I have heard of vermiposting, where worms eat your compost and it breaks down a lot faster. I am wondering if I have some of that going on in my compost pile. In the past week or so I have noticed a lot of worms eating through the grass and stuff. If I put in a tomatoe the whole thing except the skin is gone within a day. It is the same thing with watermellon. They eat every trace of red fruit and leave the rind. The problem is that I don’t think these are really worms. They look more like beetle larva to me. They are about 1 inch long, grey – brown in color, and they are ringed.

They are also a little flat, not quite round. Does anybody know what these are? I kind of like what they are doing to decompose my pile, but there are thousands of them in there. I am really starting to be afraid of some kind of infestation as soon as they mature. Please let me know if I need to do something about this, and what. Also it might be helpful to know that my compost bin is not optimally mixed. I mostly have grass clippings and fruits and veggie scraps from the kitchen, because I don’t have access to any browns yet. The best I can do for browns at this point is spread grass clippings across the garden for a couple weeks until they are brown, then add them to the pile. I know that this is not the best way to compost, and I wonder if it is creating a situation where harmfull or anoying pests might like to live. (like these worms?)

It sounds like we have a lot of people who khow about compost. Could one of you please answer my question? I posted quite a while ago, but not response yet. I am really worried that I may have a real insect problem.

You may not have gotten an answer because no one has one. As I remember, your description was very vague, and could be one of any number of beetle larva, some beneficial, some not. Not all insect larva are as distinct as ladybugs or butterflys. Try searching on the Internet or at the local library for sites or books that show all the stages of insect development. If you’re in the US, gather up a few of the critters and take them to your local extension agent/master gardener or a garden store that promotes organic gaardening. Or put on in a jar and identify it when it turns into an adult. You could even try posting a picture in the files section of this list, but I know I can’t ID a beetle larva on sight, and would have to look it up, too.

What you have is another type of composter, they are probably June beetle or Japenese bettle larvae, they will not hurt your compost pile and you should be able to see flattened oval manure from them about the size of a rabbit dropping. Two benefits from this critter is that these larvae are usually found in the dirt or in a lawn where the nutrition is fairly low, when they emerge as adults they are voratous and eat our fruit crops. The ones that are well fed in the compost emerge and just nibble a bit on the fruit and then fly around in search of a mate.

The second benefit is that a compost tea made from the »dung’ from these guys seems to have very high amounts of natural insecticide in it and can be watered onto your plants to keep regular insects away.; As far as a serious problem I would not worry about them they just make compost happen a little faster, try turning ther pile or increasing it’s size to heat it up some. This will create an unfavorable environment and they will crawl away.