condensation on lids

MooshyApril 12, 2014

I have 3 flow through bins called hungry bins. I have found them amazing for everything BUT the amount of condensation that is always on the lid of the bins when I go to open them each day. I leave the lids open through the day and close them in the evening. These bins are made of plastic and look much like a wheelie bin. I have drilled many 5mm holes in the lid, hoping that this would help with the condensation problem, but to no avail. The condensation runs down the lid when I open the bin and the water drips onto the floor.
Any suggestions much appreciated.

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Welcome to the forum Mooshy.!

No experience here with your type of bin, but I have read about them. Here are a few thoughts.
There is something about plastic and condensation. That is what drove me away from plastic bins. My last plastic tote bin was kept outside in the shade. Worms would crawl the walls and lid at night. I added a 6"x8" screened vent but it still was happening.
Could you leave the lid off? You could then cover the bed heavily (4-6") with a bedding mulch, such as leaves, shredded cardboard, paper, hay or straw.
You could leave the lid off and protect the wormbed with a topper, such as used carpet, burlap, or an old cotton blanket.
You could replace the lids with a piece of plywood. Drill holes in the plastic sides and problem solved.

New Zealand is beautiful! Do worms embrace clockwise or counterclockwise there??

Good luck, Pete

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:22PM
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Hi Pete, thanks for the welcome.
Your suggestions are all very, very good.
I think before I keep the bins open the whole time I will just fill the entire lid with holes and see how that goes. One reason for having the lids on at night is to stop any potential mice issues.
I have burlap over the top already and it would be interesting to see if leaving the lid off at night attracts any mice to the bin.
Such an interesting hobby our worming lol
As for the worms clockwise or counterclockwise I will get back to you :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 5:35PM
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"New Zealand is beautiful! Do worms embrace clockwise or counterclockwise there??"

Worms there, I've heard, go both ways.

About the condensation: I'm a believer in plastic totes and condensation is welcome. I just avoid putting excess moisture into them.

I also have no probs with worms climbing the walls. In fact, when they don't climb around, I begin to wonder what's wrong with em.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Hmmm, thanks cb2.
I guess I worry the bins will become too wet, but might be an issue I just need to live with. I feed quite a bit of fruit and I do squish as much moisture out of the fruit as I can. I get old fruit that has fallen from apple trees and then I freeze the apples before thawing them and letting them sit for a few days before feeding to the worms.
I don't have much of an issue with worms crawling around the bin, they seem quite happy in their home, so that is not an issue either.
I will drill loads more holes in the lid and if that doesn't help I will just accept it for what it is.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 7:35PM
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I never put a lid on plastic bin completely anymore. I always leave about 2" crack and the worms dont spend nearly as much time on the lid. I think they mainly go up now for breeding purposes and nothing else.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:46PM
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very interesting.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:01PM
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90% of my bins and supplys are repurposed items rescued on the way to landfill. I cut a few 1" to 2" holes in lid then cover them with black aluminum screen wire. A compermise between darkness and alowing air to flow in and out. I'm wondering why your worms don't crawl onto floor while room is dark if the lid is left off or has holes in it..

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 4:04AM
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I must explain that my bins are kept outside, by the back door of my house under a covered verandah. I also keep the worms covered with a thick layer of hessian and have had no problems with wandering worms (touch wood)
I do like your idea of larger holes with screen cover. May give that a try.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:31AM
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Like Hummer, I have my lids cracked at the edge to allow more air flow, and to potentially dry out any overly wet compost. I have these constant "despisement" (hmmm new word, perhaps?) of mites. Hate those things, and I know they like a bin that's wet.

Just keep adding dry shreds to the top, and it will be absorbed by any condensation. The worms love crawling in the condensation.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:44AM
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You are right about the mites, they sure do love wet conditions. 2 of my bins are fine but 1 has mite probs periodically. (The watermelon rinds are never far away)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:40PM
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Mites? Score another one for screen covered holes!
I have also found that meec,mouses,moos,,,,,,,,,,,critters large and small dislike putting their nosey noses on the wire,especialy those that fray the wire with claws before sticking said nose in for another whiff.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 3:40AM
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Ha ha klem, I can just about picture those nosy noses.
What kind of screen do you use and would hardware stores sell it? The more I think about your screens, the better they sound.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 6:35AM
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Had not heard about those bins before. It looks like to harvest they remove the entire bottom. I wonder if the vermicastings fall out even then. Or if the entire thing self harvests in an avalanche. The bin looks fun.

The reason for the cover is traditional thoughts of covered garbage cans. The cover makes a handy place to place beer while working near the bin. Maybe next time they will mold it with cup holders. I am surprised the bin is designed so specifically yet obviously had not been tested with actual real worms. The only thing I can think of is a tray or towel to capture the drops which will evaporate. The cover is also handy to keep out rain water flooding. But under the veranda you do not have to worry about that. Maybe remove the entire lid and flip it upside down so it will drip back into the bin easier.

Squeezing the moisture out of the fruit will remove the sugars that feed the tiny life that the worms eat. Add more bedding to absorb this moisture. Maybe just cover with a window screen that sits on top.

Check for mice activity by keeping a few different types of traps set all around. Sort of like they set up those sticky traps to monitor insect levels.

You might want to Google if mice can get through 5 mm holes.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:55PM
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You can buy the aluminum screen at the hardware or big box store. To apease my passion for recycling,I ocasionaly have a busy apartment maintainance man call when he has collected several damaged window screens. I go by his shop and rescreen them useing their material and taking the used for my use.
If you are a woodworker,building custom lids is simple. Build a wood frame to fit the bin. Useing a router,cut a groove to fit spline size on hand. The inexpensive tool for rescreening looks like a little pizza cutter. Thin strips of cardboard ,wood or plastic can be stapled on holding screen also.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:20PM
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Hi EQ I aways love reading your posts, they give me a smile everytime :)
The bins themselves work very, very well, they are the best I have used. The castings are not harvested until the bin is completely full and then just unclip the bottom and it's full of castings and very few worms.
I have never had all the bins contents come falling out when I remove the bottom (first few times I did it I was nervous that would happen) So, yes, I am very happy with the bins apart from the condensation issue.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:03AM
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Thanks Klem,
You sound like a talented soul.
I am not very handy with that sort of thing but we have a recycling plant nearby that I will hunt through for something similar to what you are describing

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:07AM
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So what in the world keeps the vermicompost from falling? The angled design of the sides one would imagine. What helps the amount that fits into the collection container of vermicompost to fall? Gravity does not seem to function inside of a vermicompost bin.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:27AM
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This is how they explain it on their website:

Castings should only be harvested when the bin is full

Castings should only be removed when the hungry bin has become full to the top of the taper. Removing castings before the bin is full will affect how much food the bin can process. The hungry bin needs to be at least þ full of finished castings to work most efficiently. This is to ensure the finished castings in the lower part of the bin have been cured completely, and are fully compacted. When the floor is removed, the shape of the bin means only the castings in the bottom part of the bin will fall out. When the castings have been properly compacted and had enough time to consolidate, they are largely free of worms and clump together, making them easy to remove and handle.

If the floor is removed before the castings have become properly compacted, all the material present in the bin, including the worms, will fall out.

How to harvest castings
1.Remove the drip tray and pour any liquid there into a suitable container.
2.Release the latches securing the floor to the lower body.
3.Lower the floor from the bottom of the bin. The floor should be full of finished castings.
4.Tip the floor upside down and tap sharply to knock out finished castings.
5.If needed, clean the filter with a hose or some water.
6.Replace the floor over the lower body and secure in place with the latches.

Some worms may be present in the castings. The worms can be easily separated from the castings by spreading them on the upturned lid, and placing it on top of the bin. The worms present will retreat from the light deeper into the castings and the top layer can be removed. The separated worms can then be tipped back into the bin.

Plants have evolved to uptake the nutrients created by worms ��" their castings are one of the most beneficial fertilisers for plants. Castings are pH neutral, so are very safe to use with all plants. Even a small amount of castings or liquid added to soil will improve the performance of plants.

They can be used in the same way you use compost, or heaped around plants. Pure castings may burn the roots of small plants if used undiluted. For use on smaller plants it may be necessary to mix the castings with other soil first.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:08AM
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Mooshy, I looked over the hungybin site. That is a nice unit! Seems like a well thought out design. I could not find a bad review.

How long have you had them going? Did you start all 3 at once or add 1 at a time? How long until first harvest? How often can you harvest after that?

EQ, you should design a bin with a beer-holder and get rich! Great idea.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:30PM
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Hi Mooshy,

Ben from Hungry bin here (I invented and designed it), I hope you and your hungry bins are going very well. Thanks so much for your post. I hope I can help with some more information to help get the best out of your bins.

We don't think that condensation in the hungry bin is an issue, as it doesn't pose a problem to the worms at all, and in fact we think it helps the bin work better.

The condensation is coming from the food waste breaking down (food is mostly water) and evaporating into the surrounding air. When it contacts the colder surface of the lid it condenses, much like the condensation you find on your windows on a cold morning.

The lid is designed to ensure that the liquid then runs down the inside of the bin, filters through the castings in the system, and the exits from the system via the filter. At this point it has been filtered through the castings, but picked up water soluble nutrients and flushed sediment from the hungry bin.

If the system is working properly, the liquid is oxygenated at the top of the system, and as it passes through keeps the whole system oxygen rich and smelling sweet. This helps prevent anaerobic (oxygen poor) bacteria which generally smell bad.

The worms don't mind moisture, in fact they need a certain amount to breathe through their skin and move along, and will survive for long periods of time in water (as long as it is oxygenated). This is why they like to migrate on wet nights, as it provides the moisture they need for their skin.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about any condensation in the bin, I don't think it is harmful at all. In fact adding too much ventilation will cause the bin to dry out in hot weather, which is not the idea thing to happen.

I hope this helps, B

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:53PM
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hi mendopete,
They are really great. I started with one bin and then over time one more and one more lol might even have to get one more (an addiction)
My first harvest if I recall correctly was about six months after starting the first one up and I have harvested around every three months since then. It all depends on how many worms you have and how much they process.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:12AM
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Hi Ben,
Thanks for your input and your amazing bins. My hobby is a lot more enjoyable these days.
I guess I am one of an increasing number of people wanting to have as little leachate as possible from their bins while still catering to the needs firstly, of the worms and then, my needs lol Opening the bin and having condensation run down in pools on my patio is not much fun. Mind you, if I were quick enough to syphon it somehow into a container I could use it to start off my castings tea.
So, am I correct that you are saying by putting more holes in the lid of the bin, that I am somehow compromising the working of the bin?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:23AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

Interesting design. The bins are $253.82 US Dollar

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 10:14AM
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"Interesting design. The bins are $253.82 US Dollar"

After reading the last post of that thread, I realized the approximately 250 fallacies of the theory, and actuality, and purposes of that bin.

It flaunts (my) basic principles of composting, and re-cycling, and conservation, and idealistic attempts to leave the world, or at least my little corner of it, a better place for my grandaughter than it was when her mother was brought into it.

Klem1 said earlier: "90% of my bins and supplys are repurposed items rescued on the way to landfill. I cut a few 1" to 2" holes in lid then cover them with black aluminum screen wire."
I feel like he would agree with me that this little thing we do is infinitely more gratifying doing it "our" way (or "on the cheap", as some would incorrectly assume). He was expressing, I think, the ideals I first got out of the good that can come from it.

After I started wormin', my awareness and efforts to minimize waste around me were only expanded and grown by the principles of the worming experiences. I think the same things are true for lots of us, and I will get off my soapbox now.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:53AM
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I'm pretty sure I understand your point, chuckiebtoo, and I appreciate that point needs to be made with some frequency.

That said, we are not all reading from the same page in the hymnal. Not only are "we" different people with different views of the world, we are also at different life stages. As I am quite certain you well know, view of the world changes with age and life's experiences. To try to make that sound less like preaching, let me add that the changes in point of view that come with age and experience are NOT always "good". Meaning: I'm not some "old guy" saying "listen to me because I'm old and experienced."

People often start out in one "place" conceptually, and end up in quite a different place ultimately. I have had to learn to let my children learn things for themselves, and I am a particularly hard-headed "child" (novice) when it comes to new adventures. The very point you make about the gratification of "doing it our way" is removed if we simply follow slavishly everything we are told. Including the "don'ts" as well as the "dos".

Like you, I wouldn't spend the money asked for the Hungry Bin, BUT... I live in a place where "smell" isn't an issue, and I ENJOY "rolling my own". But there are LOTS of folks that live in "other environs" and are constrained by laws, regulations, and familial considerations, that would like to raise worms but are prevented from doing it "my way" because of matters out of their control. For them, the Hungry Bin represents a "good" way to get into the process of COMPOSTING. And that's a "good" thing in my opinion.

I think, any "thing" - like the Hungry Bin - that facilitates DOING an activity - like vermicomposting - provides the foundation stone upon which a person can build a broader-based understanding, not only of the specific "thing" they are doing, but also the complexity of what we call "human culture".

Again, neither preaching or 'challenging' your points. I agree with them. It's just that I would add that the 'roll your own', 'inexpensive' pathway is not THE method for everyone at the same time.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:52PM
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I agree, whatever people find that works for them, at least they're worming!

I have a worm bin that the region supplied years ago in their workshop. It's my main bin, but I recently picked up some square 2 gallon buckets that coffee shop uses to get their donut mixes in. They just throw them in the recycling bin, and I could take some. Lids and all.

So I have 3 of these set up as well. I transferred a whack of the lads to these small bins while the green one is getting worked to a nice consistency of castings. I did put a slurry of food in there a few days ago and the worms are definitely on it chowing down. I'll probably harvest it in a week or so, nice weather outside on the balcony perhaps.

The price was right, for my

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Well said, Paul. That is true in some/many cases.
Having said that, I am more of cb2 opinion because I have the space (almost running out of it, though) to do what I'm doing.

EQEQ: âÂÂâÂÂSqueezing the moisture out of the fruit will remove the sugarsâÂÂâÂÂ. Hmmm, never thought of that. Thanks eqeq.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:27PM
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wow, nice bins jasdip.
I agree to some extent to all that has been said here.
But whether we get our bins Free or pay a premium for the type of bin that serves our purposes, we are all enjoying our hobby and meeting some great people on this and other sites.
One of the most fascinating things I have learned over the years, is this hobby is never static but always evolving,
Always, always learning.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Mooshy: "The condensation runs down the lid when I open the bin and the water drips onto the floor." "Opening the bin and having condensation run down in pools on my patio is not much fun."

Hungrybin: "The lid is designed to ensure that the liquid then runs down the inside of the bin."

Anybody else have this style of bin? Does the condensation from the just opened lid run down the inside or outside of the bin?

For $250 I would not want a wet floor.

If I was a consultant I would guess Mooshy and Hungrybin are talking about different amounts of condensation. A light condensation may not run at all when the lid is opened. A heavy condensation as would be produced by moist feed stock would maybe drip down the back of the lid when it is opened full and left that way for the amount of time necessary to dump in a bucket of kitchen scraps.

The condensation would be condensed water not worm tea.

Sitting and looking at the nature of vermicompost and flow through systems the design of the hungry bin would seem to be what is needed to get the material to flow.

In the past, before my worm inn system the mouse adores, I used stacked cat litter buckets which are similar to in shape but smaller than hungry bins. The handy snap on cover is flat and holds a whole six pack.

Still if the cat dragged home a worm inn, a hungry bin and a homemade system and left them on the front step I would bring them all in and lock the door to play with them all in peace. :-)

P.S. I do not really own a cat. The mouse is gone.

It would be great fun to Frankenstein together a hungry bin and a worm inn. We could call it the Bin Inn. :-) Or the Bin Laden.

This post was edited by equinoxequinox on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 17:08

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:00PM
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Alright Mooshy, I got an idea. Divert the condensation back into the bin.

Take a flexible piece of plastic, maybe like the material in those cheapo blue tarps, and cut a piece the length of your lid and about 6" wide. You could then attach tis to the inside of the lid on the hinge-side. Maybe use duct tape for the trial run. Let the six inches hang inside the bin by the hinge. In the morning, open your lid partway and prop up with a piece of wood or something. Most of the moisture should run back into the bin in a few minutes. Then fully open the lid if you wish.
It should work, although I agree that for what you spent, this modification should not be needed,

I create all of my worm bins from recycled items or on the cheap. That being said, my bins are beautiful to me but quite ugly and disgusting to MANY others.

Although they are pricey, I like the concept of the hungry bin. They seem too work well, easy harvest, mobile, and no uglier than a trash can.
BTW how hard are these bins to move when full?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:52PM
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Now that, Mendopete, is a great idea, why didn't I think of that.
Moving the bin is relatively easy. It is heavy of course and you need to take care. You wouldn't want to try moving it with one hand like a trash can, but if you use both hands and take care it's easy.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:07AM
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EQ, you mentioned using kitty litter buckets in the past.
Hmmmm I shied away from using them because they are much deeper than they are wide. I figure they would get much too wet at the bottom, or condensed very heavy.
Not much space to bury food either, so I would have to feed a small amount at a time.

I have kitty buckets, I guess I'll never know till I try one to see how I like it. My current square ones from the coffee pub are working well so far.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:50AM
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My suggestion for reducing the amount of condensation would be to put a layer of loose, _dry_ shredded paper and/or cardboard on top, and add food under this layer. Layer could be two to six inches, whatever you need.

What I think will happen is that most of the excess moisture would tend to get absorbed by this layer over time. Worms will likely ignore this layer until it gets wet enough for them, but will eventually consume it like any other bedding. Add whenever needed. It will also tend to reduce the number of flying insects.

I've done this on a regular basis (not on the same type of bin) and it does seem to reduce condensation and e.g. fruit flies. It basically just works as a buffer for moisture and a physical barrier for flies.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:43AM
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Armoured hit the nail on the head.
Extra shreds on top absorbs excess moisture, and is a barrier for fruit flies.

Freezing food is also a killer of fruit fly eggs. I've never had an infestation of flies, as I've frozen my food from day one.

If you have that much moisture that it's dripping onto the floor and getting it wet, I'd be propping the lid open to dry the bin out somewhat.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:18PM
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jasdip, with increasing amounts of the bottom of the bucket cut out for each experiment, I figure the bin was getting air from the top and from the bottom. Eventually I took out all of the bottom and the stuff still did not want to flow. :-) Then an avalanche.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:39PM
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I used to just add a lot of dry cardboard or and shredded paper, seemed to do the trick. Now I just keep my plastic bins full of shredded newsprints hand torn with the grain long strips, its easier to move around that way.

My worms are tearing the food up , two corners are loaded with worms[plastic bin inside] so I have to now add the 3rd corner , but for some reason they are not doing as well in the 360.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:15PM
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What is happening on the hungry bin front? I'm pretty sure it does an excellent job vermicomposting. As does most bins. I only want to know the bad stuff. Does the lid still leak? I would actually take the lid thing as more of a diagnostic tool. If lid leaks add... add dry bedding. But still the lid should leak in to the bin. How is the whole harvest experience? Is the harvest stuck? Does harvesting open a tube of vermocompost all the way to the top and the sides stay?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Agree with Jasdip,,,if moisture is dripping off the bin, it is way too wet.

Drain the food. Open the bin. Get rid of that water. Dripping water means "way too wet".

Don't be all that much afraid of a bin getting a little too dry occasionally. It the worms are uncomfortable, they'll wiggle over to a more pleasant spot. Worms are REAL adaptable.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 9:32PM
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I've got 4 buckets of grade buckets and a large kitty litter bucket. I keep the lids off, the tops are heavily covered with shredded paper.

I've always used a large tote for my worm bin but decided to try smaller buckets. Easier to move around and harvest (I can harvest one bucket at a time, instead of doing one large bin all at once; plus heaving the large bin around is backbreaking.

Anyway, no lid makes for a drier environment.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 10:11AM
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I "like" the no-lid configuration, my only concern is that on occasion when I do something I shouldn't, the worms let me know by trying to escape. Without a lid, they'd "get away" and die.

I "over watered" my bins before going on a 3-week vacation, and wasn't able until recently to get them back in what I consider (like), a "good" moisture level. I had to add A LOT of dry coffee grounds.

I continue to be impressed with the density of the worm bins. Mine are beginning to actually be "heavy". I agree that without regular harvest, they would eventually become a cosmic black hole...


    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 7:52PM
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Ok class,hands to yourself,feet togeather flat on the floor under your desk,today we learn about solar water dstilleries for desert survival. Dig hole in ground,set cup in center of hole then cover hole with plastic sheet. Anchor plastic sheet edges with dirt or stone then drop a pebble in center above cup. Water vapor that is pulled from ground by sun will condense on underside of plastic and drip into cup during the night. Not a great amount of water is in desert soil but the little still proves there is some. Raise moisture content to that considered ideal for worms and it will rain inside the still. From watching the still we know that condensation on lid of our wormery shouldn't always lead us to believe it's grossly over wet inside. If indeed hungry bins (any bin) are found to be overly wet, how about redesighning the lid to drip condensate into a cup? Wanna go a step farther? The slopped lid will probably spill a beer so rig a flexible drain tube from cup through side of bin to a container outside bin.
For what it's worth I share pskvorc's logic about no lid. One mistake and my trifling worms climb the fence to consort with garden worms.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 12:06AM
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A sure sign that the worms aren't totally satisfied with the condo you've arranged for them......except for instances of lightning strikes, earthquakes, nuclear detonations, fires, floods, global warming, or the occasional bream fishing tournament for unemployed and desolate people looking desperately for free bait..... is if you have to keep the door locked.


M, D, P, Hospitality

This post was edited by chuckiebtoo on Mon, Sep 22, 14 at 17:18

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 8:09AM
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That is a gross over-simplification of the "lid on/lid off" concept.

If my "condo" is the "ideal" environment for worms 364 day of the year, but through some "act of nature" - say lightening strikes a transformer on a power pole and the power goes off for 12 hours - and my bin(s) are stressed and the worms decide they can't live in the "ideal" condo and decide to leave, they all die. Period. It has nothing to do with my :"skills" as a wormer or my ability to "provide" for them. EXCEPT that with a lid, whatever stressor is applied - be it my ineptitude or something completely out of my control - a lid allows me the time to address the problem and avoid catastrophe. In my opinion, THAT perspective is the more "considerate" of the worms.

I live in an environment that is closer to 'the edge' than most. One must always have 'back up plans', and contingency plans. Rarely do "things" remain "ideal" for long. I appreciate that when one lives in a more benign environment, it's easy to not concern oneself with contingencies for the surprises that "nature" might bring. 1) All of us don't live in that environment, and 2) the more "skilled" wormer considers catastrophic possibilities and is prepared for them. Maybe when I become the perfect wormer I can have worm bins without lids.

I find it interesting that when I started this endeavor, I didn't have lids on my bins, and all the "experts" advised that I use them, "just in case".


    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 11:30AM
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$14.99 | FRONTGATE
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