Fruit Flies in the Worm Bin

Kelly's vinegar trap full of fruit flies.

There are fruit flies in the worm bin. Tons of them. I get a face-full of flies each time I feed the worms. This might not matter very much, aside from the fact that the red wigglers have been snacking cozily in their back bathroom worm bin since last fall, when I brought them in out of the cold and gave them stern instructions to mate like mad all winter long.

Now, the fruit flies have spread from the worm bin to the rest of the house, and try as we may to keep the kitchen sink and counters clean of tempting morsels, the flies seem to find enough to stick around (and sire new generations). Kelly set out a bowl of cider vinegar, which traps a good number, but the plague continues.

Kelly has asked more than once (and quite patiently, I might add) if it might be warm enough for the worms to move back outside, but I’ve resisted, worried that a late cold snap could put a dent in their reproductive cycle. If I hadn’t been so busy with other gardening endeavors, I might have acted sooner to put a stop to the fruit fly breeding party; a trick gleaned from the twelve-week county composting class I took last spring has been nagging at the corners of my mind.

The idea is simple: place layers of newspaper over the compost in the top worm bin and tuck it in snuggly around the edges. The newspaper blanket keeps the fruit fly from accessing food in the bin, effectively halting reproduction.

It sounds simple enough. Now I think I’ll go do it.

4 Responses to Fruit Flies in the Worm Bin

  1. Coconut matting is another material that can be placed on top of your veggie scraps to keep the fruit flies under wraps and definitely saves getting a mouthful of tiny wings each time you remove the lid of the wormery! If your garden centres sell round mats to line hanging baskets, they’re the ideal thickness.

    • Awesome idea! I’m cheap, so I’ve always felt that newspaper was good enough for my worms, but I love the idea of the round hanging basket mats. One of my worm bins is round, and I have the darnedest time tucking rectangular newspaper sheets in on top. These days I have just been using a thick covering of newspaper strips, but I wonder if the coconut matting would last longer?

  2. The matting should last longer as I imagine the newspaper rots down pretty quickly if your wormery is like mine and has small air holes in the lid. It’s amazing just how much rain gets into pin-prick sized holes! Having said that, I’m going to try your newspaper strips idea and judge for myself.

    • I originally tried tucking sheets of newspaper over the top of the worm compost, but I am now moving to strips. The sheets didn’t tuck very neatly into my round bin. I’ll try my luck with matting and compare notes! As for the rain, I do have the ventilation holes, but I tuck my bins under the eaves (or into the bathroom during the rainy season so that they don’t get flooded.

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