Q and A

Q: I have a serious problem with fruit flies and small black flies (gnats?)  Is my only option to use fine-mesh cloth, like your backroom bin? I'm waiting for freezing nights, so I can put the bin outside and, I hope, freeze the bugs but not the worms. Is that my best bet at this point?

A: Most likely what you have are called "Moth Flies", they are a PAIN to get rid of, if you try & freeze them out they will likely just burrow into the center like the worms will, you may get rid of some but not all of them.

Best way to get rid of them is to separate worms from all bedding and food scraps, you can do this by placing the worms in a pile on a plastic covered table with a bright light above them and periodically brush off top layer of biomass, the worms naturally run from the light to the bottom center where they will eventually for a ball of worms. Place the bedding outside to dry and kill the flies then you can save any castings. Also while doing this place a hanging fly glue trap under the sink (about $2 for 3 at hardware store) OR place vinegar on a shallow bowl or plate and tightly cover with plastic wrap and poke small holes with toothpick or knife in plastic and place under sink, they go in for vinegar and can't get out.

Best guess without seeing what you have set up is to be sure you have some bedding (shredded paper & coconut fiber have worked best for me and help maintain proper moisture level.)in the container and be sure to have a DRY layer of carbon (shredded paper cheapest) on top at all times, just pull back when burying food scraps and replace. This helps suppress any odor and helps keep flies away. If you have excess moisture that will cause excess odor and attract the flies.

Another options is to keep a bed sheet on top of your bin. This helps deter the flies from flying in and out, eventually bringing down the population

more to come!