Q – How many worms do I need?
A – It depends on the size of the worm bin and the amount of material that you want to compost. For most average sized domestic worm bins we suggest starting with 1 lb. If the worm bin is a larger size for composting the food scraps for 4 adults or more then 2 lbs. would be advised.
Q – How do I feed my worms?
A – 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, in a different place each time you feed, and then cover it with bedding to discourage fruit flies and other pests.
Q – What should I feed my worms?
A – Worms eat any type of organic, decomposing material, and actually digest the bacteria that grows on the organic waste as it decomposes.
Q – Why should I have worms in my soil?
A – Worms move around in the soil, keeping it loose and helping to get oxygen to the roots of the plants which help them grow. When worms eat the organic matter in the soil, they leave behind worm castings which nourish the plants.
Q – How do worms reproduce?
A – Worms 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.
Q – Why do worms sometimes crawl out of the worm bin?
A – 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 reasons are: adding too many worms when starting the bin or adding too much of certain types of foods – such as onions, citrus fruit skin, fermenting fruit, alcohol, etc.
Q – Are there any special things to do to keep my worms from dying?
A – The reason why worms die in a bin is that the conditions have become intolerable to them. This can happen when the bedding material is too dry or too wet – when there is no food available – when the bedding has been allowed to heat up, usually thru the addition of too much un-composted green material. If the compost looks black, sludgy and has a “sewage” type of odor, 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 die.
Q – What are the small white worms in my bin – and are they harmful?
A – 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 dry, shredded coconut coir.
Q – Will a worm bin have an odor?
A – If the worm bin is being cared for properly, there will be no odor. Unpleasant odors in a worm bin can result from overfeeding or overwatering. If there is a “sour” type of odor, it is probably do to overfeeding – just remove some of the material and let the worms “catch up”. If there is a “sewage” type of odor, it is probably due to overwatering – just add some shredding paper to absorb the excess moisture.