In the last few months my wife has attempted to turn our household into a less wasteful one.  The last couple of years have made us question the way our actions effect our home and our environment and the result has been an effort to reduce the trash and waste we produce on a daily basis.  In light of this my wife has started composting.

Composting is defined by as:

 “A mixture of decayed or decaying organic matter used to fertilize soil. Compost is usually made by gathering plant material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable peels, into a pile or bin and letting it decompose as a result of the action of aerobic bacteria, fungi, and other organisms.”

This definition is of particular interest to me as a Pest Control professional especially when we view the last 3 word “and other organisms”  Many of these other organisms are common household pests.  It would seem to go without saying that when you create compost you are actively welcoming these pests in but it really does need to be said because most people don’t think of this when planning a compost pile or bin.

My wife and I quickly learned the power of decaying matter to attract and breed a variety of insects in our mild Houston climate, none more evident than the small filth flies like Fruit Flies and Fungus Gnats.  When we started seeing small flies hanging around the kitchen even I didn’t realize where they might be coming from.  I say even I because I council people on the breeding habits of these small flies on a weekly basis.  However when it came to my own home I was oblivious to the perfect breeding habitat we had created just steps from our home.  

I decided to employ a home remedy trap for flies I found years ago.  To do this you pour Apple Cider vinegar or any other fermented liquid (liquor, wine, or beer) into a jar or glass, add a few drops of dish soap, and cover the top with plastic wrap with small holes poked through it.  These small flies are highly attracted to the liquid and come to get a quick snack by crawling through the holes in the plastic wrap.  When they attempt to drink the liquid, the dish soap you added reduces the surface tension and causes said flies to fall into the liquid where they’re trapped.  This trap while often pretty effective at trapping Fruit flies and other small flies only partially helps the situation.  Fruit Flies, Phorid Flies, Fungus Gnats, and the like reproduce very quickly so you’ll never trap enough to stop them completely. You will always need to address the breeding source.  

It was only after we caught almost 15 flies in the first day that I finally realized where they were coming from.  A quick trip out to our small balcony compost bin revealed a horde of Fungus Gnats living their best lives.  Upon sharing this discovery with my wife her first question was the obvious one.  What can we do to get rid of them?  The only real answer would be to completely get rid of the compost bin altogether but a good compromise if you have the option would be to move the bin or compost heap as far away from the home as possible so that the Gnats and Flies aren’t as likely to enter your home.  This is also a good rule given the fact that this environment also attracts a whole host of other pests including Roaches, Ants, and even Rats and mice.  

And as always, contact us at Hunter Pest Control for all your pest control needs.