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What's that bug in my compost heap?

We are often asked about insects in the compost pile.

For the most part the presence of insects in your compost is indicative of a healthy eco system.
There are broadly two types of insects that you'll find in your heap: predators who eat the browsers/shredders.
The following is a list of insects that you'll generally see in your compost heap. This is not an exhaustive list and I've only focussed on the common visible insects.

One can generally categorise these bugs into predators and shredders.


Red Mites

Frogs and Toads of various sorts.
This is a picture of the endangered Leopard Toad.

Various Types of Spiders

With all these insects running around the compost heap we'd expect to see spiders as well.


These shred and help decompose the compost material. They are mostly beneficial in the compost heap (but some, like the Rose Beatle larvae, become a garden menace in their adult form).
Rose Beatle Larvae

Black Soldier Fly and their Larvae_</span>

_Sow Bugs_

<span class="redactor-invisible-space">_Spring Tails_</span>

<span class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space">_Ear Wigs_</span></span>

<span class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space">_Millipede (or our very own songololo)_</span></span></span>


<span class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space">_Earth Worms (when the heap cools down) - in South Africa these are the naturally occurring African Night Crawler (not the Red Wigglers)_</span></span></span>

<span class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space">_Fly Maggots (of various types - our chickens love these)_</span></span></span></span>

If you've seen any different insects in your compost pile please let us know.

Remember that these should be in balance. Too many of one type indicates that the heap is not healthy. The more diversity in the heap the healthier it is.

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