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How To Keep Ants Out of Indoor Compost Bin

Ant In Bin

If you are new to composting, you will likely encounter different critters in your bin. Some are beneficial, while others are undesirable. And one of the typical insects you can find in your compost is ants.

Ants have their role in the environment. And they certainly have their part to play in your composting process. But if you have biting ants in your compost. It may pose a problem, especially for indoor compost bins.

So if you don’t know how to keep ants off indoor compost bins, continue reading this article.


An indoor compost bin is a great way to recycle organic material and use it as fertilizer. However, it can also attract ants.

Fortunately, you can repel them by:

  • Closing the lid.
  • Adding moisture to the compost.
  • Using coffee grounds.

If ants keep getting into your indoor compost bin, the methods below should help.

8 Ways To Keep Ants Out of Your Compost Bin

Ants can help you in your composting process. But if you have an indoor compost bin, they can easily become a problem.

To prevent that, the eight ways to keep ants out of your indoor compost bin are below:

1. Keep the Lid on Your Bin


Your lid will not stop the ants from entering your compost bin. These tiny insects can get into almost anything. But it will keep temperatures high in your compost bin.

Ants like warm environments. But they cannot tolerate excessive heat.

If temperatures in your compost bin exceed 40°C(104°F), no ant will stay in it.

Heat is part of the composting process. And micro bacterial breakdown generates more heat than you think. A well-maintained compost bin can even reach temperatures between 49°C(120°F) and 77°C(170°F).

Heat will typically come out as steam. But if you keep the lid, ants will avoid the compost bin.

2. Add Moisture to the Compost

Home Waste

Ants prefer dry soil because it’s easier to make tunnels. That is why you’ll never see ants make homes in mud. However, if a swarm of ants is in your indoor compost bin, it probably means your compost is dry.

You want to ensure your compost has a moisture content of between 40 to 60 percent to keep the composting process at optimum levels. So adding moisture should not only help your compost. But also keep ants out of it.

Be sure to turn the pile a few times to let the moisture get into the middle.

3. Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth works best with compost bins.

This powdered substance kills a wide range of insects, including ants. It works by absorbing the fats and oils in the exoskeleton of insects, drying them out.

Diatomaceous Earth is safe because it comes from organic materials and does not contain chemicals. But it can also kill insects besides ants in your compost bin, which benefits the decomposition process.

Fortunately, it will not kill earthworms, the most beneficial bug in your compost.

4. Use Parasitic Nematodes


Some nematodes can kill specific ants, which you can use to control the ant population of your compost bin.

The problem with this method is you’ll need to determine what species of ant is in your compost bin to know what nematodes you need to purchase.

Mix nematodes in a spray bottle with water and spray them all over your compost bin. Now ants will think twice before entering your compost bin.

The best part about this method is that nematodes will not harm your or other beneficial insects.

5. Use Coffee Grounds

Coffe Ground

The smell of ground coffee is an effective way to keep ants out of your compost bin.

If you only have a few coffee grounds, sprinkle some on the top every few days. If you have an abundant supply, mix it with your compost.

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and an excellent source of green material.

You can add essential oils like peppermint and tea tree to irritate ants if they ever come close to your compost.

6. Bury Food

Burying Food

Similar to other insects, ants will naturally look for food. So, it would be best to mask the scent of such materials in your compost bin. And the best way to do it would be to bury it.

Not only will it deter ants from your compost bin. But it will also ensure that microorganisms can break it down faster.

7. Add Natural Ant Deterrents

Eggshell Deterrents

You can also add other natural deterrents to your compost to repel ants. And since they are organic, they will not disrupt the decomposition process.

One example is eggshells. Your compost needs calcium, so adding eggshells is a great additive. But it can also agitate ants. You can sprinkle it around your compost so ants will not move in.

Another natural deterrent you can use is the ash of burnt wood. It’s a unique type of ant repellent that can drive insects away.

8. Apply Chemical Pesticide


Chemical pesticides are not ideal for keeping ants out of your compost bin and should only be used as a last resort.

Some insecticides you can use are carbaryl, pyrethrins, and spinosads.

Carbaryl can kill any insect in your compost bin and is moderately toxic. But it’s very effective against fire ants. Just ensure you follow instructions.

Pyrethrins are better since they will not persist in soil and is biodegradable. In addition, if you expose your compost bin for a few days to the sun, you can break down the insecticide faster.

Spinosad is also organically acceptable and will not harm your plants if you use your compost.


If you add it to the substrate, making your compost benefits your environment and can help keep your soil healthy, especially your garden. But if you have an indoor compost bin, you could attract unwanted visitors like ants to your home.

Fortunately, you can repel them by closing your lid, adding moisture to your compost, or sprinkling diatomaceous earth to the pile.

So if you know anyone who doesn’t know how to keep ants out of their indoor compost bin, sharing this article should help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Ants Sometimes Bad for Your Compost Bin?

Most of the time, the ants are not the problem. But it is their presence because it signifies that your composting system is imbalanced.

There are also some species you wouldn’t want in your compost bin because they are invasive or will bite you when you use the compost in your garden.

Will Ants Kill Compost Worms?

Some ant species, like red ants, army ants, and carpenter ants, have a nasty bite. And if they are in large numbers in your compost, they will attack your compost worms.

Can You Use Compost With Ants in It?

It would be best not to use compost with ants in them since you will invite an infestation into your home. But if you see a few ants in your compost, there’s no reason you shouldn’t use it.

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