East Sacramento is now implementing a new state law that requires residents to separate organic materials in an effort to keep them from ending up in our landfills. Composting food scraps, food soiled paper, and yard trimmings can have great benefits, extending the capacity of our landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and turning organic materials into nutrient dense soil. Compost bins, however, can invite unwanted pests in the form of flies or maggots. They can be a real nuisance when opening the lid and being dive-bombed by these creatures.
Did you know that flies play a significant role in turning food waste into compost?
Flies and maggots help to break down the organic material into compost. This includes fruit flies. Much like earthworms, flies and their larvae feed on the organic materials, help aerate it, and turn it into a nutrient rich fertilizer. The downside is that they are prolific breeders and infestations can seem to happen overnight. Here are some helpful tips in managing your waste bins when flies have taken over.
Keep the lid on your waste bins: do not leave the bin open for any extended period of time. Make sure it is securely shut after each addition. This cuts off access to flies trying to make their way in.
Try to layer the organic material: adding some brown or green waste on top of the composite waste can stop flies from getting to the compost and prevent too many larvae from forming.
Keep bins away from doors: do not keep your bins too close to entry ways. Every time you open your door you risk flies coming into your home.
Do not skip weekly collections: make sure your bin is emptied weekly. Especially in the hotter months of the year, compost bins can get smelly and pest-ridden quickly. Ensuring your bin is emptied weekly can greatly reduce the chance of infestations.
Wash your bin periodically: because of the nature of composting, bins can get a build up of organic material left at the bottom or on the sides of your bin. If your bin gets too much build-up, you can simply clean it out using a garden house. Avoid using any household cleaners as they man contain harmful ingredients that can contaminate the compost.
Conclusion: Composting is essential for the environment. It enriches soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. In addition, a nutrient rich soil can encourage the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi and even suppress plant diseases and pests. Whether you are composting for the benefit of your own garden or collecting it for city pick up, we all want to do our part. Let us also do our part by making sure our bins are responsibly managed.
Moth flies, also known as drain flies, are small non-biting gnats that can be quite the nuisance to homeowners. Most of the time they are only temporarily problematic; however, untreated areas can quickly lead to a greater issue, with a growing number of uninvited fly guests that will not seem to ever leave. Lingering infestations can be even more challenging, so before you “fly” off the handle with frustration, let’s get a better understanding of how these small creatures thrive and how to treat for them in order to effectively eliminate these stubborn pests.
The most important thing that a moth fly needs to survive is moisture. They can live almost anywhere there is water but are most seen indoors emerging from drains or other areas that contain standing water (even in the smallest amount). The eggs are laid in organic matter like the slimy film you see in pipes or on the water’s surface. Each adult fly can lay up to 300 eggs which hatch within 48 hours. Once hatched, the larvae live in the organic matter for up to 15 days before reaching the pupal stage in which they then morph into the adult moth fly.
Although these flies do not bite, they primarily breed in drains which means they could potentially carry and spread disease-causing bacteria. Infestations can be traced to sink drains, floor drains, sump pumps, and even under homes where pipelines have a break or leak, causing standing water to accumulate.
Sanitation is critical: The removal and clean-up of breeding sources are the best methods for eliminating an infestation. This includes consistent cleaning of drains, repairing leaking or broken pipes, removing any standing water, and making sure all previously saturated areas are completely dry. Bleach and hot water will not eliminate fly larvae! It is best not to treat “on the fly”, but instead, use a stiff drain brush and a bacterial-based cleaning product. Please DO NOT pour insecticides down the drain!
Dry out saturated areas: Make sure to remove all debris and wet materials. You can remove standing water from crawl spaces using a sump pump. After the water has been properly drained, you will need to remove any moisture from the area. Dehumidifiers and fans work well for rapid dry out.
Be persistent: Make sure to inspect for multiple breeding sources by checking every potential area. When in doubt, ask a professional for assistance in locating and eliminating these abrasive pests.
- Call 916-531-1261