Compost bins are a great way to keep your home garden nutrient-rich and healthy.
A few scraps from your kitchen and hey presto, you’ve got yourself some great soil to grow your little back garden.
But the downside? Compost bins attract pests, bugs, worms and roaches that teem to the food matter in the bins.
While bugs—even roaches—might be natural decomposers that help with the decomposition, you do not want them to take over your compost bin, or worse, migrate into your homes.
Which means you’re probably wondering: How do I keep roaches out of my compost bin?
How? You keep your compost in a sealed container that those pesky roaches can wriggle into.
A closed reactor system or even an in-vessel system where the entire process of decomposition in the bins happens in an enclosed space would be ideal.
Bins with tiny air holes have also been known to work, so perhaps try barrel composting, with a mind to keep it well aerated to allow proper decomposition.
2.Turn your soil
Roaches will scurry to bins that have been allowed to ‘sit’ for too long.
So turning your soil regularly will not just deter them from ‘making’ a home there, the activity will also shake up any roaches that have already found a way in.
It also allows oxygen to get infused in the soil, which keeps air circulation going.
Keeping the temperature of the compost bin high will allow the pile to ‘cook’ faster without releasing any odours that might attract roaches.
3.Manage the area around the compost bin
Right, so the big pile of compost is an open buffet to these critters. There is little you can do to make it less appealing to pests.
But, what you can do is treat the area surrounding the pit, to make it harder for them to get to it.
Trim the shrubs or plants around the compost bin. This allows air and light to filter in and improves circulation. Remove any weeds, ivy or even dense patches of vegetation near the bin.
Spraying pesticides on your compost bin is a hard no. The whole point of slogging on a composting bin is to keep things natural and not use chemical fertilisers or pesticides on your plants.
Try treating the area around the bin with boric acid powder to drive away broaches. Another organic pest control method is to mix in diatomaceous earth.
But never use it directly on the compost pile, merely around it.
Along with silica, diatomaceous earth kills roaches by seeping into their joints and causing them to shrivel… definitely not PETA approved, but gets the job done.
Neem oil is a relatively painless-to-the-roaches- way of getting rid of pests. It is a repellant that can be applied through spraying or even directly painting on the leaves. Bonus, it is completely non-toxic to humans.
5.Consider using an Aerator
An aerator is a device used to mix air in with any other substance— in this case, with the soil. An aerator moves in a sharp, twisting motion that will loosen the compost enough to keep air circulation going.
This twisting motion of the device turns the compost pile around more, frequently, preventing it from ‘sitting’ stagnant and attracting roaches.
6. Maintain moisture and temperature
Roaches will attack and infest your compost when your compost bin smells bad. When does it smell bad? When it doesn’t have enough water and also when the temperature is not high enough to allow decomposition.
So check your compost to make sure it is hot and has enough moisture to help with the decomposition process.
Chicken love to eat roaches and bugs. A chicken or two in your garden will pick out the roaches from the compost bin and solve your pest problem.
Chicken poop also happens to be beneficial to your compost bins.
8. Know your ratios
It is important to know the correct green to brown ratio. Green materials include fresh leaves or grass while brown materials include dead grass, newspapers etc.
When you get the ratio correct, there should be little opportunity for a roach infestation.
Things to keep in mind when dealing with compost bins and roaches
Here are some tips to remember to help prevent bugs and roaches from getting into the compost.
1.When you’re setting up the area for your compost pit, make sure to keep it away from a water source.
Not only do you not want to contaminate the water, but roaches also tend to thrive in places where there are food and moisture for them to survive on.
However, this doesn’t mean you allow your compost bin to be dry. Just the opposite, they need enough moisture to allow for decomposition.
The ideal location is one that is dry, shady and preferably out of sight. You can either build your compost bin or just pop over to your nearest garden centre and purchase one.
2.The most important step is to keep constant vigilance. You will need to check your compost bin regularly to check for moisture, air circulation and optimal temperature.
Not only do you need to check the above, but you also need to keep track of what you put in your compost bin. You cannot just dump everything you want in there and expect it to turn into fertiliser.
If you maintain the right ratios and supply the right materials, it will greatly reduce the chances of roaches swarming the bin.
You should also check your compost bin regularly, to keep an eye out for possible infestations, One or two roaches can turn into an outbreak within days if you’re not careful.
3.Speaking of not dumping anything you want to in your compost bin, avoid putting dog or cat waste in the compost. Just, don’t.
This list also includes any dairy products, meat fish or poultry scraps, diseased or insect ridden plants or any fatty and greasy food waste, including lard and oil.
Do not put coal or charcoal ash in there either, in the hopes of making a diamond.
4. Using the right tools and proper protective gear while working on your compost bin is a no brainer.
Imagine this scenario: You are turning your compost, and you notice an alarming number of roaches or bugs swarming your shovel. It’s time to get out the pitchforks.
Line the edges with fly-paper that will prevent critters from climbing up your garden tool.