This week, in honour of one of our favourite zero waste pastimes; we’re celebrating Compost Awareness Week by answering some of your composting questions.
The lovely Madam Salami (who just happens to make gorgeous recycled, upcycled and precycled handcrafted items from unloved items – check out her store here) asked me about fruit flies.
Fruit flies in compost heaps are a common problem. They are not dangerous and won’t hurt you but it’s pretty unpleasant to get a face full of flies when all you’re trying to do is give your compost bin a decent meal.
Fruit flies do have their role to play in breaking down fruit and vegetable peelings; so don’t be too hard on them!
These little critters love humid conditions, so they tend to be prevalent during spring and early summer. They feed on the sweet sugars that fruit and vegetable peelings release as they are breaking down.
Here are three tips to reduce fruit flies in your compost heap:
Keep any stored fruit and vegetable peelings covered before adding to the compost heap. This reduces the risk of fruit flies getting in there and laying maggots before you’ve delivered your goods to the compost heap.
Check the greens to browns ratio of your compost; as outlined in yesterday’s post. Fruit flies are often found in compost that is too wet. Check the consistency and add more browns (cardboard, paper, straw etc) if necessary.
Every time you add fruit or vegetable peelings to your compost heap, cover with dried grass clippings or a brown such as shredded paper or cardboard to confuse the fruit flies.
An easy way to do this is to line your kitchen caddy with newspaper and wrap everything up before depositing in the compost heap.
As I said at the beginning, fruit flies are not harmful to you or the compost and the chances are, by the time you are ready to use your compost in the autumn, all the flies will have gone.
Just hold your breath when you take the top of your compost off; fruit flies can make you sneeze if you inhale them! (she speaks from experience)
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