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Gnats In My Worm Bin


So I’ve been worm composting inside for a while now. I noticed that all the Red wigglers and I were happiest when I added a good balance of wet mushy left overs from the kitchen; topped with dry coffee grinds, toast crumbs, etc. topped with dead plant material mainly crushed, dried & crumbled plants from the previous year’s harvest and some of my unfortunate unattended to dead house plants.
Once I screwed up…things changed. Gnats; tiny little insects that enjoy laying larvae in damp compost loved the worm bin as much as the wigglers and I did.

Things were going well until several schedule changes in my personal life occurred. This created a domino effect on everything else that depended on me and my time. I rushed to feed the worms their sure-to-eat baby like wet and mushy worm food and ran out the door to work. I didn’t place the usual dry plant material on top of the damp food nor did I replace the newspaper on top.

Gnats welcomed this idea. They loved my schedule and moved right into the worm community. Each time I lifted the cover they’d fly out in adult form.

I learned that gnats love dampness and fungus. I realized that I cannot allow wet compost to rule the worm bin without topping it securely with the added dry plant mulch and newspaper.

It’s been pure hell trying to get rid of them but I did.

I got rid of the escapees by way of light. Flying gnats gathered on the window because it was the most lit area of the room at dusk. I’m a “sap” for living creatures. Even the annoying ones. I felt guilty but I also felt invaded & urgent. I decided to clean my window with window cleaner and wipe them and the window down with paper towel. I did this twice in one week while maintaining the dry plant material and newspaper to securely top off the worm community and have now rid them from my kitchen where my worm bin has been quiet and nonchalant since it arrived about a year ago.

So gnat’s in my worm bin have been one drawback so far to my worm composting experience. My solution wasn’t planned but it did work. However I’ll be hanging a sticky fly paper or two in the area just in case.

For even more worm composting tips and ideas to rid gnats from your worm bin check out this website. Red Worm Composting – Fungus Gnats in Worm Compost Bins It’s full of worm farming ideas, information & problem prevention techniques that may work for you.

I conclude that whatever type of compost method I choose there will always be some type of drawback. I certainly have experienced mine. Maybe scheduling a spin of the back porch tumbler that I chose not to use would have been easier. Still, I enjoy my wigglers and they do unite me every day with nature as I’m hustling out the door to catch that smoggy, crammed city bus. They provide a consistent amount of worm castings year round as well. Thank-you Red wigglers!


Do You Use Worms to Compost?

8 comments to Gnats In My Worm Bin

  • What kind of stuff attracted the gnats? I’d like to know what kind of food items are okay to put in my worm bin. Thanks! – Kristina

  • rap

    Hi Kristina
    In response to your question, “What kind of stuff attracted the gnats?…”
    In my situation it seems not to have been so much the food I fed the worms but rather the excessive moisture that I allowed to accumulate in the overall bin.
    By not adding my usual layers of dryness: chopped-up, dry dead plants, newspaper, cardboard on top of the whole bin I failed to balance out the moisture; coupled with the fact that the cover wasn’t as tightly closed as it should’ve been. It was my first day at a new job and I was running late for the bus….
    My enclosed porch has windows that do not fit the frames and the gaps allow entry to my apartment. I understand that gnats can even enter through screens.
    I keep my worm food in airtight containers inside my refrigerator in the veggie bin to avoid these problems.
    Gnats are attracted to warm, damp, decaying, food especially fruits and veggies.
    Since the citrus fruits are a bit much for worms to take in I avoid giving them this type of fruit because it might sit and decay on it’s own without their help and then it would attract gnats…
    You can check out my post about worm food for more info on what and how I feed and prepare my worm food.
    I hope this helps.

  • Thanks a lot! Big help! :)

  • Richard

    I’ve seen a lot of Venus flytraps appearing on the market in location such as Walmart, Lowes, etc. I’m thinking of combining a little horticulture near my worm farm to fix my gnat/insect problems as they might arise. Has anyone tried or heard news of this being performed yet?

  • rap

    This is a great idea. I did have a Venus Fly Trap once and it did catch insects. They do close up on your finger as well so I do think you are onto something that most of us perhaps have not even considered.
    I’d love to try this method. Did you?
    P.S. I apologize for not discovering your comment until now.
    I have so very much spam to go through.

  • Too hot, no drainage or air flow. You are on the right track. A thoememetrr will help out.  Keep it under 90 degrees and only feed on one side of the bin to allow a place to escape if it gets to hot. The smell is an anaerobic situation caused by over feeding. The water in the food drops to the bottom and creates a situation with no oxygen. That is why the 360 has a drain on the bottom. Also the large area of screen on the bottom allows for air flow and ensures good drainage.

  • Do you mind if I quote a several of your articles or blog posts as long as I provide credit and sources returning to your website: http://www.urbanfarmerlady.com/2011/gnats-in-my-worm-bin/. I will aslo ensure to give you the proper anchortext hyperlink using your blog title: Gnats In My Worm Bin | Urban Farming. Please make sure to let me know if this is acceptable with you. Thankyou

  • rap

    Hi Garrett
    I apologize for my tardy response. Overwhelmed with harvesting/planting.
    You may quote my articles or blog posts as long as you provide the credit and sources returning to my website, as you specified.
    Thanks
    rap

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