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Compost Flys

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DellDGM starts with ...
Ahhhh! My compost bin is driving me nuts. Every time I open it to put something in millions of these little flies come shooting out, I have only just started my compost bin this year. I have 2 Black container compost bins and one spinny one. I only put vegetable/fruit scraps, shredded newspaper and straw, and occasionally some cow manure. Is this normal. What can I do about it? We live on a suburban block so all these flies are pretty anoying so close to the house
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Delldgm
Adelaide
12th September 2007 7:35pm
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Correy says...
We have a compost bin as well which when we open the lid it is teaming with all sorts of bugs which is a good thing as they are helping to break it all down.

There are a lot of those little flies in it as well, not as many as you say though.

If they were fruit fly and you had an excessive amount you might like to try a few of these products to get rid of them.

http://www.daleysfruit.com.au/Wild-May-Fruit-Fly-Control-System.htm

-----
It seems that no matter how many food scraps, ground coffee dregs and even branches and leaves we put in the bin it seems to always remain half full.

I took a few pictures of our compost bin. We use a bit of lime every now and then which helps break it down faster.
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Correy
Woolloongabba, QLD
13th September 2007 9:38am
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DellDGM says...
We are supposedly fruit fly free here in SA - I don't even know what they look like. With the lime is that the same as dolomite - can I use this to speed it up?
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Delldgm
Adelaide
13th September 2007 12:59pm
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Kath says...
They are most likely to be vinegar flies, Drosophila melanogaster they are attracted to fermenting or rotting fruit and are common in compost. They are even more commonly found in genetics laboratories around the world. This is one of the most studied of all animals (besides humans) and has contributed greatly to our understanding of genetics. Its short life cycle of only a couple of weeks makes it ideal for genetic research.

The larvae feed on the bacteria and yeast found in rotting fruit and can cause great problems for wineries and fruit-juice producers. The Vinegar Fly is not actually a fruit fly as it does not feed on fruit directly, just the yeasts associated with rotting fruit. The name 'fruit fly' is more correctly applied to flies in the family Tephritidae.
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Kath
Cawongla
14th September 2007 8:09am
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Scott G says...
I have 2 types of compost bins. The more sealed ones attract fewer vinegar flies. But they can get in quite small gaps.

I have also found that if my kitchen waste in the compost bin is covered with a thin layer of fine mulch it attracts fewer flies. I expect this mulch layer makes it hard for the flies to get to the vegetable waste but I also think there may be other factors involved. If the covering very dry and dusty the top of the compost is almost completely devoid of bugs. My most extreme case was when I emptied my vacuum cleaner out onto it (being fairly sure I had vacuumed little unnatural material) there wasn’t a fly to be found. My compost bins have lids that keep the rain off so any dry covering I throw on stays dry.
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Scott G
Gold Coast
14th September 2007 11:58am
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Rod says...
Kath, lucky for you that wasn't part of a university essay! If so you would be found guilty of plagiarism!!
It was virtually cut and paste from
http://www.faunanet.gov.au/wos/factfile.cfm?Fact_ID=186 !!!

Rod
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Rod2
Melbourne
30th May 2008 5:30pm
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Becki says...
AAAGH! My compost is absolutely teaming with these little black flies too, and now they have come in the house!!! I just got my husband to throw heaps of soil in my bin as they were freaking me out. How long will they stay in the house?? Please Help!!
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`Perth
11th August 2008 10:18pm
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Anonymous says...
excellent...not

use coopex to kill.
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11th August 2008 11:37pm
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Anonymous says...
Coopex is permethrin. It has a few drawbacks . Kills fish and worms,alas.
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12th August 2008 10:18am
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HappyEarth says...
I suggest planting some dense shrubs near your compost bin. We have a grey fantail who spends his whole afternoon eating the vinegar flys cause of the shrubs near the bin ... great entertainment!!

Check out:

http://www.happyearth.com.au/home/2008/8/11/natural-pest-management-in-action.html

Rich
www.happyearth.com.au
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Wollongong
12th August 2008 3:13pm
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John says...
I liked the old coopex, it was diazinon, nice and long lived organo phosphate.
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John20
Perth
13th August 2008 12:44pm
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Mary anne says...
I too am plagued by thousands of little black flies. They get into my compost bins through the air holes on the side and the regular fly spray wil not kill them but the surface sprays do. Expensive and now I have started a worm farm they have invaded that too. This is a store bought black plastic bin with only realllly minute holes on the top. Each layer sits inside each other on ribs with no gaps larger over 2mm.
They come inside the house and I am worried about the fruits on my many newly planted fruit trees. ARE these sandfly sized flies fruit flys or what? Are the fruit flies still to come and are they bigger than these things? How big are fruit flies compared to the common house fly? Will these if they are vinegar flies attack sound fruits on my fruit trees or just damaged or rotting ones?
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Mary anne
Caloundra
1st September 2008 5:34pm
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Don says...
Hello Sir/Madam.

This is , Don Williams , and im interesting in purchasing some of your {Sankey Ecomax Compost Bin : EcoMAX 330 ltr } Ihave branch located in free Players and i will also like to know the type of Payment you take , I also want you to get back to me with the total Prizes as well what you have in Stock, and i want you to get back to me with the brand and the sizes that u have in stock at the moment and also the type of credit cards you do accept for payment so that we can go from there.hope to hear from you soon..

Best Regards.

Don Williams....
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Don4
Order ....
3rd September 2008 4:43pm
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Josie says...
I live in SA and my compost bin is FULL of the pesky little things. I dont know what to do, people have suggested to put traps, but why would the things be attraccted to a piece of orange when theres a whole compost bin to thrive in?
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SA
29th October 2008 9:23am
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Nick says...
Place hession over the top, keeps the bugs down to a minimum and if you keep it moist it will help break down the food scraps under it quicker. You can buy lengths of hession from Aussie Disposals and possibly from Bunnings.Make sure its the old style hession and not the weaved plastic they are using a lot these days.... good luck!
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Nick3
Outer East Melbourne
30th October 2008 9:08am
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FINNY says...
I have an infestation in my Composting Toilet. Pyrethrum Spray (Organic) twice a day for seven to ten days in the shit tub and also in the compost tray.
Do not rely on visual numbers of flies in the area. their progeny are still not hatched, and will arrive in their own good time. Therefore, spray for the full seven to ten day cycle.FINNY.
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FINNY
Australia
11th July 2009 3:46pm
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Julie says...
I use an Eco Bokashi system for my soft food scraps.It is covered with a lid all the time, but the ferment flies still get in.

But I also know they are part of the process of breaking down the scraps,so I don't see them as a problem. This is just Nature at work folks!
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Roleystone WA
11th July 2009 7:10pm
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Tam says...
I have had infestations like this before. It is really about making sure that your compost is watered, turned regularly and layered with other things like shredded paper, soil, more hay and grass clippings. It is really bad at the moment and it means that too much food is sitting on the top. I tend to add another layer on top of the food to help prevent the flies from breeding.
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Tam1
Melton VIC
22nd October 2009 8:58am
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Jane says...
I have a problem with hundreds of insects in my compost bin and also in the bucket I use to put household scraps in that I eventually add to my compost bin. My problem is; The garden mint growing near the bucket is being eaten to bits by something and the tomato plants growing near the compost bin have the same damage to the leaves.What is it?
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Jane8
 
27th December 2009 8:51pm
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Charles says...
Best and only viable nature freindly solution is, if possible locate the bin where it doesnt matter. If you have the composting bin etc in your house or near the door relocate it , and the perceived problem.
Those of us that want the bins in the house or have no space might need to be as mentioned extra vigalent on the surface food supply management. They are attracted to the smell etc so you need to manage it better to avoid attracting them in the first place.

I dont see spraying as a good pratice (except maybe to sort out the toilet lifecycle issue) as you are treating the symptom not the cause.

Better solution feed your scraps to your chooks :) or get a compost roller/worm farm or composting bin (big one) and take your scarps there each day/night.

But as Julie says this is just nature, be thankful your life/house is not stuffy/sealed and synthetic and nature can actually exist.
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Charlesstillcantspell1
Innaloo
28th December 2009 12:10am
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Original Post was last edited: 28th December 2009 12:11am
amanda says...
I put pretty gross stuff in my Gedys bin - dead rabbits (road kill), a dead chook, meat, fat - pretty much everything I don't use for either chook food or mulch. It has no flies (of any type) at all.

If there is no entry point - you won't get them (eg: Gedys type bin..). They are called "vinegar" flies because they like sour conditions (same with Drosphilia - ferment flies) sprinkle some lime or dolomite on your heap and alternate with sawdust, each time you load it up.

All compost bins need far more carbon than nitrogen to work properly. Kitchen scraps are high nitrogen (and wet) your bins needs a better balance if it has any kind of fly problem (or get a closed system - like Gedys)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
28th December 2009 9:04pm
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Damo says...
Whats gedys bin? You rock getting road kill.
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Damo
 
30th December 2009 10:27am
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amanda says...
Hi Damo - waste not what u want not :) I would bury them but the dogs would have a field day! Gedys bins have been around for awhile - they are a large round in with no bottom and fluted sides - the lid is secured.

They take a lot longer than an aerobic type bin (hence I have 3 on the go) but they are just so much less hassel and work than any other types. They will also take all that "gross" stuff that normal bins can't (either cos they make it rotten, maggot or rat infested)

I dig a hole about a half meter deep and insert the bin into it, a bit of manure and then water the soil well. I then throw in a heap of worms and that's it really - I just start throwing everything in. They take ages to fill. When full I throw a heap of soil on top take the lid off and let the worms work it all. Then it's ready to use.

(I like to use the rabbits also for the fact that it's less food for the foxes! buggars chew thru the retic lines to get to the water amoung other things!)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
30th December 2009 11:59am
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Damo says...
Anybody tried the aerobin?
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Damo
 
2nd January 2010 11:32am
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simon says...
finy is it still working i live in queensland and we have a real problem simon
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simon12
advancetown
1st February 2010 9:12pm
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tracey jardine says...
vinegar flies in my composting toilet some thing natural would be good please.
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tracey jardine
queensland australia
17th December 2010 3:04pm
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snottiegobble says...
Good old vinegar flies. They even follow me around with a sample of my home brew & sometimes fall in it.They are totally harmless & I much prefer them to bushflies any day. Yes its true, the grey fantails love vinegar flies so sometimes I leave the compost lid off so they can have a good brunch!
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso (smack in the middle)
18th December 2010 3:40pm
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tracey jardine says...
thanx for that info are the grey faintails birds and where can i get them i live in queensland
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tracey jardine
queensland australia
20th December 2010 3:30pm
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snottiegobble says...
The grey fantails differ slightly throughout their range which covers most of Aust. including Qld. They like shady spots, water & sheltered
areas.Delightful little birds that are not at all shy consequently easy pickings for cats! Common migrant, nomad or resident in suitable habitat.
Related to willy wags, grey fantails also have noticable eyebrows , but are smaller dainty grey birds with similar tail fanning movements used to stir small flying insects into flight.
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso (smack in the middle)
22nd December 2010 2:07am
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chriso_g says...
So... Anybody had any success with a product? Did the flies come back? I read that someone recommended spraying seven to ten days. Anybody used Pyrethrum spray and solved the problem in a composting toilet (As in, they haven't came back)?? I've had this problem for over 9 months now. I NEED garunteed results. The ms. dont like wine flies crawling up nostrils when sleeping... not to mention about how un-sanitry the toilet is. What about those flies crawling / flying up ya clacka' when your on the loo. It's discusting, the flies breed in the toilet, then make their way to the kitchen for dinner with you. Okay.... and whilst I'm asking for help, I'll also give some advise. If your considering buying a composting toilet. DONT! :) So... what actually kills these flies and their eggs? Cheers, chriso.

PS. The pic is of the twice-weekly cleaning process...
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chrisog1
SA
27th October 2011 8:42am
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chriso_g says...
UPDATE: Been using Pyrethrum spray for 2 days now...

No results so far.

The generic shopping centre - brought - household fly spray seems to work better than anything...


Chriso.
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chrisog1
SA
29th October 2011 5:15pm
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amanda says...
Hi chriso_g - if you google: fly problem in composting toilets. You will get heaps of hits. Bound to be some good info in there :) I don't blame you - I wouldn't want them buzzing around my kitchen after being down there either :-(
Maybe the manufacturer has some ideas. In the bush camp ones there is usually a bucket of lime next to the loo and u chuck a bit of that down after u do your business ;)
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amanda19
Geraldton. Mide West WA.
29th October 2011 7:18pm
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john8169 says...
I used to have the same problem but one day placed my geranium prunings in the compost and noticed the flies disappeared. Now each week I place a stick of geranium just under the lid and it continues to work...doesnt work for cockroaches though! The flies must hate the smell, its pretty intense.
I'd be interested if anyone else has the same results.
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sydney
31st October 2011 12:00am
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chriso_g says...
Hi I have searched the net many times to solve the wine fly issue, not much luck there. The manufacturer is useless as they opperate from Canada, and I have to deal with an agent here in Adelaide, who passes me off to the importer in the eastern states... :) Each offers differnt and contrasting advice.

With composting toilets, we have tried lime, and this does NOT help kill the flies. It just clogs the screen at the bottom of the drum of doom, & causes other problems...

As for the Pyrethrum, well... we've been spraying that for over 10 days now, and I can tell you all that it does very little... Still have 1000's of flies.

I'll give the geranium prunings a go, cheers! :)

PS. Pic is of the fortnightly cleanup. I empty that bottom tray to use the dry compost and the flies escape from there aswell.
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chrisog1
SA
12th November 2011 12:35am
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Original Post was last edited: 15th November 2011 10:21am
davo says...
I too have composting loo with flies that enjoy coming to the kitchen... I found pyrethrum to be no help at all. Have had luck with "Bayer Solfac Pro" (avail at rural supply stores) to be good with regular spraying inside the loo. Having used it for about 12 months it seems to be loosing its effect. Perhaps they have genetically adapted to it. Grrr! It was good in that it had no smell, unlike a lot of pesticides and the like. Will now try "Mesurol" which I have been told may help. Here is hoping.
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davo1
Qld
2nd January 2012 3:36pm
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chriso_g says...
I totally agree with you davo, seems they adapt very well. I reckon the manufacturer are very well aware that the flies are a big problem, but also a very important part of the composting process, but, they certainly wont tell you about them if you purchase one and some of them can be VERY expensive, 10k +. Worst shitter ever... better off with a bucket & toilet seat in a tiled crate. Anyway, I've tried many products recommended in local rural stores, and the only thing that has the best affect on them, and has kept them reasonably under control is a daily good spraying of Woolworths Home Brand Fly & Insect Spray - Regular. It contains Tetramethrin, Phenothrin, Piperonyl Butoxide & N-octyl Bicycloheptene Dicarboximide. Now, I'm no chemist but theres an ingredient in there that the little buggers hate. Keeps the #'s down, especially in summer when they breed like... Good luck with Mesurol and I'll look forward to hearing your update.
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chrisog1
SA
18th January 2012 5:17pm
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Dawnmc says...
Did you get a result in ridding your compisting toilet of vinegar flies? They are driving me mad. We have a rota loo and thousands of vinegar flies. Looking forward to a fly free future! Thanks.
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Dawnmc
St Andrews
10th October 2014 8:50am
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Waterfall says...
I got rid of most the flies from my worm farm by dusting the hessian bag which I use as the blanket with lime and then I stopped feeding the worms for a couple of weeks, just dug the compost into the garden instead.

Before this there were hundreds of flies, now there is less than 10 flying around.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
10th October 2014 9:12am
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Julie 1 says...
They call these fruit flies (not FLYS!)
in the US. I have seen a number of people recommend leaving an open jar/bowl of vinegar or wine to attract them elsewhere.

I can't find the info now, but maybe Google 'fruit flies' and see what you come up with.

Edit: Read this and click on the links. Ssome useful info here.
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Julie
Roleystone WA
12th October 2014 10:53am
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Original Post was last edited: 12th October 2014 10:53am
chrisog1 says...
3 Years later.... I've tried it all, from expensive chemicals to natural products mentioned here & elsewhere. Whilst maintain this composting toilet for 5 years, I've never been able to get rid of these, 100%. A bug bomb lasted 3 weeks, not bad. I still find the best way to keep the numbers down is with a weekly - 4-second spray of Woolworths Home Brand Fly & Insect Spray - Regular. It's either Tetramethrin, Phenothrin, Piperonyl Butoxide or N-octyl Bicycloheptene Dicarboximide - that kills them instantly, and they don't come back for weeks. It solves a problem, but it's not a solution.
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chrisog1
SA
27th June 2015 10:17pm
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