Young country diary: the worms and woodlice want a piece of our dinner | Insects

I lift up the lid of the composter. There is always so much life inside ours. I can see two worms, a very fat slug and a striped woodlouse that have crawled up into the lid (it’s a bit like a dish when you turn it over). That’s just a tiny sample of the life inside a composter. Lots of creatures use it as a feeding station – slugs go there to hoover up the plant-based material, while woodlice eat most of the stuff we chuck in there. Worms are permanent residents, chomping soil, leaves and kitchen leftovers.

Other inhabitants make composting less fun: spiders. They are not vegetarians, and if they pop into Composter Cafe, it’s usually to eat the other diners! House spiders especially like the composter because it’s warmer than outside and they are adapted to living indoors. You might be surprised to learn that 95% of house spiders have never set foot outside. You might not be surprised to learn that spiders are not my favourite bug – I like earwigs the most. I was amazed to learn that female earwigs bring food to their young and protect them, and there’s still so much to discover about these awesome insects.

I tip today’s delivery – carrot tops, onion skins and tea leaves – into the composter and close the lid. There’ll be a great feast at Composter Cafe tonight.
Zephy, 13

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