Roaches in compost? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-09-2010, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've had a compost tumbler for a few years now, and have never quite gotten a decent batch of compost. I gave up last year, for lack of time to research what I was doing wrong. Then DH tossed a whole pumpkin in there (from Halloween, uncarved) and in three days it was mostly gone! So I started tossing in kitchen scraps (eggshells, banana peels, etc) and turning it every day. Yesterday I went to put something in, and a GIANT roach crawled out. We get them around in the summer, and now and then one makes it into the house, looking for water, so I know it's not a stretch that one (or a nest) would be in the compost.

But is this safe to use for food growing? (Seems like disease-carrying vermin are not what you want pooping in your food-growing soil...) Is it normal to have roaches in your compost bin? Is there a good way to deter them?
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#2 of 10 Old 06-10-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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just coming to post exactly this. Yuck! i think it was a roach, lighter in colour to what i have previously seen, though.
we are composting virgins. dh got me one for mothers day

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#3 of 10 Old 06-10-2010, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't think I could be the only one -- but are we the only two who think this is a problem? ;-) I'm waffling between, "Well, of course there are roaches in there -- it's ROTTING FOOD and dirt!" and "Of course you can't use compost to grow food if there were disease-carrying vermin in there, are you crazy?"

So, experts, which is it???
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#4 of 10 Old 06-10-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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what's buggin’ ya?
AN EDUCATIONAL NEWSLETTER ON MANAGING INSECTS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT: COCKROACHES IN MY COMPOST ?!?
http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/IPM/What's%...20Winter08.pdf

Many gardeners who maintain a compost pile or bin will, on occasion, find cockroaches in their compost. While cockroaches aren’t often thought of as beneficial insects, they do have an important role in our ecosystem. They are recyclers, and help break down or eat the trash that we throw out. Without them and other recyclers, we would be up to our ears in trash. Cockroaches in your compost bin are doing just that – helping break down your trash into the usable compost form you like!
HTH

~Cath
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#5 of 10 Old 06-10-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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thx, made me feel better about it! still a little grossed out by it. I detest cockroaches.

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#6 of 10 Old 06-11-2010, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ella-makes-3 View Post
thx, made me feel better about it! still a little grossed out by it. I detest cockroaches.
Ditto!
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#7 of 10 Old 06-11-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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I don't remember any kind of bugs in my Dad's compost heap. But our yard was 3/4 of an acre and neither the compost heap nor the garden itself were near the house so I don't think it would have been an issue anyway.

Having said that, I seem to remember reading that once everything is decomposed that the roaches would have nothing to feed off of. I would seriously consider letting that happen here and then starting over again.

Just a suggestion.

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#8 of 10 Old 06-14-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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thx, I am thinking we have too much green and not enough brown.
also trying to add some worms to it also, to help break it down.
we are using too many food scraps i think, dh is just throwing everything in ( not meat ) and we need to turn it more often.

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#9 of 10 Old 06-14-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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Would this count for fruit flies too? My new tumbler (I'm new to this too) has a lot of these little flies inside. Any advice?

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#10 of 10 Old 06-14-2010, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've had those, too... I just read something that said you might need more brown if there are flies, but I think my problem the first year was too much brown. Now I have some brown (leftovers from failed batches) and mostly food scraps, and it seems to be working at little better (or else the roaches ate the entire pumpkin and nothing else is composting.... Not sure which yet!)
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