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black bugs with 4 spots in compost. Solved: 'picnic beetles'

 
Bob Steve
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They look like black ladybugs with 3 or 4 white dots on their back. There's literally a thousand in the 15 pounds of compost I just flipped over.

I was reading something about them (http://mayorsam.blogspot.com/2006/04/compost-beetle-could-spell-trouble.html) being "compost beetles" but it seemed like a myth of some sort. They do kind of look like the insect in the picture though...

What are these and should I destroy this batch or are they safe? I don't want an infestation.

Another article I found: http://www.gardeningtipsnideas.com/2006/04/are_you_prepared_for_the_compost_beetle_plague.html
 
Bob Steve
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Here's a picture. They're bigger today...

 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies Bob
I'm pretty sure those guys in you compost don't live on my island; but I've never heard of bugs in a bin actually being harmful.
They may be an indicator of a less-than-ideal composting environment, generally too wet, dry, high in nitrogen or carbon, but those issues are simple to fix.
Then again, they might just be doing their thing, and particular weather conditions (is it warm where you are?) have allowed a bit of a population boom.
So while I don't know the bug, maybe an idea of what your compost's like would help. What 'ingredients' are in it? Conistency? Moisture? How far along is it?
 
Gerry Power
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Location: South coast MA, Zone 6b
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Leila,

A quote from one of the links he posted: "The findings from a WHO inquiry into possible pandemic plagues has illustrated deep-seated concerns for the newly discovered Compost Beetle."

I am waiting for more information, but this is worth being concerned about. It is hard to believe that this is truley a new, mutated, bug, but mother nature throws "stuff" at us all the time.
 
LaLena MaeRee
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the bottom of that second link says it is an april fool's joke
 
                    
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Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
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hi, that bug looks like an oak borer, google 'oak borer' to confirm pixs.

wild
 
Gerry Power
Posts: 33
Location: South coast MA, Zone 6b
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I did not see that, but I searched the WHO site and found no mention of them. I was coming back to say that I did not know what to think about it. I guess I know know.

Do you think diatomaceous earth would affect something like what ever it is.
 
Gerry Power
Posts: 33
Location: South coast MA, Zone 6b
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I have looked at the wood borer, and the golden wood borer has spots but is not a good match to the pix above.

I cannot find any online references to a "compost beetle".
 
Bob Steve
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This stuff in the links was an April Fools' joke but I consulted with a bug geek and he says they are these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glischrochilus

So...they are like the compost beetle minus the killing of humans. Still not sure what to do with them.

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