Ants in compost

(Question)

I dug out some soil from my compost heap and discovered its full of little ants.  What can I do to get rid of them in the compost before putting in my window boxes at the front of the house.  Boiling water obviously won’t do.

 

(Answer)

Large numbers of ants in compost is usually an indication that the pile is too dry. To encourage them to leave the pile, moisten and turn compost or stir it with a pitchfork  to disrupt their colonies.  After stirring the pile, leave it alone for a time to give the ants a  chance to leave. When adding water, but be sure to check if water is absorbed into the pile. Frequently,  watering a pile from above is ineffective because dry materials shed water.  In this case, turn the pile by pulling it apart and restocking it, watering  each layer.

If your pile is mainly composed of woody prunings,  it may need more fresh green materials to moisten it  and help it to retain moisture. If you have a good balance of green  materials (leaves, grass clippings) and brown materials (earth, dry leaves, twigs) in your bin the compost should remain moist.  Remember  that the pile should be about 40 – 50% moisture (green material).