composting made easy! thank you for your interest in compostings and welcome to York Region's Composting Made Easy e-newsletter

Ants, Raccoons and Skunks Oh My!

If you are hosting some new and unwelcome backyard guests we have some suggestions for you.


Insects are a natural part of the compost system, but if you have an influx of ants at your composter, it may indicate your compost pile is too dry or has been left alone for too long. In this case it can be helpful to aerate or turn your compost, which remixes the ‘ingredients’ and exposes new surfaces for the bacteria in your compost pile to feast on. A few other tips include: 

  • Moisten your compost pile using a watering can and turn the pile frequently 
  • Add more material; once your pile is large enough and gets above 60 Celsius, ants will choose to live elsewhere
  • Add extra coffee grounds to your compost pile as it lowers the pH making it less appealing to ants

Raccoons can be aggressive but smart scavengers as they are able to open doors and pop lids open if they smell something good. If raccoons manage to get into your compost you can try the following tactics:

  • Add weights or locks to the lid and exterior door of the compost bin
  • Cover sweet smelling fruit scraps with a layer of dirt, grass or leaves
  • Create a paste of ground cayenne pepper and water and spread around your composter and on top of the composter lid; the spiciness will discourage raccoons from coming back for another snack.

Rodents and Skunks

Rodents, including skunks are attracted to meat and dairy scraps specifically. Make sure your backyard composter is free of meat and dairy (these items can go in your green bin). If you are not putting meat and dairy in your composter, but still having problems you can try placing a chicken wire mesh underneath your composter to prevent the critters from tunnelling underneath your composter for a snack. 


Are you interested in learning how to save seeds from your vegetable garden? Join York Region Food Network for a seed-saving workshop. For workshop details visit

Seed-Saving Workshop
Date: Thursday, August 25, 6:30 p.m.
Address: 372 Industrial Parkway S.,
Town of Aurora  

To reserve your place in a workshop please contact or
905-841-3101 x206

Stay tuned for backyard lasagna gardening and vermi-composting workshops coming this fall!

Decorative image
Have some advice to share or a question to ask?
Send us your question, composting secret or tip to share in our next newsletter by emailing us at or post your ideas on social media using the hashtag #compostingmadeeasy
Copyright © 2016 The Regional Municipality of York, All rights reserved. 
You are receiving this email as part of signing up for the SM4RT Living Composting Challenge program. 

Our mailing address is: 
The Regional Municipality of York
17250 Yonge Street
Environmental Services, Waste Management
Newmarket, On  L3Y 6Z1
Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
The Regional Municipality of York · 17250 Yonge Street · Environmental Services, Waste Management · Newmarket, On L3Y 6Z1 · Canada

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp