Thursday, May 26, 2011

Runaway Worms!

We have been getting a few e-mails from folks lately who are having trouble with worms leaving their new bins so I thought I'd send out some helpful information on how to keep them in their new home.
We have only had this problem a few times ourselves and it's been fairly easy to fix.
1)  When you set up a new bin with new bedding it helps to add some compost or if possible, old worm bedding.  The compost and old bedding contain beneficial microbes that start breaking down the food for the worms and the microbes themselves serve as food also.  Brand new bedding doesn't contain any of this stuff and so the worms look elsewhere for goodies. Adding the compost or old bedding to the new bin will help jump start the process and give the worms the tasty snacks they love.
2)  It also helps to keep the bin in a well lit area or under a bright light for about twenty-four hours, this will help to "train"  your worms to their new bin.  Just like most other living creatures, worms also take a while to get used to their new environment and since they don't like light, this is a good way to force them to stay home and make the new place feel more comfortable.
These steps will also help when harvesting the old castings from your bin and adding new bedding.  This tends to be less of a problem in older bins but when you add a lot of new bedding, it doesn't hurt to play it safe.
This of course is all contingent on you setting up the new bin properly to begin with so remember the basics for worm preferences:
Dark is good- keep a lid on the bin to allow them free roam inside.
Moisture is a must- the bedding should be as moist as a rung out sponge, too much moisture makes smelly bins and too little makes slow, sad worms.
Worms gotta breath too-  make sure the bedding isn't packed down like clay so worms can move through it.  This will also help keep it from stinking, tight packed bedding allows anaerobic bacteria to grow and they pretty much always smell bad.
Good luck!

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