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Frequently Asked Questions & Advice
How to Care for your Worms
Redworms_science for soils
Reproduction Temperature Requirements
DIY Worm Bin
1) How many worms do I need for my worm bin?
It really depends on the size of the worm bin, for most average sized domestic worm bins we would suggest you start with 1 lb. - approximately 800 - 1000 mixed sized worms. If the worm bin is a larger size for composting the food scraps of four adults or more then 2 lbs. would be advised.
2) How do I feed the worms?
Feed them 1-2 times a week when you first get your worms. As the worms multiply, or you see that the food is being rapidly consumed, you increase the feeding times and the amount of food. Bury your food scraps a few inches into the bedding, making sure to bury the food in a different place each time you contribute to the bin. Cover thoroughly with the bedding to discourage fruit flies and other pests.
3) What do worms eat?
Worms eat organic, decomposed material. Additionally, worms actually feed on the bugs, bacteria, and fungus that grow on your organic waste as it decomposes.
4) Why are worms important?
Worms are an important indicator of good soil. If you have lots of worms in your soil, your soil is in better condition than soil with no worms. Worms move around in the soil, keeping it loose and helping to get oxygen to the roots of plants which help them grow. Also, the worms eat the organic matter in the soil and leave worm castings which are then readily available to the plants for nutrition.
5) How do worms breed or reproduce?
Worms are hermaphrodites or intersexes, in that they are both male and female. The fertilized eggs are collected by a ring of mucous on the outside of the body, called the clitellum. As the mucous slides off the tail end it closes, forming a cocoon around the eggs that then go on to develop into baby worms. Each cocoon or egg can contain up to 20 baby worms, however, the average is usually 5 or 6.
6) Why are my worms crawling away from the worm bin?
Worms crawl for many reasons. One of the main ones is a lack of air (oxygen) in the bin. This is particularly a problem with deep, plastic bins, even worse when they have a "clamp-on” lid designed to stop them from getting out!
Other conditions would include such as weather conditions, particularly when it is wet and when the pressure is low. Vibration, even when you don’t feel them, can cause worms to crawl. Adding too many worms when starting the bin, unhealthy conditions develop in the bin, unpleasant things being added as food - such as a lot of raw onions, citrus fruit skin, fermenting fruit, alcohol, etc. – can all cause worms to crawl and try to escape from the bin.
7) My worms have died - why?
There are several reasons why they may have died. The most common reason is because the conditions have become intolerable to the worms – the bedding material is too dry or too wet; there is no food available; the material has been allowed to heat up, usually thru the addition of too much un-composted green material such as grass.
If the compost looks black, sludgy and smells, then it has become anaerobic. This happens when there is no oxygen present, usually caused by compaction and wet conditions; and there is now the wrong type of bacteria present. This will give off harmful gasses causing the worms to give up and die.
Sometimes worms will die off due to bad foodstuffs being added, such as a lot of raw onions or citrus fruit skin, fermenting fruit or alcohol etc.
8) My bin has small white worms in it, are they harmful?
These are pot worms which are not harmful to red worms. They are all part of the eco-system of your bin. Pot worms usually like the bin conditions which are wetter, so keeping the bedding material a little dryer will sometimes discourage the pot worms.
To "dry out” a worm bin that has become too wet – leave the cover open and mix in something to absorb the extra moisture, such as shredded paper (not colored or with color ink); shredded brown paper towels (the kind you used at school); dry peat moss; or what we find works best is dry, shredded coconut coir.
9) How do worms smell?
Worms have specialized chemo receptors or sense organs ("taste receptors”) which react to chemical stimuli. These sense organs are located on the anterior part of the worm.
If you really mean, how do worm bins smell? the answer is: if the worm bin is working properly and being looked after, there will be no odor or smell, if it is neglected and becomes anaerobic or sour, it will start to smell.
10) What are the white maggot looking things in my bin?
These are probably pot worms. Pot worms are part of the eco-system of your bin, and are not harmful to redworms.
11) How to Remove Nightcrawlers From Lawn?
We don’t know of any effective way to do this without using strong pesticides. If you know or hear of any other ways, please let us know. Meanwhile, remember that earthworms are helping to fertilize your soil and make it healthy... maybe it could be possible to co-exist with these little critters....