I have some good news! It looks like I have really beaten those pesky skuttle flies into submission in my VB48 system. Ever since that initial surge of new adults emerging (shortly after I started adding the parasitic nematodes), the population has been steadily on the decline. I’m reminded of the importance of patience in this field of endeavor – and of course, the value of a multi-pronged eradication strategy (those slop traps really helped as well) when it comes to getting rid of flying pests.
It’s important to note that there are STILL scuttle flies around – they haven’t completely vanished – but it’s pretty clear that the ecological balance in the VB48 has shifted quite a bit. Interestingly enough, I am seeing a LOT of small rove beetles in the bin now. So I’m wondering if perhaps they’d played a role in all this as well.
Anyway – I think it’s time to celebrate this small victory – and what better way to do so than by “cooking” up a feast for the worms in my new outdoor food bin!
This morning, I dumped several bags of frozen (and partially-frozen) food waste into a rubbermaid tub and took everything out to the bin.
I first checked on temperatures to see if yesterday’s mixing (during the process of installing my cardboard insulation walls) had any impact. In the middle of the bin temps have actually dropped a little bit, appearing to be in the range of 50 C (122 F) – but in other zones (even very close to the edges) I found temps up as high as 60 C (140 F).
All this heating is clearly having an impact on the resident mite population. I found carpets of these critters up on top of the coffee grounds/leaves mix, as well as on the underside of my compost sak insulation blanket.
Adding the waste materials simply involved digging a shallow depression, dumping them in, partially covering (with grounds/leaves), and then putting the insulation blanket back over top.
Now, I’ll leave everything to thaw and stew for a while. Not sure if I’ll take materials out today – I may let things slow cook overnight, and serve my feast in the morning!
Once the wastes are “ready” I’ll mix them with some of the grounds/leaves and chop everything up as much as possible (I may even take my “worm food tool” for another test drive – we shall see), weigh it all, then add it to VB48!
Should be fun!