Separating / Harvesting Worm Cocoons (other than hand-picking)

wormy_acresJuly 10, 2009

Howdy, I've been vermicomposting at home for years, and doing it as a small business for about a year now. I've recently begun harvesting worms/castings with a rotary screen harvester I built (huge improvement to other methods).

Now I'm wondering how people separate cocoons from castings on a commercial scale? For the home bin, you can simply pick them out of the finished castings. At a larger scale, that's clearly not practical. I find that a 1/8th inch screen screen catches something around 50% of cocoons, but many fall through.

Is the solution just a more precise screen size (3/32nds of an inch)? I'm not finding much online -- wondering if this is somewhat of a trade secret for folks, or just not much discussed because it's not something the home worm keeper needs to do.

(And, yes, I could just wait for the eggs in the harvested castings to hatch, and then harvest them -- but I'm wondering how places that sell worm cocoons do it.)

Thanks,

Jase

http://vermontworms.com/

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lkittle(6)

Hi wormy acres; If you use a water bath the cocoons will float if they are viable(missed baby worms also). You loose the castingc that they came out of, but you could make tea from it and spray it on your lawn and the other plants you have. You might even make AVCT (Aireated Vermi Cast Tea)and sell it locally after you get all you need for yourself.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:53AM
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joe.jr317

Maybe I do something wrong, but viable cocoons sink when I've tried that. The only ones to not sink are the ones that are empty.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 9:14AM
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lkittle(6)

Hi All! Either way float or sink they are seperated and can be scooped out or the castings pored off and rinsed again until they are fairly clean water doesn't hurt them.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 6:50AM
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joe.jr317

Didn't think of that. How did I not? Seems so obvious. Since the cocoons didn't float I just went straight to making tea. After that I just kept with screening and sorting. Not selling cocoons, so I wasn't too worried about cocoons ending up mixed in with the compost mulch on the garden.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:52AM
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susanfromhawaii

I'll bet a sieve would help in the rinsing process.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 4:24PM
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