The 5 Most Common Bugs You’ll Find in Your Compost

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Your compost bin is one of the most ecologically diverse locations that you will have in your entire home, with many people not always realizing just how amazing it is. When you start working with your compost bin, if it is outside somewhere, you need to be aware of what is happening. Part of this is knowing what the top 5 most common bugs in your compost bin will be, as they will help a lot to decompose everything.

Fruit flies, pillbugs, sowbugs, grubs, beetles, and worms are all of the bugs that will naturally start breeding and growing, these are the bugs that devour and destroy everything you throw in the bin. While other bugs such as bees and yellow jackets start to rely on the compost bin for food, housing material, and in some cases as a good place to live in. 

Understanding how these bugs work on getting through all the trash that you have and how they assist each other in the process is important. Many people coming to hate certain bugs because of their annoyance, while learning to ignore certain bugs that float around the compost bin. You must understand each bug and its processes inside the compost bin. 

The Fruit Flies

fruit flies in compost

The most likely bug that you will want to get rid of is also one of the most useful bugs to have in your compost bin. Well, the larvae of fruit flies are useful, as the flies lay their eggs in the skin of any fruit that may be available until they eventually are born. These larvae are perfect for consuming larger pieces of fruit throughout your compost heap, as they are born on mass and naturally start to increase the more flies mature.

However, as said previously, they can be a big problem if you are trying to do anything with or near the compost bin. These are the flies that will accidentally fly into the open holes on your face while making you naturally start to itch because you are sure there are still some left on you. Fruit flies can be a huge problem if you need to regularly access your compost bin, which is why you should be sure that any fruit you may have is hidden away under a layer of other compost materials. 

The Bees

Bees have a less direct influence over your compost bin as they will not be there to specifically eat or process the compost in your bin. Many times, people start to get worried about the compost bin when they see the bees are becoming more and more, with many not entirely ready for the reality of having a beehive in their bin. Usually, people will either work on getting their bin turned or have a professional come in to clear out the bees that may be there.

However, it will be good to hear that these bees are usually making a nest in the perennial plants that may be at the top of your compost bin. These bees are almost entirely harmless and will usually actually not have any stingers at all. They are making a nest in your bin because they have been driven out someplace else because of the pesticides that someone may have sprayed on their old home. Letting them nest and grow stronger will be nothing but good for your garden and the environment as a whole. 

The Yellow Jackets

Not at all part of the bee family is the first thing you need to know about the last of our flying bugs, instead, they are part of the dreaded wasp family. Sometimes called ground wasps they love to find nice, hot, moist ground to crawl into and create a nest. Using the materials around them to create the nest that they will naturally start breeding a new generation from. To stop these bugs should be your main priority as they will be aggressive during most of the summer and spring seasons.

This means that you won’t be able to get access to your compost bin, as they will attack as much as they can when you do try to do something. To get rid of these pests you will need to start laying traps as soon as you see them and constantly be rolling and turning your compost bin. This discourages them from nesting, however, if the nest does get established all you can do is wait a year until the next season when the nest will be abandoned. 

Pill Bugs with Sow Bugs

10073908 – animal pill bug macro

These are the second-best things you can have in your compost bin; they live and thrive off of decaying plant matter, the more there is the more there will be of these two bugs. They will quickly start devouring and turning the plant material into exactly what you need to be composted. Though like all bugs too much of them will be a bad thing, you can use them to measure the moisture levels of your compost bin throughout the year.

Their name may have the words bug in them, but they are not bugs at all with the closest relatives being lobsters, prawns, and other crustaceans. Pillbugs are indeed land-dwelling crustaceans that even have their gills, which is why they love moist rich areas where they can breathe with ease. If you see too many of them in your compost pile it means your bin is too moist, and a lack of them shows that it is not moist enough.  

Grubs and Beetles

Depending on where you are in the world the grubs and beetles that you will see will greatly differ with the US having the predaceous ground beetles reigning supreme. These beetles are nighttime hunters of bugs, insects, slugs, worms, and critters. This means that if you have an army of these marching from your compost bin to the end of your garden a lot of the pests that will be killing your living plants will be taken care of. 

As for the larva, or the grub, stage of these beetles almost all of them feed on decaying plant matter, making quick work of them. This means that in your compost bin they will be contributing greatly to the overall health of the bin, with many people thinking they might be dangerous. That’s because these grubs can be gigantic, with large heads before they become beetles. However, they should not be disturbed, and having them in your compost bin is a good sign that everything is going well. 

What are the three types of bugs in your compost?

Three types of bugs will live in your compost bin, each having their part to play and making your compost bin work better. You should be aware of the food chain that will develop and why the scariest of the creatures you can find is a good sign of a healthy ecosystem. First is the primary consumers of your compost bin, these eat the organics in the bin.

Primary consumers can be grubs, bacteria, fungi, flies, mites, snails, slugs, earthworms, millipedes, sowbugs, and maggots. These all take the organics and turn them into the soil that you will know as your compost, creating the perfect environment for the secondary consumers to live in. Secondary consumers thrive off of eating primary consumers, as well as organic residue. They will be almost predatory but usually slightly calmer and larger than the last bit of consumers.

Secondary consumers will contain some mites, feather-winged beetles, nematodes, protozoa, and soil flatworms. Tertiary consumers are the ones that eat no plant matter once they have fully matured, instead, they feed off of all the primary and secondary consumers that are in the compost bin. These would be your predatory beetles, centipedes, ants, carabid beetles, and predatory mites. 


Your compost bin will be a miniature ecosystem that can and should be a place where all kinds of bugs are happily growing. This will allow you to compost almost anything you can think of and will usually be what makes the compost you need to enrich your garden. Having a good few bugs in your compost bin should be normal and should be the thing that you expect the most to happen.

Whatever you do, please don’t try to start a fight with the bugs, you will lose and sacrifice your sanity along the way!