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good bug/bad bug in compost?

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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/14/2012, 5:00 pm

I have bugs in my pile. I just take my glasses off and then they are gone. Shocked

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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  greatgranny on 9/14/2012, 6:05 pm

I have a 44 gallon plastic garbage container that I put the sifted compost in. I noticed that there are quite a few pill bugs on the surface. Would it be wise to add some DH by sprinkling it on the top or should I wait until spring and hope that the subzero temps will kill them?
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  bnoles on 9/14/2012, 6:18 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:
@CliffU wrote:

But I didn't care for constantly turning the pile so this fall I will load up both bns with lots of leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, etc. and let nature do the hard work over the winter and hopefully have plenty of compost by mid summer. My calculations are 90 cu ft. of material, in two bins, will make 26 cu ft. finished compost.


I would leave the pine needles out of the mix as they take much longer to break down and you will not have it done by your time frame.

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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  southern gardener on 9/14/2012, 7:00 pm

@greatgranny wrote:I have a 44 gallon plastic garbage container that I put the sifted compost in. I noticed that there are quite a few pill bugs on the surface. Would it be wise to add some DH by sprinkling it on the top or should I wait until spring and hope that the subzero temps will kill them?

i have 2 barrels of really nice compost, I moved the top around a little the other day, and TONS of those rollie pollies came out...i thought they'd have left, but they only dug down deeper ;(
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  camprn on 9/15/2012, 9:22 am

The pill bugs in compost are not a bad thing, they help to continue the breakdown of decaying organic matter.

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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  greatgranny on 9/15/2012, 11:31 am

@camprn wrote:The pill bugs in compost are not a bad thing, they help to continue the breakdown of decaying organic matter.

I understand that part. My concern is about when adding compost to the boxes in the spring. I would not want them in the MM.
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  southern gardener on 9/15/2012, 11:46 am

@greatgranny wrote:
@camprn wrote:The pill bugs in compost are not a bad thing, they help to continue the breakdown of decaying organic matter.

I understand that part. My concern is about when adding compost to the boxes in the spring. I would not want them in the MM.

GG: that is a valid concern, it's happening here. My finished compost is loaded with pillbugs. What I've been doing is adding the compost to the square, then I've been using Sluggo-Plus. It naturally kills pillbugs, earwigs, slugs and snails, then turns into a fertilizer. At least, that's what they say. It takes a couple of days to work, but it does. It's supposed to be organic too. Those pillbugs and earwigs will mow down your seedlings! I've lost so many squares to those nasty tiny bugs! Now, the birds have decided to come along and pull up my seedlings, and just leave them pale , so back to covering them until they can take a peck or two. I don't know how organic farmers do this on a large scale!! affraid affraid
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  RoOsTeR on 9/15/2012, 12:01 pm

Generally speaking, pill bugs live on decomposing organic matter and aren't the culprits of damaged plants. Notice I said generally Very Happy . Most times plant damage is caused by other bugs and blamed on the rollie pollie. My compost usually has lots of pill bugs and I use it and have never paid them much attention. Pill bugs and earwigs usually come from really moist environments. Try cutting the moisture back a bit in your compost pile and see if that helps at all. Personally, unless I was absolutely certain it was pill bugs causing damage, I don't worry about it, but that's just me. In my beds, they seem to do more good than bad.

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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  camprn on 9/15/2012, 12:03 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:Generally speaking, pill bugs live on decomposing organic matter and aren't the culprits of damaged plants. Notice I said generally Very Happy . Most times plant damage is caused by other bugs and blamed on the rollie pollie. My compost usually has lots of pill bugs and I use it and have never paid them much attention. Pill bugs and earwigs usually come from really moist environments. Try cutting the moisture back a bit in your compost pile and see if that helps at all. Personally, unless I was absolutely certain it was pill bugs causing damage, I don't worry about it, but that's just me. In my beds, they seem to do more good than bad.
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  greatgranny on 9/15/2012, 12:27 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:Generally speaking, pill bugs live on decomposing organic matter and aren't the culprits of damaged plants. Notice I said generally Very Happy . Most times plant damage is caused by other bugs and blamed on the rollie pollie. My compost usually has lots of pill bugs and I use it and have never paid them much attention. Pill bugs and earwigs usually come from really moist environments. Try cutting the moisture back a bit in your compost pile and see if that helps at all. Personally, unless I was absolutely certain it was pill bugs causing damage, I don't worry about it, but that's just me. In my beds, they seem to do more good than bad.

Okay, I will see how it is in the spring and take your word for it and also have some Sluggo-Plus handy just in case. Very cold hard freezing this winter may do a number on them and also, like you said, let it dry out before adding to the squares.
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  southern gardener on 9/15/2012, 1:12 pm

@greatgranny wrote:
@RoOsTeR wrote:Generally speaking, pill bugs live on decomposing organic matter and aren't the culprits of damaged plants. Notice I said generally Very Happy . Most times plant damage is caused by other bugs and blamed on the rollie pollie. My compost usually has lots of pill bugs and I use it and have never paid them much attention. Pill bugs and earwigs usually come from really moist environments. Try cutting the moisture back a bit in your compost pile and see if that helps at all. Personally, unless I was absolutely certain it was pill bugs causing damage, I don't worry about it, but that's just me. In my beds, they seem to do more good than bad.

Okay, I will see how it is in the spring and take your word for it and also have some Sluggo-Plus handy just in case. Very cold hard freezing this winter may do a number on them and also, like you said, let it dry out before adding to the squares.

Sounds like a good plan. Be sure it's the sluggo plus, the regular sluggo doesn't work on the earwigs and rolliepollies. i went out one night to see what was mowing down my plants, and there were hundreds of earwigs/rollie pollies like lumberjacks plowing everything down! Mostly earwigs, but the rolliepollies were there too, feasting on the young stalks. Once I put down the sluggo plus, they stopped, and I got my seedlings to survive. i didn't do it this last go round, and am now finding the "stumps" again......drat! Re planted and did the sluggo, and there's dead rollie pollies all over, no earwigs tho. It seems like the sluggo really got RID of the earwigs, whereas it only killed the "current" rolliepollies. So, hopefully I'll get my plants up this time. Good luck in whatever you decide to do Smile
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  Lindacol on 9/15/2012, 3:45 pm

@southern gardener wrote:Sounds like a good plan. Be sure it's the sluggo plus, the regular sluggo doesn't work on the earwigs and rolliepollies. i went out one night to see what was mowing down my plants, and there were hundreds of earwigs/rollie pollies like lumberjacks plowing everything down! Mostly earwigs, but the rolliepollies were there too, feasting on the young stalks. Once I put down the sluggo plus, they stopped, and I got my seedlings to survive. i didn't do it this last go round, and am now finding the "stumps" again......drat! Re planted and did the sluggo, and there's dead rollie pollies all over, no earwigs tho. It seems like the sluggo really got RID of the earwigs, whereas it only killed the "current" rolliepollies. So, hopefully I'll get my plants up this time. Good luck in whatever you decide to do Smile



SG did you get the sluggo plus locally or order on line? I am also in southern CA and have not found it on the shelves anywhere.
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  southern gardener on 9/15/2012, 6:17 pm

@Lindacol wrote:
@southern gardener wrote:Sounds like a good plan. Be sure it's the sluggo plus, the regular sluggo doesn't work on the earwigs and rolliepollies. i went out one night to see what was mowing down my plants, and there were hundreds of earwigs/rollie pollies like lumberjacks plowing everything down! Mostly earwigs, but the rolliepollies were there too, feasting on the young stalks. Once I put down the sluggo plus, they stopped, and I got my seedlings to survive. i didn't do it this last go round, and am now finding the "stumps" again......drat! Re planted and did the sluggo, and there's dead rollie pollies all over, no earwigs tho. It seems like the sluggo really got RID of the earwigs, whereas it only killed the "current" rolliepollies. So, hopefully I'll get my plants up this time. Good luck in whatever you decide to do Smile



SG did you get the sluggo plus locally or order on line? I am also in southern CA and have not found it on the shelves anywhere.

Lindacol: I got it at our local "Ag Rx" place. We live in a very agricultural area and this place provides the "real farmers" with stuff for their fields. I saw the regular Sluggo at Home Depot, but not the "+". I hope you can find it.
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  floyd1440 on 9/16/2012, 8:09 pm

"I would leave the pine needles out of the mix as they take much longer to break down and you will not have it done by your time frame"

Last spring I was searching for browns for my first pile and had lots of pine needles but didn't know they took so long to break down so plan on cutting back but do wonder how long they take to break down using mother nature?
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  CliffU on 9/25/2012, 4:04 am

Just a quick follow up from my previous post. Made a sifter with screen and 2x4 frame. Sifted out the grubs, and any larger debris went back into the composter (not much). I had a larger than usual cardboard packing box that had a good surface area to sift into.

The box was left in the sun (extremely hot for a couple days), away from the garden area. After a couple days in the sun, no earwigs, no pill bugs, just a few worms that survived. Not sure if the bugs just dried up, or crawled out at night, but no longer in the compost. It was hard to believe that all those bugs just disappeared.

Thanks for the tips.
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Re: good bug/bad bug in compost?

Post  southern gardener on 9/26/2012, 10:59 am

@CliffU wrote:Just a quick follow up from my previous post. Made a sifter with screen and 2x4 frame. Sifted out the grubs, and any larger debris went back into the composter (not much). I had a larger than usual cardboard packing box that had a good surface area to sift into.

The box was left in the sun (extremely hot for a couple days), away from the garden area. After a couple days in the sun, no earwigs, no pill bugs, just a few worms that survived. Not sure if the bugs just dried up, or crawled out at night, but no longer in the compost. It was hard to believe that all those bugs just disappeared.

Thanks for the tips.

nice! i understand rollie pollies can't dry out or they die, so i suspect with that hot temp, they moved on! good job!
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