Worms / caterpillars in my compost pile, help

Discussion in 'Plant Pests, Diseases and Weeds' started by Coretta, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Coretta

    Coretta New Seed

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    image.jpeg Hi, I'm new here and have a distinct garden related problem, hence my activity on this site. My compost pile, which I spent almost a year building, is now infested with some totally disgusting looking worm/caterpillars .......they seem to have hatched from huge amounts of grass clippings....can't identify them....kinda like cut worms, kinda like sod worms....my problem being, is my compost now something to avoid putting on the garden next spring?
     
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  3. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Welcome! It would really help to know where you are (state, if you are in the USA, or province if in Canada, or area if in UK, etc.).
    If you keep tossing your compost during the winter, assuming you have cold winters, the compost ought to be safe to use in the spring.
    By the way, I found a great way to diet. Just take a look at this website before lunch or dinner, and you won't want to eat!

    http://www.pbase.com/tmurray74/moth_caterpillars
     
  4. Islandlife

    Islandlife Young Pine

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    When I read this my initial thought was that if you've actually got the red garden worms going in your compost then big bonus. Not sure about the bug in the photo though.
     
  5. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    That looks like the larvae form of the Carpet Beetle. It's a common pest in the Utah area, is that where you are? If that is what it is I have found no information that they are harmful to plants but don't let them get inside, that's where they become a problem.
    You might want to contact your local agriculture extension office, every major city has one they are connected to a major university in each state or region. They will be able to ID the critter and give you info on it's harmful potential and how to get rid of it.
     
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  6. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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  7. Coretta

    Coretta New Seed

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    I'm in Tennessee. these things are a seething mass, causing the compost pile to literally seeth and undulate with their activity. Whenever I add garbage from the house, such as banana peels, lettuce ends, etc., these "creatures" come up from inside the pile and devour everything....they don't seem to mind that it's well over 100 degrees in the pile! I've looked at several pictures and will research a couple that sort of look like these caterpillers.
     
  8. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Read Carolyns link,, Seems these guys are processing your garbage. They are a business by themselves.
    They may be more efficient than worms. They are not harmful to your garden,, in fact they help it. They produce castings which enriches the compost same as red worms do. So leave them in the compost bin. If you get too many just sell them to anyone that likes to fish.
    I may try to get some started here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  9. Coretta

    Coretta New Seed

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    Mart and Carolyn, thank you so much for the help!!! Can't tell you how relieved I am to discover these grubs are GOOD grubs!! It would seem I've been blessed!! Lol!
     
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  10. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Indeed you have. According to what they say,, they process the kitchen scraps more efficiently than worms do and turn it into rich compost.
     
  11. Coretta

    Coretta New Seed

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    Carolyn, I watched your YouTube videos of Black Soldier Fly activity and see that your grubs are white....the ones gorging on food scraps.....All I've ever seen in my compost pile is huge masses of dark brown, almost black grubs, devouring everything I put in there....is this normal? I've never seen white ones! But the dark ones you show in your videos are definitely what I have in my compost pile.
     
  12. Tacticalgardener

    Tacticalgardener Seedling

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    Hey, I have those (mine look exactly like your picture) in my compost and they moved into my worm bin too. I got upset when I first found them. I scrambled to find out what they were thinking they were going to kill all my worms in my worm bin. I found out they are soldier fly larva. Come to find out there are people who have "soldier fly bins" instead of worm bins to make castings. They have been in my worm bin for close to a year and my worms are coexisting with them perfectly. You will see when they "shed their skin" to become flies, they leave the little hollow worm skin behind.
     

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