If you have a worm bin or a worm farm, then you know that one of the most common problems is maggots.
Maggots are the larvae of adult flies and they love to feast on decaying organic matter, kitchen scraps, and piles of waste.
If you have a lot of maggots on your worm farm, it’s probably because there is too much worm food for them to eat, which has spoiled and attracted flies.
The flies will have then left their larvae in your worms feed.
While maggots are not harmful to your worms, they can quickly turn your worm farm into a smelly mess.
Not only are they gross, but they can also cause population spirals if left unchecked.
There are a few ways to get rid of maggots in your worm farm.
Some are tedious but effective – others are easier, but may not be as thorough and we will find out more about them in this article.
How to Get Rid of Maggots in My Worm Farm
The simplest approach to eliminating maggots in the worm bed is to prevent them from appearing in the first place. This is easy to do.
1. Maintain a Balanced Compost Pile in your worm bin
By maintaining your compost pile in balance, you’ll avoid the majority of unwanted pests like maggots, earwigs, beetles, millipedes, sow bugs, and pill bugs.
Add brown (carbon-rich) items to your compost pile to help eliminate the maggots.
Consider including things like cardboard, leaves, or wood chips in your pile.
2. Large Amounts of Grass Clippings Should Be Avoided
Grass clippings are excellent additions to your compost pile.
However, don’t dump all of it at once.
Flies will find thick layers of fresh-cut grass to be very appealing.
Instead, spread out the clippings and allow them to dry before adding them (one little piece at a time) to your compost heap.
3. Install Window Shutters
If you have an enclosed compost system, cover any holes in it with a window screen.
Air holes are necessary for the composting process, but they should be small enough to keep out pests from the worm beds.
4. Bury Your Food Scraps
If you’re adding food scraps to your compost heap, bury them beneath at least 2 inches of other materials.
Especially, be sure to cover and bury nitrogen-rich food waste which are conducive for maggots.
This will make it much harder for flies to find them and lay their eggs on top of the food in worm bins.
Meat, fat, and dairy products should not be composted since they take a few weeks to decompose.
Avoid citrus fruits and greasy food waste which can attract fruit flies.
5. Keep It Covered
Maintain the temperature and moisture levels in the pile by using a shade cloth for covering. It helps for a healthy composting process.
Vinegar also kills the live maggots in a compost pile while also making the environment less appealing for flies to develop.
It also aids in the removal of odors that attract flies, preventing them from laying eggs.
The ideal approach to using vinegar in your compost is to combine one part of vinegar with three parts of boiling water, then pour it over the pile.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to keep maggots out of your worm farm for good.
Are Maggots Ok in Worm Farms?
The answer to this question may be a yes and a no.
Maggots are beneficial to a worm farm. They will not harm the worms and may help with aeration and decomposition.
They will genuinely help to break down a compost pile more quickly, allowing you to use much more “black gold” around your plants sooner than you thought possible.
Maggots are commonly an indication that something is wrong with your compost pile, whether it’s the moisture level or pH.
As a result, their presence should be seen as a signal pointing out the need for action.
Are Maggots Harmful to Worms?
Worm farming is a fantastic approach to utilize your kitchen waste and create a lot of worm castings for your garden.
Although it appears to be an easy process, growing compost worms isn’t as simple as it seems.
In many cases, you’ll accumulate hitchhikers in your worm bin, resulting in vermicompost contaminated with maggots.
Once your worm farm has established itself, you’ll frequently come across a variety of different animals crammed inside the bin with your worm herd.
Maggots are not harmful to worms and are beneficial since they help break down organic matter and contribute to the natural recycling process.
There are 3 different kinds of maggots that can occur in worm farms from time to time.
- Fruit fly or common house flies
As their name suggests, they come from fruit flies or other small flies that lay eggs in the bin.
- Black soldier flies
They are commonly found in compost heaps, manure piles, and worm farms.
Black soldier flies break down organic waste, absorbing nutrients and recycling them.
They are not particularly harmful to humans, but soldier fly larvae presence in a worm farm is undesirable.
They look slightly different to your typical maggot, at least after their initial stages of life where they start to darken and their segments start to become more prominent, before turning into pupae about an inch long.
- Certain beetles
Some types of beetles will lay their eggs on worm farms. The larvae that hatch from these eggs are maggots.
Most maggots pose no threat to earthworms.
However, if there is an overpopulation of maggots in the compost bins, they will compete with worms for food and can quickly reduce the worm population.
Why Are There Maggots in My Worm Compost Bin or Farm?
White maggots are often discovered in compost.
If you have a home composting bin or even an outdoor compost pile, chances are you will eventually find maggots in there.
So why are there maggots in your worm beds?
During hot days, when temperatures are just right, flies are looking for places to lay their eggs.
They are attracted to the smell of:
- Rotting food waste (this could be due to over feeding/too much food)
- Pet feces
- Food waste
- Manure, and
- Decaying organic materials
Slimy, wet, smelly, and moist conditions are most favorable for maggots and black soldier fly larvae to develop.
Hang a few fly strips and traps nearby if maggots keep infesting the compost.
Flies will be attracted to them, they will be trapped, and their eggs will not be laid.
During hot, humid weather, these traps can be very beneficial.
Also, add a fresh carbon layer of worm bedding to your worm bin, such as:
- dead leaves or dry grass
- crushed eggshells
- shredded paper
and avoiding nitrogen-rich material to boost the Carbon: Nitrogen ratio and decrease attraction for flies.
Use a slice of bread soaked in milk to eliminate them from the surface of the farm after a few days.
Keep the fresh bedding moist for your worms but not so moist as to attract flies to your worm bin.
On the flip side, dry bedding is a big no-no and if worms died in your worm bin in the past, that could be one of the potential causes.
Maggots are the larvae of flies and they are attracted to decaying organic matter or compost pile.
Excess moisture and a lack of aeration are usually the cause of maggots in worm farms.
If you find maggots, make sure to check the moisture level and aerate the bedding more frequently.
You can also add food scraps slowly so that the worms have time to eat them before they start to decompose.
Getting rid of these unwanted pests can be done by adding fresh carbon bedding, using a slice of bread soaked in milk, or by adding food scraps slowly.
Some of the methods mentioned would also help.