Composting is a fantastic way to transform useless food scraps and organic yard waste into something useful, but it can invite some pests if not properly managed. Flies, for instance, can prove to be an immediate nuisance.
Luckily, TikToker busychrisgardening (@busychrisgardening) has a trick up her sleeve to keep them away.
@busychrisgardening Not enough carbon makes the soil acidic. #novicegardener #compost #flies #compostproblems #carbon #cardboard #leaves #learntogrow #learntocompost #gardening #garden #noworriesgardening #southernhemispheregardening #growyourown #growyourownfood ♬ original sound – EX7STENCE™
What’s the secret?
The TikToker explains in her video, “Little flies hanging around your compost means there are too many food scraps vs. the amount of carbon. Add cardboard or dried leaves.”
And that’s it! If cardboard or dried leaves aren’t handy, other papery products like newspapers would also work just as well. If applied properly, the fruit flies should continually shrink in number until they’re all gone.
“I’ve managed to bring it back from the brink,” a TikTok commenter, who also tried the method, writes.
Why don’t flies like cardboard or dried leaves?
While food scraps also contain carbon, they’re far more nutrient-rich and easier to break down than cardboard. By introducing a dry, carbon-rich material on top of a compost pile, you create a barrier between the flies and the old vegetables or fruits, which is what they’re really after.
This also ensures that the helpful microorganisms that create good compost are the only ones breaking down your food waste.
Is this the only solution?
If you don’t have a backyard with lots of leafy trees, don’t have much cardboard lying around to break down and chuck into your compost bin, or the flies are simply too out of control, you can catch fruit flies with an apple cider vinegar trap.
Grab a Mason jar (or something similar), pour in a fourth of a cup of apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap. Mix them together. Then, wrap the top of the container with something like cling film, and poke a few holes into it.
The apple cider vinegar will attract the flies, the soap will prevent them from flying away, and the cling film will make it easy for flies to enter, but difficult to leave, even if they do manage to escape from the liquid.
This is the best and most economical solution to getting rid of a fruit fly problem, but they will likely return if the composition of your compost is too food-rich, so make sure to introduce dry carbon-rich items to prevent those buzzing pests from coming back.
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