Ants in the Heap

Question ...

In my compost bins I have some fruit flies, and concluded that they are not a problem. However, I also get large quantities of ants. Are these harmful in compost? And, if they are is there a way to deal with them that won't harm the beneficial insects. I also have woodlice, but assume that they are as harmless as they look.

Answer ...

As you quite rightly say fruit flies are harmless and are not causing any harm However, you can reduce their numbers by burying the fresh waste when you add it to your bin as well as covering the top of the compost with a damp newspaper or cardboard. This will help to reduce access to the fruit that they feed on. Ants have a beneficial role in the composting process, playing a part in the recycling of animal and plant remains. There is no need to get rid of them, or the woodlice. Both are important in helping to recycle waste material.

However, the presence of the ants may indicate that your compost is on the dry side. Try turning the compost and giving it a good soaking with water.

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