Does compost attract animals bugs is a notion that you would worry about even when you start seeing pests in the lawn and backyard, as compost attracts these creatures due to its strong odor as a potential food source.Does Compost Attract Animals Bugs

Have you noticed a perceptible increase in bugs and animals coming to your yard since you started composting? Find out what kind of bugs are most attracted to compost and how to keep bugs away from compost in this article.

Is Compost Attracting Bugs and Animals Toward It?

Yes, compost attracts all kinds of bugs and animals to the yard. To be more specific, the examples of bugs that are attracted the most are skitters, maggots, slugs, and worms. It also attracts larger animals like raccoons and gophers.

On the plus side, when compost is added to the soil, many beneficial bugs are attracted to the soil. These include earthworms that create tunnels in the soil and improve its aeration and drainage; yet again, you will see these pests in the compost pile. For instance, when you see worms, they are essential for turning and breaking it down faster, even within the compost pile.

A large compost collection in a bin also attracts larger animals as a potential food source. Most of these are animals visiting the yard at night in search of food, like a raccoon. After adding compost to the soil, rodents are attracted to it, and they end up burrowing holes all over the yard.

Why Does Compost Attract Bugs and Animals?

Compost attracts bugs and animals because of the smell of decomposing food scraps and because it is excessive in organic waste. In addition, it would also have an increased temperature that would invite the bugs, and it attracts rodents and large animals because it is a food resource.

– It Gives off an Inviting Smell

The odor of rotting food and other organic items in compost piles might not smell very inviting to the human senses. However, the smell of the rotting food items in compost attracts rodents like mice, rats, and gophers.Inviting Smell of Compost

Adding meat, dairy products, and greasy food items in a large pile will attract rodents and pests within a short time because they would come searching for food. These items tend to decompose faster than the other ingredients within the pile and overheat the pile. The odor of rotting, greasy products is very strong and is a surefire way to attract pests and animals from a large distance away.

– Increased Temperature Invites Bugs

Higher than usual temperatures within the compost pile will also attract bugs and animals because the organic waste would increase the temperature, and this warmth is welcoming. When organic items begin to decompose within the compost, the temperature within the pile rises.

In short, this is needed to aid further decomposition and create the perfect compost. Keeping the temperature range within 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit is a good solution for keeping bugs away from compost bins.

– Food for Rodents and Larger Animals

You may sometimes feel like there is something in the bin, so you worry and ask, “What is burrowing in my compost bin,” but the answer to this is that there is a range of rodents as well as larger animals that are simply looking for food. If you have placed any food that is like leftover food or meat products, then you should know that these animals would be in search of food and come on in. These animals are especially attracted to the smell released by decomposing proteins in the food items.

– Filled With Organic Waste

More green components in the compost, such as food waste, will attract unwanted attention, such as inviting in fruit flies. This is because these items are also rich in nitrogen which emanates the strongest and the most attractive smell for bugs. It is natural to want to add grass clippings, twigs, straw, and dried leaves to the pile, but these are also considered a ‘green’ component.

What Are The Animals and Bugs Attracted By Compost?

The animals and bugs attracted by compost are rodents, pests, and worms. Expect all types of rodents to visit the pile, such as mice, gophers, and rats. In addition, you may also find common bugs to look out for, such as maggots, critters, slugs, and flies.

– Rats

Rats, mice, and gophers love to make a home in a compost pile because of its warm and cozy temperature. They also like to burrow more into soil that is composted frequently. Compost rich in greens over browns is their favorite food source.

– Raccoons

Raccoons are any yard owner’s worst nightmare and love eating food items in compost. They are known to overturn the bin, leave waste lying around and destroy property.

– Maggots and Critters

Some people intentionally add maggots and earthworms to their piles because of their aerating and decomposing properties. It is usual to see various types of critters and maggots populating a pile older than two to three months. However, when it comes to maggots, they aren’t fully dangerous to the pile; they also help as they are attracted.Maggots and Critters in Compost

– Flies, Bees, and Wasps

If the lid is not secured tightly to the compost bin, you will find it surrounded by bees, flies, and wasps of all types. These are harmless, except they might be responsible for carrying potential infections. Wasps are especially attracted to a pile with added meat or blood products.

How To Hold Back Animals and Bugs From Compost?

Keep animals and bugs away from compost by using a tightly shut bin, such as a compost tumbler, keep the compost well aerated, and add more browns than greens. You must also compost with the right ingredients, bury the compost with dirt, and pour boiling water.

– Add Components Smartly

You must add more than anything within the compost bin, especially regarding food scraps. Leftover food items rich in protein attract bugs and animals the most. Protein is so sought over nutrition that animals are instantly drawn to it.

Keeping protein-rich food items and dairy products in a low proportion is generally recommended to keep unwanted guests away. Meat, pet waste, and fried items are the foremost items that are better recycled in some other way, so make sure to avoid dumping them.

When decomposing, these items produce the strongest smells, and eliminating them from homemade compost will make them more tolerable. When purchasing store-bought compost, looking for one with a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 20:1 is best.

– Keep The Bins Tightly Shut

Choosing the right kind of bin for composting is as essential as learning how to compost. You can use any old large container in the toolshed for composting. This is only going to attract rats, raccoons, and all sorts of other bugs towards it, and it will not permit them in.Making Compost Bins

Going for animal-proof bins for composting right from the get-go is important. Bins made specifically for composting also make it easy to turn the pile periodically. After adding scraps to the pile or turning it, make sure to secure the lid tightly again. If you want to make a DIY compost bin, you must incorporate a lid that shuts tightly.

– Keep The Compost Well Aerated

Regularly turning the pile’s contents and adding air helps in pest control. Otherwise, the center of the pile will get heated more than the edges and attract bugs to it. This is especially pertinent during the winter season when these bugs are in search of a warm and cozy environment to stay in and rest, and they won’t find it because the aeration won’t let the pile be a safe place for them.

– Add More Browns Than Greens

When composting at home, keep the rations of browns more than the greens at all times. Items that constitute the brown component of compost are usually harder to collect than food scraps. However, it is totally valuable if you can find a significant quantity of hay, dried leaves, and paper.

When adding the browns, ensure that they are properly shredded and dry. Mix three parts brown and one green, so bugs are not attracted much to the compost. Browns are dry and non-nitrogenous, so pests do not like them much.

– Compost the Right Ingredients

Animals are acutely aware that one of the most crucial elements for life is protein. Their noses are also attracted to any odors of compost that your bin might produce. Knowing the right ingredients that you may place is the correct approach to avoid seeing any rodents near it.Right Ingredients of Compost

Due to the possibility of attracting undesired animals or insects, many sources advise against using waste like dairy, meat, and other similar items. Cheese and other proteins can be composted, but following the appropriate procedures is important to avoid attracting pests to your pile.

– Bury Compost With Dirt

When composting the soil during spring and summer, do not just pile compost on top of the soil. Instead, it is better to take a rake and gently mix it within the top two inches of the soil. You may not want to disturb the topsoil, so cover it with a fine layer of dirt.

– Pour Boiling Water In The Bin

Sometimes, the number of bugs within the compost pile increases so much that drastic measures must be taken. Take an appropriate volume of water, boil it properly, and then pour it while steaming hot within the pile.

Using all other methods will kill all the bugs and pests that have otherwise refused to leave the pile. This method will be efficacious only if the compost is enclosed within a proper bin. Only boiling water will work, and that too when it completely wets the entire pile.


Sure, compost will attract all sorts of unwanted attraction from bugs and animals, so read a brief recap on why this happens and how to eliminate it:

  • Compost is a rich source of nutrients, so naturally, pests and animals will be drawn toward it.
  • If compost is made with more green parts, it will produce a stronger smell, and more bugs will search for protein.
  • A compost made of more brown and dry components is not attractive to animals. When using this compost, bury it well within the soil to keep critters and gophers out.
  • Using more browns in the constituents, having a tight lid over the bin, and covering compost with dirt help prevent animals from coming.

Compost is a fantastic way to recycle food and help plants in your backyard grow better, and you will see how the right steps will help you protect your pile from animals and bugs.

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