swarming

colin3April 27, 2012

Maybe swarming isn't the right word, but I'm puzzled that in one of my two Worm Factory tray stacks, for the past several days there have been great writhing worm clumps in all four corners, the size of my fist. It's not hot, and they're not trying to escape - I know what that looks like. They seem happy enough, actually, but I'm curious because I've never seen this kind of massing before. Any ideas?

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Karchita(WA Z8)

They ought to look happy. It's an orgy. :-)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 2:24AM
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colin3

You'd think they'd get tired after a couple days.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 2:47PM
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equinoxequinox

I do not know what it is. It is spring. Maybe moisture is low and they are trying to save it. Maybe add water and bedding and a sprinkle of oatmeal to the middle. I am not sure why I suggest that. On the other hand they seem to be self harvesting. Mabye soom they will lay a lot of eggs. Grab the four handfulls and start a new bin. Let the old one age a bit and it is harvested. What did you feed in four corners?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 3:50PM
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colin3

Thanks! I just tried a little more water. For a couple months while I renovated the kitchen they got mainly cardboard and coffee grounds, and coffee grounds can get dry. Regular feeding resumed last week. Funny part is, I run the two bin-stacks roughly in parallel, and one is behaving normally, while the other has, still today, these thick masses of worms close to the top, writhing so vigorously that you can *hear* them a couple feet away.

I did put some ginger paste in a few days ago. Could that have gotten them excited?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 11:08PM
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equinoxequinox

Those worms are obviously way upset they are not in the Mary Ann bin.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:14AM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

I wonder if the writhing is pain or discomfort? Ginger is pretty sharp.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:13PM
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equinoxequinox

I wonder if he grabbed the worms and put them in the other bin? Would they be happy then?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 1:48AM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

How much paste? In how much of the bin?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 6:31AM
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colin3

I now think the cause was heat from the middle of the bin -- specifically, a batch of potato peels in the very center that took off like a nuclear reactor, producing both heat and dryness. That explains why worms went to the relatively open corners. There are typically an awful lot of worms feeding in that top tray, and if you drive them out of, say, half of it the resulting concentrations are truly impressive. All back to normal now.

A good lesson to poke around a bit and notice changes in temperature and dryness in different parts of a bin.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 7:14PM
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