Gardening & Landscaping Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gardeners and landscapers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Inside of my compost which is only like five gallons I see hundreds of maggots or larvae. Is there a way I can dissect them and tell which species they are? I see some reports online that Black Soldier Flies are a good thing. My compost is still very anaerobic -- this is a problem I want to fix. I see a few options:

  • Put a bunch of paper in the nitrogen rich compost, hope it sucks up the moisture and the new balance is less hospitable to the maggots or larvae.
  • Dump vinegar or rubbing alcohol in the bucket -- hope that kills off the problem. (I'm open to other solutions, or input on why this is a bad idea).
share|improve this question
Are you using meat or meat-by-products in your compost pile? – stormy Jun 12 '14 at 23:04

I wouldn't worry too much about what exactly you've got. If you've got larvae inside your compost, they're eating your compost, which is what you want. The problem will be when they mature and you have a bunch of flies.

Your first proposal is good -- add paper, dry leaves, sawdust/wood shavings, or other carbon-containing materials.

I wouldn't add anything like vinegar or alcohol. You'll kill the organisms that are in your compost doing their thing.

The other recommendations I'd make are:

  1. More volume. Five gallons isn't really enough to get critical mass so that the aerobic bacteria can take over. The size you've got will work, but there's not really enough mass to insulate the interior so that the aerobic bacteria can generate and retain heat.

  2. Aerate. At 5g, you're probably not choking off the air too much, but if it's a big wet mass of material then this could be a problem. Mix it with a garden fork so that air gets into the interior. It's a good idea to do this when you add your carbon material, since you'll want to get that extra material mixed into the pile.

share|improve this answer

add garden lime or even gypsum, mixing it in a bit. It will raise the PH of putrefying acidic wet materials in your compost. It should also stop the ammonia smell and lessen the maggot problem.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.