What Is The Significance Of Ants In Compost Bin?
There is no doubt that ants can be a great addition to your compost pile. Indeed, ants are famous for their composting. You can look at ants as natural compost food processors. Moreover, they carry the content of both green and brown material in your compost heap. At the same time, their waste helps bring fungi into the compost, which creates an environment rich in phosphorus and potassium. These nutrients are essential for the healthy life cycle of plants. Ants in the compost bin are beneficial and almost always garden allies. They help aerate the compost while tunneling through it.
Furthermore, finding ants in your compost is not always a bad thing. Yet it is not good when ants overrun your pile. In fact, too many in your compost pile will make using the compost inconvenient. Hence, ants in your compost are signs that the compost is too dry to work effectively. You can tolerate ants and allow them to help mix your compost. However, you also need to keep their number under control. Once they arrive, and there are too many of them, you need to find a way to destroy their colony.
Ants In Compost Bin And Its Benefits
- As they tunnel, they aerate the compost, which adds necessary oxygen.
- They add fungi which include essential nutrients such as potassium and phosphorus.
- Ants target materials such as weed seeds, fungi, plant scraps, sweets, and other insects in your compost pile, shred those ingredients, and facilitate the work of the microbes at the same time.
- Also, they clear passageways throughout the pile and break down the green and brown materials while moving around.
- At the same time, they help mix the pile and prevent drying of the content on its perimeter.
- The presence of ants in your compost bin reduces the number of many harmful worms and insects.
- Bacteria digest ant’s excrement and create additional nutrients in your compost bin.
How to control ants in your pile?
- Turn the pile regularly with a shovel or pitchfork at least once every two weeks.
- Raise the moisture level in your pile with water when it starts to dry.
- Add fresh green materials such as grass clippings to retain their moisture.
- Cover your compost pile with plastic to keep the material warm.
- When the compost reaches a temperature of between 140 to 160 degrees, you can remove the plastic for good air circulation necessary for composting.
- Keep your pile smells nice to keep ants away from your decomposing material.
The different types of ants in your pile
- Red ants: This type of ant feeds mostly on plants. Red ants bite or sting and can be a real problem. yet, they can eat worms as too. You need to be careful since their sting is exceptionally painful.
- Army ants: This nomadic type of ants can overwhelm the worms in large numbers.
- Carpenter ants: They search for wood to build their nests. They may eat different foods including worms.
Ants In Compost Bin In Moderation
In general, ants are beneficial to the composting process. However, too many of them in your compost pile make the compost inconvenient. They also eat worms needed in the composting process. Remember, worms are your great ally in composting. It is necessary to make sure they are well-fed and safe. Additionally, ants in your compost are signs that your compost is out of balance and too dry to work effectively. Therefore, the material will not compost as effectively.
Moreover, it is necessary to remember that a healthy compost should be filled with life, so a few ants in your compost is not always a major problem. If the ants are a more beneficial type, you may just control them instead of getting them rid in the compost ecosystem. Hence, the secret to a healthy compost pile is to maintain a working balance of the needed decomposers.