Unhappy worms? Can a worm farm be to wet?

by Silvia
(Switzerland)

We heard from worm bins some weeks before and tried it. So we bough some bins and made wholes in there. The first days our worms were very happy and were eating much but today I have found 3 dead worms and was shocked about it.


I think the bedding in the bin is to wet. Is it possible that worms are dying because of this? I dried the bin a little with paper and ground. Also we made some wholes on site (bevore we just had wholes on ground). What do you think should we do/ or change that our worms feel more happy?
Thanks and greetings from switzerland
Silvia


Answer:

Hello Silvia,

I am sorry to hear that you found a few dead worms on the surface of your worm farm bedding. There could be a few reasons why your worms died. The food or bedding might have become to acidic for the worms in your worm bin, There might be other creatures in like the soldier fly maggots for example that the worms dislike which in your instance is possible as you mentioned that the worm bedding was very wet.

Worms can live in a very wet environment as long as it contains enough oxygen for them to breath. They can even live submerged in water if the conditions are right.

What kind of food did you give to the worms? Did you notice any maggots in your worm bin? Does the worm farm smell bad?

It would be best to learn a bit more about the condition of your worm bin and if possible a few pictures (not to big) which would help me to get an better idea of the problem you are facing?

Adding enough drainage holes is always important if you want to run a healthy worm farm.

I am looking forward to your feedback.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert
Author of
"How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of
www.worm-composting-help.com.



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Sep 02, 2015
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Great stuff about worm farms
by: Anonymous

Great example you have shared with us about worm farms. I have visited many posts of this blog, but this post have helpful material for everyone. I really want to bookmark this post on my bookmarked blog list.

Aug 13, 2015
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How to get worms to move into the upper bin of their worm farm.
by: Stephan

Hello Silvia,

it is nice to hear from you again and I am glad to hear that your worms are doing well. There are two ways to get the worms from the middle bin of your worm farm into the top bin.

1. Once your middle bin is full to the top with processed worm castings (worm poop) and there is only a little bit of space left for new food (about 1 to 2 inches / 2.5 to 5 cm) fill this space with food and add the same amount of food to the top. Compost worms are top feeders and some of them will migrate through the holes in the bottom of the bin into the upper container to feed on the provided food. Repeat this regularly whenever you feed and more and more worms will start to settle in the top bin. The more holes are in the bottom of your worm farms the easier will it be for the worms to move upwards.

2. You can support the migration of the worms as well. Whenever you feed your worm herd in the middle bin wait for 24 hours to let the worms get used to the new food. Than go early in the morning between 6 and 10 before it gets to hot and remove the food and the top 10 cm / 4 inches of worm castings from the surface of the middle bin and place it all in the top bin. Most of your worms will be in this layer of food and castings and this way it is easy to move the worms upward.

I hope this helps you. If you have further questions you are always welcome to contact me.

Kind regards

Stephan
Author of "How to start a profitable worm farm on a shoestring budget"

Editor of
www.worm-composting-help.com

Aug 07, 2015
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My worms don't want to migrate into the upper bin.
by: Silvia

Hi Stephan,
thanks for helping me with your knowledge about worm composting so well. Now I have a new problem. My worms make a good job but if one bin is full the worms don't migrate into the bin above. What can i do to get the worms to move into to the next level...
Thanks and greetings from switzerland.
Silvia

Jun 29, 2015
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Re: grub, fly, spiders and mold in the worm bin
by: Stephan

Hello Silvia,

I am glad to hear that your worms are well and enjoying their life in your worm bin. There are quite a number of creatures that you can find in an established worm farm. Most of them are quit harmless and are in fact even beneficial to your worm composting efforts because they assist with the recycling of the food waste that you are adding to your worm bin. There are however a few invaders of worm farms that can cause problems for your worms and might actually force them to either leave their bin or die. One of those problematic animals is the black soldier fly maggot. It often causes the entire worm herd to stop feeding on the surface and the worm farm becomes smelly and soggy after a while.

It is difficult to judge what kind of grubs and spiders you have in your worm farm so it will be best if you could send some pictures through this website. Just make sure they are small enough (less than 300kb)

In the meantime have a look at the following pages from our website which could help you to identify the invaders to your worm farm and assist you to deal with them.

If the holes are on the side of your worm farm they should be alright. You can place a mesh of plastic or metal over them if you want to prevent flies and other unwanted visitors to enter your worm bin though them.

http://www.worm-composting-help.com/Mold-in-worm-farms.html

http://www.worm-composting-help.com/worm-bin-predators.html

http://www.worm-composting-help.com/worm-farm-inhabitants.html


If you have further questions don't hesitate to let me know.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert
Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor
www.worm-composting-help.com

Jun 25, 2015
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grub, fly, spiders and mold in the worm bin
by: Silvia

The worms are still happy and look good. But now a have another question. I found a grub in the bit and some fly and little spiders also there is a little mold in to the bit. Is it ok or should i close the holes on the wall again?

Greetings
Silvia

Jun 20, 2015
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The worms are happy now
by: Silvia

Thank you for your help. My worms feel better now. I think it was just in the beginning that the worm farm was not so successful.
But because of your help the worms are happy now.

I let them do their work now and recycle all my food waste....

Thanks and greetings :-)
Silvia

Jun 17, 2015
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Don't disturb worms in their worm farm
by: Stephan

Hello Silvia,

the food that you are offering your worms sounds quite ok so I don't think it is a food problem that is the cause for the dead worms. I take it for granted that you don't offer fresh tomato leaves that have been sprayed with insecticide which could as well harm the worms.

The reasons for bad odors in your worm farm could either be due to the fact that your worms are not able to eat their food as fast as you are adding new materials or the dead worms are starting to decompose which can as well produce a bad smell.

I strongly advise that you don't poke around in your worm farm as this can actually injure or even kill the worms. They have hardly any protection against hard and sharp objects and once their important organs have been damaged they can easily dye.

A good way to see if your worms are happy and healthy is to leave them organize themselves in their worm farm. If they are in a good shape they will take over time inroads into the food and level the surface of your worm bin if you stop feeding them for a while. Worms eat and breed nearly all the time and a good time to inspect the actions of your worms is early in the mornings. When you quickly lift the lid of your worm farm you should see some worms busy feeding right on the surface of their food. Once they get exposed to light they will dig down into their bedding and should be out of sight within a minute or two.

I had a look at the pictures that you sent to my email address and the worms definitely don't look as if they have died because of on acidic environment thats why I suspect that they might have been hurt somehow and died. Taking into account that you found only 3 dead worms shows as well that it doesn't seem to be a problem that threatens to destroy your whole worm herd.

So I suggest you stop feeding for a few days, give your worms some time to settle in their worm bin and monitor it for a few weeks.

If the situation becomes worse, please let me know.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert
Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor
www.worm-composting-help.com

Jun 14, 2015
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Re: dead worms in my worm farm
by: Silvia

Thanks for your answer.
I give my worms salat, kohlrabi, tomato leaves,coffee set, cress,...
The compost didn't smell for the first couple if days but after that it started to smell a little bad


I will send you some fotos on your e-mail.
Today there was another dead worm but maybe it was also from yesterday...
I have another question: I like to see every day if my worms feel good, so I have to rummage a little in the bin is it ok or should I l avoid doing this?

Thanks an greetings
Silvia

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