I had an email from a reader of the site the other day, who had read my article about Bokashi composting [link] and was worried. It went something like this:
'Dear Steve, I have maggots in my Bokashi compost bin, what should I do..... blah, blah. Thanks for a great site and some interesting topics"
I have been using a Bokashi composting system for the last 18 months. I love it, but have also experienced a similar issue. I was pretty disgusted too, but with some research my mind was put at rest, and so should yours be.
Maggots In My Bokashi Bin - Is This A Problem?
Maggots in a Bokashi bin generally happen during the summer months, when blow-flies manage to gain entry through an insecure lid, or even the tap being left open. A secure bin with a closed tap and properly secured lid doesn't allow any access for flies.
Of course, many people like to make their own Bokashi bins and save some cash, but they are often prone to not being as secure as a purpose made one, like these from Bokashi Living on Amazon.
Of course, it's still possible to leave a lid ajar or not close the tap, but a made-for-purpose bin is less likely to suffer from fly issues.
The Fly Life Cycle Explained
This short video is REALLY interesting, if not a little disgusting. It show the 14 day cycle of the common house fly from egg to adult.
As we'll see in the rest of the article, the eggs and perhaps, maggots you see in your Bokashi bin will never reach this stage.
But, lets face it, we all get a little slack sometimes, leave the lid open while we pop into the other room. It's only for a moment, but any food that is left out is liable to attack by egg flies who are desperate to reproduce and keep the family line going.
If you do see maggots, they are generally really tiny and at the very early stages of the developmental process. 99% of the time they will be fly larvae.
These larvae, and the eggs from which they hatch are quickly laid by an oportunistic fly who sees a quick way into your bin. The eggs hatch, but due to the anaerobic nature of the environment inside the bin (oxygen is excluded), they die pretty quickly and are really nothing to worry about.
Apart from the revoltion and the desire to be sick in your mouth when you see them, these eggs and mini-maggots will add a little protein to your compost 🙂
The eggs from these flies mature between 8-24 hours after being laid. The larvae become a pupa within a week and become the next generation of infuriating flies with 10-20 days of the eggs being laid.
So, if you do see larvae (maggots) in your Bokashi bin, don't panic. There really is no need to throw the whole bin full of composting materials away. Just ensure the tap is closed and the lid is tightly secured. They will die and bother you no further.
Keeping Flies At Bay - Quick Tips
A good tip is to just create a label to stick on the lid and front of the bin as a reminder to keep it closed at all times, other than when adding kitchen scraps. If only Bokashi would create alarms like you have on a refrigerator to tell you the door is open. Probably a little too creative an idea to take off.
Another useful tip to keep flies out of you composting bin AND off your food is to pick up some sticky fly strips like these on Amazon and hang a couple up in your kitchen. Catching the blighters before they get into your food and bin is a much better plan.
An electric fly zapper like this Bug Zapper on Amazon are super low cost, and will keep flies at bay. Highly recommended if you live in a place where flies are a problem...and who doesn't at some time or another.
I hope this article has at the very least, put your mind at rest regarding maggots in your Bokashi bin. It's nothing to fret over, but any action you can take to keep them off your food and out of your bin is effort well spent.