The pesky pests of composting
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I've recently started composting but ran into a bit of a nuisance – fruit flies. How do I get rid of them in my kitchen? Brad, Ottawa
Fruit flies are attracted to organic matter. The obvious culprits are fresh fruits and vegetables stored on countertops and rotting kitchen scraps or "greens" headed for the compost pile, as well as organic debris in garbage cans or kitchen drains.
I hope that besides the annoying fruit flies you've also noticed the upside of composting - a 40 per cent decrease in your weekly garbage.
Here are some simple troubleshooting tips to prevent a fruit fly population explosion.
Control fruit flies in the kitchen:
Use a glass or metal container for collecting kitchen waste. These won't hang onto odours (like plastics do) and a tight-fitting lid will keep fruit flies out. Store your kitchen food scraps in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.
Control fruit flies outdoors:
They're attracted to exposed food scraps, so each time you add greens, top them off with brown material like dry grass and leaves. Collect dry leaves and grass in a separate container to use year-round. Put kitchen scraps in the centre of your compost pile, and then cover with browns.
Composting is easier than most people think, whether you have a backyard bin, municipal curbside pick-up or indoor worm bin. Check your city's website for more troubleshooting tips and advice, especially if you have curbside pick-up.
Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to email@example.com. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.