Pot worms and over feeding

Drewet88(9 SF Bay Area)July 25, 2013

I suddenly have a small amount of what I believe to be pot worms and I'm sure it's because I overestimated the speed the worms would work on potato peels. When I checked today there was a small amount of pot worms inside the worm bin moving throughout the potato peels.

My worms do not seem to care about the pot worms but I still took out the potato peelings for now and left 1 piece of moldy bread. When I gave the worms the peelings I put them inside of a paper bag, then I put a handful of shredded moist paper inside the bag, then I buried it inside the corner of the bin. Could that be the reason pot worms appeared or was it just to much food?

I'm glad I decided to check on it even though I had just looked in there a couple days ago, it's been less than 2 months and I already almost killed them. I'm debating a second bin now just in case something happens to one.

O. I also have plenty of pumpkin plants sprouting inside my worm bin, it was funny at first but now I want it to stop lol. I saved 20 pumpkin plants before I decided that I may have to many.

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Not sure what a pot worm is but would imagine it is a larvae of some sort that will likely turn into some sort of flying creature. As I recall you have a modest sized worm herd maybe a few hundred or so. At any rate over feeding is always a concern in order to maintain the healthy conditions within your bin. Under feeding not so much as they will always have bedding to eat. When I add kitchen scraps to my bin I add a hand full or so to a corner mix it in some and cover with moist shredded paper. Allow 3 days to make sure the worms are in the area of the food. Before feeding again make sure the food is mostly consumed then feed a different corner. I would say it would be a once a week thing to start. I have had to modify my feeding and food types as I live along the S.E. Texas Gulf Coast area and the other critters were just getting to be a little too much. Not that they are bad for the worms they were darn sure bothering me. You had mentioned you may start another bin. If you are so inclined I would suggest getting two of the 18 gal. totes you can get for 8 bucks apiece. Near as I can tell they work as well as anything you can buy comercially and there is a buttload of ideas on setting them up here and on other sites. You can do it with one tote I just like having one inside the other. TC and good luck Bill

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 3:57PM
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I don't know where they come from or how they got into the bins but pot worms are almost always present, more noticeable when feeding/overfeeding starchy stuff, like potato peels and bread. In my bins, the worms seem to be OK with the presence of potworms. Not so with spring tails, worms stay deeper below and they do not seem to multiply much. I guess the worms' instinct kicked in reporting unfavourable condition and abstinance as a result, lol.

petrock1963: potworm is a worm, looks like a baby red wiggler except it's white instead of pinkish.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pot Worms

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 7:41PM
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Thanks thanks Otis i think I may have seen some at one point in my experience. I think I was envisioning something like a maggot.

Hey thanks Otis took a look the link, the pot worms themselves dont seem all that bad.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 9:21PM
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Drewet88(9 SF Bay Area)

Thanks for the help. Luckily i pulled out the extra food before it caused any real damage.I figured it was from to many potato peels and over feeding.

I bought another 500 worms (efs) so I can have a full pound but I'm going to wait on starting another bin until I have a little more knowledge on the subject. Now my bin has close to 1000 EFs hopefully and 30+ EHs.

HHMMM... Now I'm thinking of starting a smaller bin and separating the EHs, eventually it would become a nice population if I don't do something wrong.

What size bin should I make for that small of a colony?


This post was edited by Drewet88 on Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 23:41

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:31PM
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A 3 gal. would do nicely.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Drewet88(9 SF Bay Area)

Ok so I'm going to get a small Rubbermaid tote or something similar and make a mini bin. The hardest part is going to be trying to pull out the 30 EHs from the EFs.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 5:45PM
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You might be able to get 3 gal. buckets from an ice-cream or juice store. That's what bulk ice-cream, sorbet, yoghurt and the like are stored and shipped in. They might just give them to you rather than putting them in the recycling bin.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 1:52AM
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Drewet88(9 SF Bay Area)

Wish I would've read your posts on free buckets, didn't check it until I came back from buying a 3 gal tote but it was cheap. I already set it up and will see how many of my EHs I can hopefully find and transfer over.

It's only filled with 6in of bedding so far, but I'll add another inch or two after I see how many I can find.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 4:11AM
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Drewett88, next best thing to free is cheap. So, you're still OK, lol.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Drewet88(9 SF Bay Area)

Yep!! Thanks again for all your help.

Cheap is nice, free is better but ill consider all of it a learning experience.
I was able to find about 15-20 EHs hopefully that's enough to start my EH/observation bin.

I only gave them a piece of lettuce and half an egg shell, with the small amount of worms I have I dont think ill have to feed again for a while.

I keep my main bin outside right by the backdoor, I'm going to keep this mini bin in my room so I can hopefully stop wanting to check on my main bin.

So I guess my outside bin is my vermicomposting bin and my indoor bin is for vermiculture.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:44PM
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"So I guess my outside bin is my vermicomposting bin and my indoor bin is for vermiculture."

Love the sentence for some reason. Not sure why.

Some posters feel poking or prodding worms in order to view their activities is not ok. I feel as long as one is not twisting or stretching them it is fine. A single stick or a tri prong grasper might help move material to see how the worms are doing and what they might need soon.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:04AM
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Drewet88(9 SF Bay Area)

I am guilty of bothering my worms more often if I should but they're surprisingly interesting. I'm sure I annoying my dog, fish and turtles too but I have a problem with making sure my pets are ok.

When I do check on my bins I just gently pull back the paper over their food and see how much is left and make sure the food isnt heating up the bin. It hasnt been long and im already seeing lots of castings, Im sure if i left them alon. I try not to physically touch the worms unless I have too.
Equinox I dont really know why but I like that sentence too. I almost deleted it right before I submitted the posting but it felt like it needed to be said. Lol.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:45AM
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Drewet88(9 SF Bay Area)

Quick question and update.

I added a frozen doughnut to my large bin, should I have thawed it out first?

Both bins seem to be doing well. I think the larger bin is happy that I've stopped bothering them constantly and the smaller bin is happy but it does seem to dry out easily so I check its moisture every 2 days.

The lettuce in the small bin disappeared quickly so I put 1 blueberry in its place and hopefully the worms are loving it. (Promised myself I wouldn't check them today so I'm unsure if its gone or not.)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 5:19PM
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""should I have thawed it out first?"" -- Nah..It will defrost in the bin fast enough.
If we were in the middle of winter, then: yes.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:30AM
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It looks like the small white worms in my outdoor bin are potworms. From what I see in this post it appears that overfeeding starches and possibly too much moisture are providing them with a good environment.

Do they do any harm to red worms, and/or do they do much good? If they're just eating food that the reds can't get around to eating, it seems that they'd be a positive element -- at least until time to harvest the castings. Then the castings must be left in the sun for several days after removing the reds to kill all the white potworms before use in the garden.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:15AM
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White worms themselves are completely harmless in a worm bin, but they may be an indication that you are overfeeding, or perhaps adding too much acidic waste. They also seem to appear when a lot of starchy waste has been added. Try to optimize the food you put in the bin in ways that it's easier for your worms to eat eg. freezing first. and, or, cutting the food into much smaller pieces. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 5:39PM
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What does EFs and EHs mean?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 1:05AM
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Quinna, they are the short-form of their Latin names.

EF is Eisenia Foetida (red wrigglers) and EH is E. hortensis or the European Nightcrawler

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Mooshy: adding shredded newspaper helped reducing potworms in my bin.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 4:30PM
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Fantastic, well done. We sometimes overlook the fundamentals, but through trial and error we succeed.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 10:11PM
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