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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Does Anybody Know....

.....what these things are?  I found a huge cache of them in my compost pile.  Not knowing, and wanting to err on the side of caution, I put them in the green garbage.  I'm sure glad they were completely still, or I'd have really come unglued.

Man I wish I had some chickens!


Rae said...

Ew. They look like mealworms. I'm reading this on my phone, though, and the pic doesn't blow up too big. Ewwwwwwww, whatever they are. :)

sew susie said...

I have absolutely no idea but the large number is a worry. What about saving one or two in a bottle in case a neighbor nearby might be able to identify them or to watch and see what it develops into.

Amy Lagerquist said...

Mealworms, or perhaps cranefly larvae?

Paula said...

I'm with you on the Ew! factor, Rae.

And unfortunately, I couldn't bear to stick one or two in a bottle, because of the whole ewwwww thing. Also, unfortunately, a bunch of them still made their way into the new compost pile, so I'll eventually find out (if I happen to catch them later on in their life cycle).

I'd still rather have a positive ID. I even rather have some chickens on hand!

Kitchen Mama said...

If you can, you really should try to get at least one out for identification. You can either take it to a local master gardeners' group, or the feed store, or an old granny-type gardener. Barring that, you could look it up maybe on "What's That Bug" online--he has a lot of good pictures and identification of lots of strange bugs. I have chickens but they don't get into my compost pile. Believe me, if they could, they would--those ewwwwwies look like a fine chicken snack.

Rae said...

The more I look at it, they look like some kind of beetle larvae. If you can get past the Ew! factor, they may be able to identify them down at the Master Gardener extension office.

Jim Brewster said...

Those sure look like black soldier fly larvae to me. They are prized as food for all kinds of animals, and they are champion composters. Tons more info here:

Consider yourself lucky, and once you do get those chickens, there will be a steady supply of snacks!


Paula said...

Jim- I think you're right, although the color's not the same....which could be a result of the temperature. I guess first thing tomorrow, I'll be picking them back out of the green garbage. I hope they don't freeze in there tonight.

Thanks everyone!!

Anonymous said...

They look like beetle larvae to me.

They don't bite. They aren't slimy.

They eat decaying vegetable matter, helping to break it down. Increased compost tempurature might kill them. The ones that eat compost generally don't eat live plants. They should be fine to leave there and are in fact beneficial.

Ground beetles, rove beetles, and feather winged beeltes are supposed to be the most common in compost. All usually have more obvious legs than yours, so yours may still be quite young. If you have ground or rove beetles they'll eat your slugs and snails when they grow up.

THese are definitely not leaf beetle grubs, which are fatter and white and c-shaped.

Chickens would probably love them. As would any pet reptile or large fish. But they are benificial and I'd leave them in there.

Ok, having been neutral and scientific, let me just say "EWWWWW!!" even worse if they were wriggling. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

I take it all back. Toatally agree with the black soldier fly. Very good for compost. Chickens will still eat. Lucky you.


becky3086 said...

I don't know what they are but they aren't mealworms and they are some kind of larvae. I have them here as well. I believe it is from some kind of fly as well.

Miriam said...

I'll add my two cents' worth - or rather, Kim's two cents. She used to do a mealworm project with her Grade 6 Science class every year, and she says these look like mealworms to her. Apparently mealworms are the larvae of grain beetles, whatever those are.

All I can say is yuck, yuck, yuck. Even if they're good for the compost pile, I still say yuck.

Paula said...

I checked out the links that Jim left me and I'm pretty sure now that they are black soldier fly larvae. Evidently they get darker the more mature they are. At any rate, I'm digging them back out of the green garbage tomorrow and sticking them back in the compost.

I don't remember black soldier flies from my childhood in California, but I positively identified a few BSFs last summer, so it's pretty likely that these are their larvae.

I'm really glad I asked! and yes, ewwwww and yuck! But great, if I ever have chickens. Something else I want to encourage are hoverflies- they lay their eggs near aphids and the larvae eat the aphids!