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Pest Control for Your Compost

Many Northwest cities facilitate programs that teach residents how to compost their own food waste. For instance, educational composting programs are city-funded in both Portland and Eugene. Pest management professionals, however, have a special view on the kind of residential pest control problems that can stem from composting.

From Seattle to Eugene, pest control precautions must be taken to prevent critters such as raccoons and opossums from digging into open-air compost piles. Fruit flies are another nuisance that often accompanies composting efforts.

Most fruit flies enter homes by hitching a ride on the skins of fruits we consume. Adult fruit flies lay their tiny eggs on fruit skins – bananas are an especially popular breeding ground. When we bring fruit home from the grocery store or farmer’s market, we may unwittingly be bringing home a colony of fruit flies as well, Eugene pest control gurus warn.

After they hatch, fruit flies tend to hover around fruit bowls, juice glasses and compost pails or piles.  As Eugene pest management experts can attest, a constant cloud of fruit flies is not the best motivation to keep composting. So we’ve compiled this list of tips on how to keep fruit flies away from your compost:

  • If you keep a food scrap container inside, empty it frequently and keep a lid on it. If problems persist, try storing your container in the refrigerator or freezer, rather than on the countertop.
  • Prevent fruit flies from infesting your outdoor compost by burying fresh scraps under a few inches of compost material. Fruit flies can’t burrow, so covering new food with a layer of grass clippings or dead leaves will prevent them from feeding.
  • If you use a compost bin rather than an open compost pile, make sure your bin has a lid. (The lid must have air holes in it so the worms in the compost can breathe.)

Already have a residential pest control problem brewing around your compost bin? A safe, non-toxic way to remove fruit flies is to poke a couple of holes in a plastic container with a lid. Place a banana peel in the container and wait about 24 hours. Fruit flies are crazy for bananas—they’ll work hard to find their way into that container. As Eugene pest control professionals appreciate, few fruit flies will be able to find their way back out. Once the flies are gathered in this trap, you can simply remove them from your home.

If fruit flies or other residential pest control challenges are plaguing your compost pile, the best solution is to arrange for assistance from a green pest control professional in your area.

[ photo by: katesheets ]

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