Monday, January 25, 2010

little critters in your worm bin part 2

Mites can be among the most numerous inhabitants in the worm bin, with many different species feeding on decaying organic matter and such. Don't worry, they are not like lice or other mites. they won't harm your worms, they actually help. They are generally found on the surface of the bin, though some predatory species will venture deeper if the material is loose and there is a food source. Mite populations can be controlled by placing melon wedges, fleshy side down on the worm bedding. This is a favorite mite food, and they will soon collect on the melon, which can then be removed from the worm bin. . Leaving the bin lid open and exposing the bedding surface to drying and UV light will also control mite populations. The vast majority of mite species in the bin are beneficial organisms which make up a significant part of the bin ecosystem. Mite species which damage living plants are not found in the worm bin. To take control of mite populations should only be considered if the worms are demonstrating stress behaviors like refusal to come to the surface, huddling in a ball, low reproduction or mass exodus. Remember what worms consider to be infestation levels of mites is often very different from the human view. Many species of mite found in the worm bin pose no threat to garden plants or people.

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