I have a closed compost bin and when I took the lid of today to put something in it I noticed lots of bugs, a bit like flattened wood lice... I am just wondering if they are good for the compost bin or not? Thank you! enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Personally, I believe in live and let live. All kinds of creatures live in compost bins (I'm pretty sure there's rat living in mine at my allotment - we try to ignore each other). As long as the inhabitants don't jump out and attack you (I hope my rat is reading this), I'd just ignore them. But do make sure you are composting properly, with the right balance of soft and woody material, no food waste, etc, etc.


In general bugs like these are important in the process of composting. It takes microbial life and macrobial life to make it all happen. The larger life forms will sometimes break down the material (arthropods like roly polies break down large pieces of carbon-heavy materials) which can help give more surface area for bacteria/fungi/nematodes to break down the material faster. Some arthropods will also eat the fungi/bacteria/nematodes which is itself important for balance and the compost process. Some animal life is critical to the composting process.

If you identify the bug it can be helpful to know what point the process your pile is at and whether it is balanced. Seeing many many roly polies, for example, lets you know the pile is rich (perhaps over-rich) in carbon and could use some more nitrogen.

As Peter4075 said, make sure you're managing the compost well and the bug life will generally sort itself out.

  • Moist, but not too moist.
  • Mix of greens and browns.
  • Cut the material into chunks smaller than 2 inches.
  • Mix regularly.

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