Does anyone use Dave Monroe's worm bed and methods

susieeg54February 27, 2012

We are new to raising worms. We have recently purchased a heated fiberglass worm bed from Dave Monroe and are attempting to use his methods of raising worms. We would like to be able to compare notes and ask questions of someone who is using his equipment and method. We need some good advice.

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Dave Monroe used to operate under the name VermiPlex. In April 1999 Washington State issued a cease and desist order against Vermiplex for offering business opportunities in a manner that violated Washington State law. VermiPlex shut down in March 2003.

Dave Monroe now operates under the name Ecology Technology. It looks like neither his bin nor his business practices have changed. In the past nearly all buy-back schemes were money losers for the people who entered into agreements with the parent company.

Dave claims that under ideal conditions (note that the conditions must be IDEAL), one worm can produce 16 worms in one month. I don't know whether that is true, but in vermiculture we don't count worms; we weigh them. 16 baby worms are not the same as 16 mature breeders. In ideal conditions worms will double in biomass every 3 months. So instead of a 1600% increase per month, as Dave claims, you could experience a 1600% increase per YEAR. And that assumes that you don't sell any worms, and your space and feed stock also increase by 1600% per year, since worms will stop breeding when space and food are no longer available.

So, let's do some math.

Your initial 5 lb of worms can grow to 80 lb in one year, provided you have the space. Worms take approximately 1 to 2 lbs per square foot of surface area. To to keep 80 lbs of worms, you will need at least 2, and probably 3 Ecology Technology bins. Assuming you don't want to lose you breeding stock, you will be able to sell about 20 lbs of worms per month. Ecology Technology will buy them back for $10.00 per lb. You will be grossing $200 per month, but your initial $2,400 investment will not be adequate to maintain your worm population. You will also need to supply your worms with 7 to 15 tons of feedstock and bedding per year. Deduct from your gross earnings the cost of shipping worms and obtaining feed and bedding.

I don't know anything about Dave Monroe's methods, but I suspect that using his bin is not really any different from using any other bin. He claims that there are 5 conditions which must be controlled to achieve maximum worm growth, but his bin only attempts to control one of these, and then only if the ambient temperature does not get too hot, since his bins have no mechanism to cool an overheated bin.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 1:46PM
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I thought I saw something on the Ecology Technology site about selling your worms after 6 months. I am looking for it now, but can't find it. In any case, if you start to sell after 6 months, you should have about 20 lb of worms, and you will not want to sell more than 5 lb per month to maintain your breeding stock. 20 lb of worms can easily live in a single ET bin.

You will produce a lot of vermicast, which may be marketable. You will have to find your own market, then have a way to package and transport it. The quality of vermicast is variable, and depends on the feedstock and how well it has been processed by the worms.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 2:18PM
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I am currently looking into the possibility of starting a small worm farm and am curious about Ecology Technology's start up package and the earning potential of a worm farm. Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 3:01PM
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DarcyB for a very nice answer to your question please refer to the second post in this thread by sbryce on Mon, Feb 27, 12 at 13:46. Here, I'll paraphrase: Ecology Technology is run by the same person who used to own Vermiplex. Vermiplex, a company that looks eerily similar to Ecology Technology was issued a cease and desist order for offering business opportunities in a manner that violated Washington State law. It looks like neither (the company's owner's) bin nor his business practices have changed. In the past nearly all buy-back schemes were money losers for the people who entered into agreements with the parent company. In short, the reports of purchased worm system earning potential appear to be greatly exaggerated.

May I suggest starting a micro trial run to see how you like it. Many of us here have lost our first purchase of worms. One thing we know is Dead Worms Smell Bad!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 7:57AM
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susieeg54 back in 2005, I established and ran a website (, no longer functional) for the sole purpose of warning the public regarding fraudulent and misleading business opportunities and other scams. At that time, people weren't aware of how to put those running such endeavors out of business, but thanks to getting them organized and learning where and how to file complaints, various states' attorney generals, the FTC and DOJ have aggressively moved in recent years to protect the public and have put these people out of business and into prison. And based solely on sbryce's initial reply, it sounds like that's what you're most likely involved with. So do some research on "Operation Bottom Dollar" and Operation Lost Opportunity" to see what people recently charged and convicted in those cases did. And if any of that applies in your situation, I'd bring that to Mr. Monroe's attention and request a full refund. And if he doesn't do that, you can file a mail fraud complaint, which will be investigated and then referred to the FTC, who will then refer the case to the DOJ for criminal prosecution if he has violated the law (which he did if he didn't provide you with the required documentation regarding actual "realized" (and not just "potential") profits as referred to in the 11/15/12 news release regarding the most recent actions taken in Operation Lost Opportunity).
Thanks to the way websites are archived, you can also learn a lot about fraudulent business opportunities at this link to my former website. Fortunately, most of the individuals involved in those fraudulent business opportunities have entered into plea agreements or have been convicted, and are now paying restitution, in prison or awaiting trial and/or sentencing. So I was truly surprised to see that anyone, especially after previously being shut down, is still offering anything less than a legitimate business opportunities since it will most likely eventually put them in prison. Please let me know if you need additional information or help and I'll be glad to do what I can in that regard; even though I no longer maintain the contact I used to with state and federal law enforcement agencies and there's now a lot of information available on the FTC website about filing fraudulent business opportunity complaints. And I wish you well in your vermicomposting endeavors--it's lots of fun, and with time and patience, probably has the potential to supplement your income a bit; though it sounds like your initial investment was a lot more than necesary.
BB in FL

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:23AM
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I have been looking at Dave Monroe's methods of raising worms, and was quite interested until I saw the questions about his program and the responses posted by several members as far back as 2012. This really opened my eyes and gave me a new perspective. I really really appreciate the responses that have been given, though I am wondering if anyone has used his methods successfully and how their results compared to what they were told on the front end. Frankly, after reading what BlinkBlogger had to say, I have about lost all interest in worm farming due to the trust factor. It looks like one pretty much has to question and investigate every website that they ever visit to see if it is a scam, before they go any further. Thank you all for your postings, as they really have saved me from financial regrets!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 10:12PM
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There used to be quite a few web hits that came up when searching for Ecology Technology and previous companies and all the scams they were said to run. I note that there has been some significant scrubbing done so that these sites don't appear early on in google searches anymore. I suspect that Monroe has had some good work done to get those web hits down in search priority. I also saw mention of his company on another site where I am not a member, so could not post any warnings. Hopefully anyone looking into this business will find this message thread when searching, and be warned to consider carefully what they are investing in. I've never done business with them, but there were certainly a lot of complaints in the past from people who felt they had not received value for their investment.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 11:20AM
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You be the judge of what is factual from the excerpt from this "news" release. Link attached.
Local Boy Worms His Way to Financial Security
Herman Siems is a red worm "rancher"
by Jenna Meyer

Did you know that one pound of red wiggler worms has a higher market value than one pound of lobster? It's true! A company called Vermi-Plex pays fifty dollars a pound for these slimy little critters. Red wigglers are used to recycle garbage in landfills.

Herman Siems, a 16 year old local boy, heard about these worms 4 months ago and decided to become a worm farmer - or rather, worm rancher. He's in Sublette County, after all.

Herman contacted David Monroe, the creator of Vermi-Plex, and with an initial investment of $1,500, he was able to get started. For his money, Herman was sent an 85-gallon incubator, where the worms habitate, and 5,000 baby red wiggler worms.

Within one week of receiving his start-up crop, each of Herman's 5,000 worms had laid an egg capsule containing 2-20 eggs. These eggs hatched within a week and within another week each of those worms will have laid another egg capsule, again containing 2-20 eggs, and so on. After four months, Herman has grown his herd to millions of worms.

Here is a link that might be useful: News

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 11:48AM
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I'd love to have my herd produce that many cocoons in such a short period of time. I lovingly tend to my herd, and also ignore them. They certainly consume my garbage but I don't think they're multiplying by the dozens. Oh well as long as they're eating my garbage, which is my main goal, and pooping, they're at least doing what I want them to do.

For $1500 it's good that he's been hugely successful right out of the gate. I don't know of anyone who has managed to increase their herd so fast, with the first attempt. Losing your first herd isn't abnormal at all.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 12:03PM
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From another article:
Worm farmers take the bait, get lured and hooked by buy-back scams
Five years ago, the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service warned farmers to be wary of trumped-up claims that worms can be raised with relatively little time, effort, and expense. Today, many worm farmers across the country are wishing they had listened more closely.

Numerous states have taken action against several worm buy-back companies this summer, accusing them of creating illegal Ponzi schemes that have left hundreds of farmers with no market for their worms.

âÂÂItâÂÂs not an easy situation to fix,â says Jason Governo, a worm expert at the University of GeorgiaâÂÂs Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. âÂÂA lot of people lost a lot of money and a lot of worms.âÂÂ

The buy-back companies sold what amounts to investment contracts to farmers hoping to break into the growing vermiculture businesses. For initial investments, usually a $10,000 minimum, a nationwide network of farmers purchased breeder worms with the promise that the company would buy their offspring worms back at a later date. State attorneys in several states, including Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Kentucky, allege that contracts were pyramid schemes dependent on a constant supply of new contracts.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 12:32PM
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Hence my reticence to attach the descriptor "magic" to the nature of worm "products". I do not, however, intend that the baby be thrown out with the bath water... In other words, I still consider "worming" to be a "good thing".


    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:47PM
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