I think my worms hate me :-(

briansttt(5)March 6, 2009

So I got these worms... Made them a rubbermaid bin house... And then after everything was going well for about a week or so, I almost drown them. Now I replaced all the bedding have given them a little sand and food a couple times, the first pile is pretty much gone, they are working on finishing the second pile, and they seem to be in and out of the third one a little bit, but every time you shut the light off or try to put the cover on they try to escape. Also I'm getting a new Gusanito 4 tray system in the mail this weekend. This wouldn't be a problem normally, but... I will be moving them into the basement where it is a steady 55 degrees. I am wondering if they will settle down in this new house or not and if I should be putting some sort of light and or heater in there for them? Any help would be appreciated and thanks in advance. Brian

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My worms were active but slow when my cellar hit 55 degress, but they were still active. When it dropped to 50 degrees they nearly stopped eating. They were still eating, but it was so slow they may as well have stopped.

Some people have used seed germinating pads as worm bin heaters. Others use fish tank heaters. My fish tank heater raised the temperature enough that the decomposition kicked up the temp again. Now the center of my bin is up 77 degrees even though the cellar is currently 52 degrees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Worm Heater

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 9:46AM
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A really simple option for heating is to get one of those orthopaedic heating pads you warm up in the microwave (the gel, liquid or clay ones- not the rice or grain ones obviously!) They get quite warm, so I wrap in plastic and put them either in the drip tray of my can of worms (will warm up the air and promote warm air moving upward), or I place it on top of a newspaper and put a few newspapers on top of it on the top layer- I do this if I have alot of food waiting to break down.

I put one in last night on the top layer, the temp of my compost was 50, today, nearly 20 hrs later I just checked it and it's nearly 70. The pad's still tepid to touch and the food's beginning to decompose and produce its own heat.

I have my food in a net bag on top of the top layer of compost so the worms can access it easily, and also I can lift it up every day or so, shake it about and oxygenate the food without disturbing the bedding.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 10:41AM
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Ok, so what your saying is that once the food is decomposing the bin will keep it's self warm enough? I don't actually need the heater all the time? I'm looking for a cheep way to do it since in another month they will be moved out side to the garage where the temp should be almost perfect for them. If I was to use one of those mats (either a seed mat or a reptile mat where should I locate it so I don't kill my worms by baking them? Thanks for the help! Brian

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 2:19PM
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The decomposing food will heat the bin. In fact it can do so by itself if there is enough food. I don't know how big a Gusanito 4 is. Also, any time the food runs low the temperature will drop. In my bin I haven't been able to bring up the temp using decomp when the bin temperature was in the 50s. I think the cold was slowing the decomp.

As far as locating the heater, I think you'd have to figure that out. Just try to keep the bin temp in the 60s and 70s. If possible give them a cooler section to run too if it gets too hot directly over the heater.

However, I am fairly new to worms. I'd be more comfortable if there were more experienced people commenting on this.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://vermicomposters.ning.com/

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 3:36PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

The worms will do fine in your basment things just don't happen as fast hmm heating a worm bin just seems counterproductive

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 6:19PM
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Are you seeing a mass exodus, or just a few worms on the sides and lid? I've been having a few crawlers lately, but not an exodus by any means.

Put your finger in the food and see if it is heating. It's best not to mix the food into the bedding when you feed...then encourages heating.

You may have too much food in your bin, when you mention 3 piles. Don't add any more food till all the food is eaten.
Especially since they're in a colder environment now. 55 degrees isn't a concern, to worry about trying to heat the bin. Don't forget, even though it's 55 degrees air temperature in the basement, it can very well be much warmer inside the bin.

I would also leave the lid ajar, instead of covering it tight. Any light coming in might discourage them from roaming.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 10:28AM
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My worms stay in my basement year round. I keep a bucket under my sink to keep my scraps in. I have a coffee can at work to keep the coffee grounds in. They get a mix of coffee grounds and veggie/fruit scraps. I don't mix them in, I just put the scraps on top or to one side and then put the coffee grounds on top. Other than that, I never touch my worms. I keep newspaper layered on top the compost. That is it. I let them do their own thing.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:55PM
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Thanks everyone, I'm learning sooo much reading all the posts on here. So I got my new bin on saturday morning and set it up and transferred them over. I just can't get over it though I've had ten worms escape magically from my bin so far... I should be getting my new worms today and can see if they match up with the worms I already have. (I'm now wondering if they are all true red wigglers....) My bin temp is staying at or very close to 56.4 degrees so I'm happy with that they are still quite lively (even if it is only trying to escape (-: ) There is mostly coir, and paper in the bin right now though, I put a few egg shells and coffee grounds in there too but with 2000 worms on the way should I be adding more food scraps than this or just leave it and let them eat the bedding?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 9:45AM
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Once the 2000 worms arrive, I wouldn't wait more than a couple of days, before gradually starting to add in food scraps. What's the point of letting them just eat your bedding?

Here is a link that might be useful: working worms

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 6:53PM
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I agree with african. Put about 1/2 cup of soft, rotting food in one corner of your bin. When they're ready, they'll go and eat it. Check in a couple days and see if they're in the pile eating. Wait till it's gone and put another 1/2 cup in another corner. After a couple days, check and if they're in eating, put some in another corner. You can gradually increase the amount of food. Be careful of over-feeding. It's so easy to overfeed. It takes several months for them to get up to the speed of "eating their weight".

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 7:45PM
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