How to get ants out of a worm farm and other interesting questions about starting a worm farm
by Jodie Donald
(Perth, Western Australia)
A worm island protects worms from ants
Thank you for such a great resource it is a very informative site. I'm new to worm farming but am very keen to start a small business. I will be ordering your book very soon. I have had my Tumbleweed 2 tier farm since just before Christmas. I am a qualified Horticulturist/ Landscape Designer so am very passionate about all things garden but no longer work in the field.
We have moved to a house with a very manageable garden so I decided worm farming would be my next hobby/career. Having also a legal background I tend to research the hell out of everything I get involved in!
Sometimes I think ignorance would be pure bliss lol. Everywhere I've read it says that ants in your farm indicate a dry environment. Living in Perth WA we already have many ants in the gardens and paving during Summer and also have very hot dry days. I read that you can flush your farm once per week as well as turn it over to keep it moist and aerated. I have done this religiously. I prepare the food as suggested on many sites and used a blender last week.
Last week, on rough calculations I determined the herd had doubled in 3 months. Worms are healthy, growing and I've caught them in the "act"! I felt like I should quickly put the blanket back down for privacy lol. There are lots of babies and cocoons. I am conscious of the Nitrogen/Carbon ratio and when I flush farm I have the tap open.
If anything, my bed borders on being too wet as I do flush it as mentioned. Despite all of this I have millions of tiny ants. They are all around the inside edge, are scurrying across the top and when I turn it over they are even mixed in.
I add the Worm Conditioner once per week to help with ph and use crushed eggshells. I haven't yet put the legs in buckets of water or used vaseline around the leg bases. I thought if damp enough the ants would not come. Yesterday I picked up a handful of bedding and
squeezed it and way too much water came out. It is not like a damp sponge as recommended. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and this is driving me crazy. I have read somewhere that cinnamon is a deterrent for ants so that will be my next attempt.
Secondly I have read conflicting articles on which types of aged manure you can use in your bins. When I originally set mine up I used a Coir block and aged cow manure.
One article said that "hot" manures like cow, horse, sheep should not be used and that goat and rabbit were the best. Is this correct?
I made a major rookie error this past week. I thought I was being all clever and I blended my food. We had a coming forecast of two 40+ days. I added too much food and yesterday when I went to check on the worms I actually gasped when I lifted my worm blanket. It looked like the whole population were leaving en masse! Obviously with the overfeeding and then the heat it actually did turn into a hot compost bin and they were trying to escape being cooked alive.
I quickly took out as many worms as I could, removed the uneaten waste, turned it over to try and release some of the heat and again watered it. I even added some dry bedding (shredded paper) as it did seem awfully damp. Today when I opened the lid the worms were all back together and happy but there were thousands of ants. Any advice would be most helpful.
Kind regards Jodie Donald