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17 messages
31/05/2012 at 12:49

I have TRILLIONS of tiny white thread-like things in one of my dalek compost bins, all round the rim and now in quite a think layer on the compast itself.  It's the bin that's being topped up rather than the one that's cooking.  I've had them before but nowhere near as bad and I'm worried that the compost won't be usable if I don't do something to get rid of them.

I garden organically but any help on what they are and whether/how to get rid of them will be much appreciated

31/05/2012 at 13:00

Are they white fly?-if you dont want to use a chemical and it is as bad as you say-boiling water-not nice-but......................or use an organic spray



31/05/2012 at 13:17

They don't have wings so ulness they're another stage in the white fly life cycle I don't think so - and they've been in the same state for months.

I do have white fly on my lupins (which the sparrows are enjoying immensly ) so maybe they are connected.  I've also had them on certain seedlings in the greenhouse and they make the leaves curl up and the plant stunted - I picked the top surface off and some have recovered enough to plant out - but I definitely didn't use old compost anywhere near them.

Will try the boiling water idea to start with and disinfect the bin when I turn the compost

31/05/2012 at 13:31

Maybe they're not whitefly.
31/05/2012 at 13:54

Hmm food for thought - his description seems to match but others refer more to the worm aspect and these aren't.  If they're benign they can't be the same as the ones on my seedlings and other plants - better look at them a bit closer!

I tried an organic psray before and it didn't seem to do much good - they haven't got wings so anything that works by stopping them flying isn't any use.

31/05/2012 at 14:26

HyppyByker, I'm in the same boat - exactly the same, and I garden organically too- the one difference is that I have used the compost - I just thought 'what the hell' and I've loads of ladybirds, although I haven't seen any lacewings yet, just thought they would have a feast.    I have two greenhouses, one heated and one not...I used the compost (mixed with leafmould and shreddings - both well composted) and there doesn't seem to be any problem in the unheated greenhouse, but I do have lots of greenfly (no whitefly) in the heated greenhouse, but I overwintered plants in there so I presume, the greenfly overwintered too.  Watch out using boiling water or you'll kill off the goodies in the compost bin too.  All those worms, slugs, woodlice and the trillions of good microscopic bodies that all help make the compost smell sooooo sweet and sooooo good in comparison with that we buy.

31/05/2012 at 14:40

A fellow sufferer - yay!  On your experience I won't do anything other than clear away what i can when I turn the compost and let nature do the rest.  That's always my default position but it's nice to have it confirmed   Thanx Jumbo

31/05/2012 at 15:05

You are very welcome - I just hope it works for you, pls don't blame me if it doesn't.  I didn't even turf off what I could see I just carried on as I said.  All's well at the moment...I have sunflowers, tomatoes (in flower), cucumbers, plus stacks of cuttings and all the overwintered plants, plus we have cropped cut and cum again lettuce etc etc.  Happy composting.  Did you notice lots of ants in the bin last year...I reckon they may be something to do with these white bits, but the jury is out on that.

25/11/2015 at 16:02

Hello everybody, I also have thousands of small white bugs in my dalek composter.  They are about 2-3mm long. sort of tear drop shaped. I don't believe they are maggots.  I will stick my neck out and say they are arthropods because they walk not wriggle.

   I emptied one bin over a dahlia bed 6 - 7 months ago  thinking that the bigger bugs (beetles etc) would just eat them or my Robin friend would.  Having just dug some tubers for overwintering I was surprised to find the little white efforts trundling around a couple of the tubers.  One of the tubers showed unusual growth  around the base of the stem that made it resemble a lily bulb.  Could this be the result of these little ***** munching.

      Any polite suggestions as to what it is and how to get rid of them from the compost bin & soil

25/11/2015 at 17:02

Do not worry folk! Page four will give you the answer. (half way down)


25/11/2015 at 17:58

Do they look like these Plantkilla?

25/11/2015 at 19:22

Ya thats them.  Do you know what they are please?


25/11/2015 at 19:44

I think they're springtails ......... They wouldn't worry me personally ......... They're scavengers - a natural part of soil microfauna - they eat fungus and soil bacteria and are eaten in turn by spiders, harvestmen and ground beetles ........ some may damage young plants if the conditions are right ....... wet composty soil or mulch for instance ............ compost bins and heaps are ideal locations for them ...... 

25/11/2015 at 19:47

Springtails help turn 'stuff' into compost - they're good guys

26/11/2015 at 09:01

So are the Pot/Whiteworms (Enchytraeus buchholzi) HyppyByker.

See above link for both.

26/11/2015 at 12:24

Gosh these little fellas I have never seen before they are not what was in my dalek bins!  Whatever they were...didnt affect any of the crops I had, and I have only just seen the last of the tomatoes and nasturtiums too because of the frost a couple of days ago...but still have physallis in flower and am still cropping them hurray.  Well done Jo47 you are a brilliant photographer.

26/11/2015 at 13:06

Springtails are indeed good guys.  As well as their crucial role in recycling they have this amazing springing organ under their abdomen which can propel them comparatively vast distances into the air when they're disturbed.  As you will have noticed.

I wonder if the wormy things might be nematodes.  There are loads of species - a few cause damage to plants, a few eat nasties like slugs but most are decomposers, eating/breaking down dead stuff in the soil - or compost bin.  Maybe there just happens to be a mixture in there that suits them and they've had a population explosion.

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