Why are my worms collecting at the bottom of my bin?

KendraSchmidtMarch 21, 2013

Hello,

I have a question to vermicoposters who have multi-tier bins (please, only multi-tier bin users...this will really help me). I have a bin that is currently three tiers. I've noticed that whether or not I reduce the bin to one tier, or to three/four tiers, the worms consistently travel down to the sump tray which contains fluids and mucky compost that they seem to feed on over and over again. They just hang out there, even though the above bins are perfectly dry. It seems they're even breeding there and there are even baby worms in the wet sump tray.

I cleaned a bin out a month ago and went to check on the sump today and sure enough, there were tons of worms down there, even though the sump tray itself wasn't very wet at that point. I'd like to know why they like to collect there?

The conditions in my bins seem to be stable. There was a bad smell in one of the sump trays. The others smell just fine and weren't very wet. Still, ALL of the sumps, including the smelly ones, had worms everywhere, collecting.

If you're a multi-tier bin user who has experienced the same or know why they keep traveling to the bottom of my bin, can you please let me know?

Thank you all.

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11otis

""They just hang out there, even though the above bins are perfectly dry."" Could it be because the above bins are PERFECTLY dry? Worms do not like dry.
I jammed a weed cloth underneath the bottom tray (between the bottom tray and the collection/sump tray. When doing this, you might want to get somebody to help you so you can get the cloth as taut as possible, not sagging in the middle when setting it up.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 6:05PM
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equinoxequinox

"I have a question to vermicoposters who have multi-tier bins (please, only multi-tier bin users...this will really help me)." "If you're a multi-tier bin user who has experienced the same or know why they keep traveling to the bottom of my bin, can you please let me know?"

Hopping up and down on one foot biting my tongue with my mouth closed and my legs crossed and arms crossed as if I have to pee but regardless I will honor your request and not post the answer as I do not have a multi-tier bin.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 12:00AM
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11otis

EQ: now you have made me very curious but I quess I'll NEVER know your wise answer. Dang!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 1:49PM
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equinoxequinox

Nope because it is secret "worm magic" known only to non tray system vermiconposters. Worms read instructions and know which type of system they are in and act accordingly. Information from one system type is totally non transferable to a sister system type.

Still the best one was the guy who must have been doing a college dissertation or just hired for $$$ to a company to figure out how to get rid of the redworms that were infesting (from releases upstream?!?) his redworm ideal systems and in actuality the redworms probably were indeed helping the systems to work better by cleaning them and keeping the system non clogged. Posted on how to Kill redworms.

Ok it's not like we are not all experts on how to do that but it is usually unintentional.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 12:10AM
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petrock1963

call 911

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Graces_Dad

Kendra,
I have the same problem. I started noticing it when the weather warmed up in my garage this spring. Mind you, the temperature in my garage doesn't change that much, but I guess even a 5-10 degree change in the ambient temperature might make a difference to the worms (say from high fifties to mid-sixties). It does seem like the pace of decomposition accelerated.

I switched the order of my tiers, so that the oldest material (where the worms kept collecting) was on top. Yes, they still kept heading downhill to the bottom tray (and beyond).

I then tried putting window screen at the bottom of the oldest material. The little buggers are either going through or around it.

Contrary to all the FAQs I've been reading around the internet, it does appear that the worms are heading to the wettest part of the bin.

I've decided to pick up the pace of the harvesting of the castings. I'm emptying the bottom two tiers of the most decomposed materials a few weeks ahead of "schedule." I'm going to add a bunch of fresh bedding and maybe some cornflour to help tide the worms over until the newest food decomposes enough for them to eat.

What I can't figure out is, even though I'm most likely over-wetting my bin, the worms still seem to head to where it is the wettest. Like you said, the top levels seem to be in good shape in terms of wetness and temperature. Why the worms are heading into the sump, I don't know.

Any helpful suggestions (other than smart alecky remarks) are very appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:57AM
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11otis

Graces_Dad: IMHO window screen will not deter worms going where they want to go. I have found weed cloth did the trick when I was still running a Worm Factory (that I have gotten rid of since, too small). Then I moved on to a multi-tier (4) RM bin system. Most of the babies and cocoons I found were in the wet part of the bins.
""smart alecky remarks"" I find it refreshing to read some "smarty pants" trying to brighten up the day in a humourous way. Worm farming could be real stressfull when the worms don't do what we expect them to do. Just like kids, LOL.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 1:55PM
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thedogsLL(6B)

I don't see what the problem is with some worms going down instead of up. ? They are in the bin, they're happy, and about once a week, I scrape them back into an upper tray, and it starts all over again. The food gets eaten, I get to feel like I'm taking care of them (as if they really need it-snort!), so we're all happy.

Yes, Kendra, I have a multi-tier bin, a Worm Factory 360 to be specific. I vary between 2 and 4 tiers, depending on what we eat at a particular time. There are never more than 5/6/8 (I really don't count) in the bottom, and no, I don't know WHY they go there. I don't know why worms do a lot of what they do. I'm just glad they do it.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 6:14PM
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