A wet and smelly compost pile means waste has become too compacted leading to a lack of oxygen and smelly gases being released. What you need is more dry matter and air gaps.
Note: The dried leaves in the bottom of Daily Dump Stack composters help absorb the extra water (leachate) that is released during composting. Sometimes the bed of leaves is not thick enough so leachate will collect and there will be smell from the bottom unit and not in the top. Add Remix powder and stir the bottom unit if this is the case.
Call us for a Reassurance Visit (Bangalore only) if you would like us to deal with it.
Extremely compacted waste
The Black Soldier Fly Maggots are prolific creatures that appear in all compost heaps - they are nature's scavengers and good for composting. They love a very wet pile. We understand that they take some getting used to and they could leave you feeling repulsed when there are too many - the trick is to manage them. Lots of stirring (air) and adding Remix powder (dry component) will reduce their numbers.
If it's too much and you want to avoid them coming out and crawling on your floor, you can put your composter in a plastic tub with high sides. They usually cannot crawl out of that slippery vertical surface. If they crawl out and wander all over, then sweep them up, collect them in a container and drop them under a tree - birds love them!
Remember that these BSF maggots suppress the lifecycle of the pest carrying housefly. The Soldier flies have no mouth and cannot transmit pathogens, so they are harmless. Appreciate them. They are even a fried delicacy in some cultures as they are very rich in protein!
If the problem is unbearable, we will come for a Reassurance Visit (Bengaluru only) and help you sort it out. Whatever you do, try not to stop composting because you fear these harmless creatures. Live and let live!
These can be a real nuisance but they are not a health hazard. We have three tried methods of controlling them:
Here are some DIY methods ...
You are generating more waste than your composter can handle
Composting is too slow as the conditions are not right.
Hmm… your pile has a composition that attracts ants. Not all piles attract ants as it depends on your diet and the ambient conditions.
Some solutions -
Rain getting in can create a very smelly pile.
Relocate your composter to a more sheltered spot. If you cannot, keep the rain out with our Elegant Raincoat.
While our composters have not been designed to withstand heavy rainfall, a little rain going in doesn’t adversely affect composting. Add Remix Powder to absorb any extra moisture and prevent a stinking pile.
So, you hate lizards, eh? Well, some composters attract lizards and spiders.
Scared? Then tap the composter with a stick before you open it. They usually scamper away. You could spray some lemon grass on the pile and vinegar on the outer surface.
Finally get over your fear of both lizards and spiders - they are important for the eco-system, they won't harm you and they only want to make friends :)
Decomposition will stop if there is not enough oxygen, nitrogen or moisture. The nitrogen comes from food scraps and half done compost. Moisture comes from the waste too but leaving the pile too dry (due to fear of smell or of maggots) will stop decomposition altogether. The micro-organisms need moisture to live on and decompose kitchen waste.
For optimum decomposition:
Yes, the terracotta modular units can be pushed over by dogs, monkeys or a careless gesture.
If its only a crack - repair it with some M-seal. Otherwise you can replace only a single unit - it’s easy with our modular composters.
You can pick up your replacement parts or have it delivered to you. We still choose to work with terracotta as we have found it to be the best material for composting - and it supports craftspeople and livelihoods!
Rat problem? Well, decomposition smells do attract all creatures - that is natures' way of recycling.
Don't worry because the Daily Dump products are rodent-proof – they don't allow rodents to enter unlike compost pits.
Rats can sometimes dig around the base of the composter and topple it over. In that case do place the composter on a cemented or stone surface.
If you generate more compost than you need, check out our 'Fun ways to use compost' for some whacky ideas. Remember - even throwing it out is good for the soil!
When do we buy back compost?
The ideal picture of done compost is a bowl of dark powder that looks like tea leaves. Well, if your done compost does not look like that all you need to do is sieve it.
Some gardeners put piles that have large pieces directly into beds.
Do decide what works for you. Sieve to get the tea powder consistency.
Terracotta allows transpiration, so as you use your composter the evaporation deposits salts on the outside. Take tamarind paste and scrub the outsides down with thepaste and water. Then wipe clean. the terracotta looks as good as new! You could polish with a little bit of coconut oil.
Don't worry. Just order online and the courier will bring the packet to your door. We have a 1 to 6 month delivery plan if you would like this regularly. Till it comes, use some crushed, dried leaves and mix in well with your kitchen waste everyday.
The 'recurring cost of Remix Powder' is sometimes seen as expensive. We sell it as a fool-proof way of getting composting right. You could mix Remix Powder with half done or done compost and use it - this will reduce costs and speed up composting. Only using half done compost instead of Remix Powder will not work (it will become wet and smelly) - you need at least half and half proportion for optimum composting.
Some customers like experimenting with different sources of carbon like dried leaves or sawdust. Please note you have to add enough volume of this material and STIR OFTEN. You will have to also add enough accelerators. If you want to try the different alternatives, please do, but remember that Remix powder is an 'all in one' mix that makes composting easy and convenient when you have time constraints.
White fungus in the compost pile? Great! This is one of the first signs that you are doing everything right and decomposition is optimum.
Keep going and you will soon have some excellent compost.
Learn the secrets of fungi in this wonderful article.
Most people freak out when they see the first maggots in their compost pile. They are harmless and good for composting. So what can you do, you ask? Well, make friends, manage them & learn the fun facts about these lovable grubs!
The Black Soldier Fly maggots begin small & white and then become very dark brown.
Soldier fly larvae are scavengers and thrive on many kinds of decaying organic matter, including carrion, manure and plant refuse. They are able to convert all this into compost easily.
Black soldier fly larvae are one of the most efficient protein converters in insects, containing up to 42% of protein & a lot of calcium and amino acids. The larvae can be fed right back to the animals or birds that generated the waste or used as feed for fish or livestock - closing the loop of waste to food.
The larvae have the potential of improving organic waste into a rich fertilizer since they are a good source of oil and protein. Their nitrogen rich casts add their nutrition to the done compost.
Adult Fly: The adult fly, which measures about 16 mm, has a lifespan of 5 to 8 days. The adult soldier fly has no functioning mouthparts; it spends its time searching for mates and reproducing. Soldier fly adults do not go into houses or eating places. They do not bite or sting and they are not associated in any way with the transmission of disease as they have no hair on their legs.
After larvae have developed through six instars (period of growth), they enter a stage called ‘prepupae’ where they stop eating. They empty their gut (called self cleansing) & their mouthparts change to an appendage that aids climbing. This is when they crawl out seeking a dry, sheltered area to pupate.
Pupae: The pupa develops inside the puparium (the larval skin) and the is about one-third the length of the puparium. It’s body undergoes a transformation from pupa to adult fly and it does not feed during this stage. It takes approximately 10 days for the adult fly to emerge.
Maggot / Grub / Larvae: The creepy looking maggot (grub) begins very small and white in colour, as it grows it becomes brown with distinct segments on the body. The larva is plump, slightly flattened, with a tiny, yellowish to black head. The skin is tough and leathery.
After larvae have developed through six instars (period of growth), they enter a stage called 'prepupae' where they stop eating. They empty their gut (called self cleansing) & their mouthparts change to an appendage that aids climbing. This is when they crawl out seeking a dry, sheltered area to pupate.