noxious chemicals in them... just sticky). You will still have the problem of fly larvae that are already in there emerging into adults - so for a while it will seem like the problem has not gone away.... but be patient. The life cycle of a fruit fly is less than 2 weeks, so if you are persistent and do all of the above, they should mostly be gone in about 2 weeks.

Oh, and last thing, make sure that the food that you are putting in there do not have flies on it - so don't leave it out on the counter for a day, or flies will lay eggs on it (stick it in the fridge if you need to store it). Hope this helps! I usually keep my bin the kitchen, and using these methods, flies haven't been a problem...

Let me know how this helps you!

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