Cockroaches can be attracted to compost bins because they love to eat and break down organic matter. You can keep cockroaches out of your compost by keeping your bin well balanced and not overloading the bin with too many green food scrap material. Balance the moisture levels so it is damp but not too wet and turn the compost pile often.
Creating a hot composting system is also another way to keep cockroaches out. The pile will heat up due to the activity of the bacteria and make it too hot for cockroaches.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Types of cockroaches in bins
There are many types of cockroaches that can enter your compost bin. There are lots of native cockroaches that will actually live happily outside and in your bin and help the materials to break down into compost quicker.
1. German Cockroach
These are the cockroaches that can end up in your house and cupboards. While these can live outdoors without bothering people it is best to keep their populations under control. There is the chance they could venture out of your compost and come into your home.
These cockroaches are small and fast ranging from 11-16mm in length. They can spread bacteria in your home so are worth controlling.
2. American Cockroach
These cockroaches are huge, growing up to 53mm in length. They are easier to spot but are not good house guests. They can spread bacteria through your home so it is best to keep them out.
3. Common Garden Cockroaches
There are over 4000 species of cockroaches that can be in our gardens but very few will enter our homes. Many cockroaches that live in our compost will work in balance with other creatures and help to break down the compost fast.
Many garden cockroaches will actually help your compost to break down quicker. They will eat the organic matter and support the soil bacteria to break down your compost fast. Their populations will stay stable if your compost is in balance and will not take over.
These are outdoor cockroaches and love to live in leaf and organic matter so they won’t venture indoors.
If cockroaches are getting out of control in your compost bin and increasing rapidly in numbers then you can try these natural methods to control their population.
7 Ways to keep cockroaches out of your compost bin
Here some easy tips to keep cockroaches out of your compost bin.
1. Avoid adding too many food scraps at a time
Avoid adding too many food scraps to your compost bin because they can start to smell, rot and can attract cockroaches. The strong smell of rotting fruit and vegetable matter can quickly attract bugs to your yard including cockroaches, vinegar flies, fruit flies and ants.
Keep a healthy balance of green and brown materials in a ratio of 1 part green material to 3 parts brown. Every time you add some high nitrogen green material like food scraps or coffee grounds to your compost add in another layer of brown material.
Good brown materials to have on hand include old straw and hay, sugar cane mulch which can be bought in compressed bags or old fall leaves. I usually keep a pile under one of my fruit trees and grab some throughout the year to layer on top of my compost.
2. Keep the compost moist but not wet
Cockroaches will actually live in dryer conditions that the worms and soil bacteria in your compost. Keeping the compost moist but not wet will make it less inviting for cockroaches. Keeping the compost too wet with too many food scraps can also be a problem and can cause the pest populations to grow.
3. Turn the compost regularly
Turning your compost regularly will help to stop the cockroaches from breeding in your bin. Digging the material over will disturb their nests and eggs. Turn the compost every 2 weeks with a garden fork to mix the ingredients and stop the cockroaches from breeding out of control.
4. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the bin
Diatomaceous earth or DE can be sprinkled around your compost bin to deter the cockroaches. It is made by grinding up fossilized ocean organisms called diatoms. It looks like sand and when the cockroaches walk through it sticks to their legs and underside and starts to break down their exoskeleton.
This will kill the cockroaches over time and help to control their population.
5. Find a nearby chicken
Chickens love to eat cockroaches. If you can borrow a neighbor’s chicken or if you have one of your own they will make quick work of the cockroaches. Catch the roaches in a container and fed them to your chickens or grab a friendly chicken and bring them to your compost bin.
6. Turn your compost into a hot composting pile
Another way to keep cockroaches out of your compost is to convert it to a hot composting pile. This is more work and needs more compost material but it will heat up and the cockroaches won’t like it. You will need to create a pile that is at least 4x4x4 feet. It needs to be turned regularly and made up of around ¼ green material to ¾ brown material.
Turn the compost over regularly and keep it moist. This will break down quickly and will heat and to deter larger bugs like cockroaches.
7. Use natural cockroach sprays
Natural sprays are a great way to control cockroaches at home. These are made from natural plant oils which deter the cockroaches.
Is it normal to have roaches in compost?
It is completely normal to have roaches in your compost bin and they can actually help to speed up the composting process. Most of the time cockroaches will not take over the bin and become out of control. If you are looking after your compost, turning it regularly and keeping it moist then the bacteria and bugs will stay in balance.
Do compost heaps attract cockroaches?
Compost heaps can attract cockroaches if they contain too many food scraps that start to rot and smell or if it is allowed to dry out too much. Cockroaches will live in the dry material breaking it down. Turn your compost regularly to keep it in balance and to stop cockroach populations from growing too large.
How to Keep Roaches Out of Your Compost Bin | Summary
Keep compost moist, avoid adding too many food scraps and turn it regularly to keep cockroach populations in control in your compost bin. Cockroaches are natural composters and will break down the organic matter and help the soil bacteria to turn it into compost faster.
You can keep them out by sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the bin regularly which will kill the cockroaches when they make contact.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.