Shoo Fly - and Pesky Critters
There is a community living in your compost bins and compost tumblers: worms, flying insects, arthropods, microorganisms, fungi, and bacteria, each play a key role in the decomposition process. Items in your compost pile can also attract unwelcome visitors.
Be careful what you put in your compost bin and where you place certain items. Avoid placing meats, dairy products, bones, fatty foods, and oils in your compost piles. These waste products create an offensive odor and attract scavengers. Most kitchen waste will attract flies and gnats. Bury kitchen waste beneath yard waste and soil to mask odors.
Fruit flies can be kept from compost piles by the use of flytraps that use vinegar to trap and control. Rabbits, rodents, insects, and some birds can be kept away with liquid garlic extract, hot pepper wax, and/or peppermint extract - all suitable for organic gardening. Never use pesticides or poisons for pest control. A rodent-proof garden compost bin is a must, as is a tight-fitting lid. Turn compost matter weekly to speed up the decomposing process so critters are not attracted.
Age of Destruction
Pests like raccoons feed off vegetable and fruit scraps; they are resourceful and can open lids. Cute at first sight, raccoons are territorial and will not only return, but they'll bring their destructive friends and relatives - so don't feed them! Refrain from leaving pet food outside, or Sparky will be sharing his kibble with unknowns. Consider composting food scraps in a worm bin.
Rats and mice will feed from outdoor compost bins and burrow beneath the layers to nest. The same precautions should be taken for these disease-spreading rodents, as for raccoons. Compost equipment like metal mesh at the bottom of the compost box will keep them from burrowing up from the ground. We all love birds, but their bacteria-infested droppings are harmful, so keep birdfeeders away from compost boxes. Birdseed attracts squirrels, rats, and mice.