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Talkback: Dung-flies and rat-tailed maggots

Good idea, Kate. My nettle patches are growing strongly now so i should be able to harvest some and leave the rest for the caterpillars til...

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happymarion
Good idea, Kate. My nettle patches are growing strongly now so i should be able to harvest some and leave the rest for the caterpillars till I cut them in June. I saw my first Speckled wood butterfly this morning - near my potting shed which is the back half of the garage. It must have overwintered there and I leave the door open during the day while I am home now so that the ladybirds can come out and any overwintering butterflies.
oldchippy
Hi Kate if it smells that bad I think I will give painting your flat a miss ,I don't think I would like living near you.

Oldchippy.
ok so what is the perpose for dung flies and rat tails maggots allso what is the best way to solve reallly bad wet clay soil Ive tryed sand

what sort of shrubs can I grove in this bad soil
kaycurtis
Well Kate if you can manage to stay watching these things mating for half an hour you must have lost your sence of smell yuk! I happily haven't lost mine.
Kate Bradbury
Thanks for all your replies.

@happymarion - how lovely. Sounds like you have the perfect butterfly- and ladybird-friendly garden.

@oldchippy - the nettle bucket isn't in the flat! The smell isn't that bad, really. I can guarantee you won't notice it if you come to paint it ;)

@kevc - dung flies are important predators of other flies, including mosquitoes, and rat-tailed maggots turn into hoverflies, which pollinate flowers and fruit and veg crops. But why do they need a purpose? What purpose do humans have? Regarding your clay soil, if you give it a really good dig over, then dig in some horticultural grit, you should notice a difference immediately. Then, every spring and autumn, apply a mulch of home-made compost/well-rotted manure. This should make the ground more manageable.

@kaycurtis - the smell isn't so bad, really, and you soon get used to it. It's fun!

Kate

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Kate Bradbury
I've just found a dung beetle in my nettle bucket! So exciting!
Excitable Boy
Kate Bradbury wrote (see)
I've just found a dung beetle in my nettle bucket! So exciting!
Last year I spent a good half hour watching dung-flies mating in the bucket of nettle leaves

Kate, you really need to get out more!

I've been using reasonably well rotted donkey manure at the bottom of my new raised beds and I keep finding large greyish maggots/larvae in it. I've been picking them out and chucking them, but I'm sure I'll miss a lot of them. I have looked and looked online for info as to whether they are good or bad, with no luck. Does anyone know what they are? Are they a pest? Will they eat all my seedlings? Help!

Kate Bradbury

@Excitable boy I get out plenty thank you! What can I say, I just love the critters!

@Katie Blue they could well be dung beetle larvae. They're absolutely harmless to your plants and help break down the manure. Also food for bats. A good thing!

Kate

phew! thanks. I have noticed the shed skins on the surface of the beds so whatever they were they have burrowed out and gone. No damage to any crops cos I hadn't planted any yet!

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