My Adult Worms Seem to be Dying

by Phillip
(Hayward, CA)

2 mating worms

2 mating worms

I have a flow-through bin up off the ground that is 29" wide x 41" long x 22" high. It has a hinged lid. I bought 1,000 Red Wriggler worms to start. Initial bedding was compost from my 30" round compost bin. I originally fed mostly table scraps, tea grounds, egg shells, spoiled lettuce, and coffee grounds. I soon started adding partially a composted horse manure & wood shavings mixture.

A small quantity of worms was introduced into by compost bin a couple of months before I bought the 1,000 (long story). To my surprise, the worms thrived on the raw horse manure/wood shavings that I dumped into the bin. These worms end up, a little every week or so, in my flow through bin. But a week later, I see very few large worms in the flow-through bin. I have lots of baby and adolescent worms, but few adult. This has been going on for a couple of months.

I had centipedes, but seem to have gotten rid of them; and it seemed they would have eaten the smaller worms anyway.

Moisture & pH are fine. I live in the San Francisco bay area with moderate climate and the bin is in the shade. I have never seen a worm on the side of the bin. There is 10" - 12" of air space under the closed lid, which gets opened multiple times a week (and it is not airtight).

Any ideas?

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Jul 25, 2018
Re: My Adult Worms Seem to be Dying
by: Stephan

Hello Philip,

thank you for your excellent post. It is very descriptive and makes it much easier for me to assist you.

There is a tendency for adult worms to crawl out of their bin if it is very crowded especially during heavy rains at night which might possibly part of the problem you are facing in your worm bin.

I wrote an article about the subject and offered a solution to reduce the loss of worms for worm bins that are outside and subjected to rain. Have a look at the following URL. for more information

However the presence of lots of baby worms and adolescent worms is a clear indication that you must have adult worms in your worm farm that are producing those infant worms.

Take as well into account that you will always have many more small worms in a well managed worm bin than mature ones. This is due to the phenomenal breeding activity of compost worms
Have a look at the following URL. for more information about this subject and see a chart about the possible multiplication of worms in a worm farm.

Therefore I believe that your worms are just fine in their worm bin and you are doing a great job feeding and multiplying them.

Kind regards and God bless.

Stephan Kloppert

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

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