worm bin heating up but i don't know why

CelbriseOctober 4, 2012

my worm bin which is about only 2 days old is heating up. I have looked up troubleshooting on what it could be but none of it seem to be the cause.

here is what my bin is made with.

shreded cardboard/egg cartons, a burlap sac (thin piece only to cover the top), newspaper, some old vermicompost to get it starting.

i feed on one side only and it's a very light feeding due to the small amount of worms. maybe about 3 pieces of lettuce it was a bit mold but still green and strong.

the bin itself is an old cooler i drilled tons of holes at the top for air.

everything is moist not soaking wet. worms are not crawling out. but yet the bin is heating up. any ideas why this is happening? the bin itself is in my closet 24/7 so it's dark.

it seems like every morning when i open up the bin it's extremely warm i highly doubt it will kill the worms as i looked up they can withstand 90 degrees but again i highly doubt it even gets that high.

any ideas why it's heating up im trying to prevent it from happening usually i just wake up leave the lid open for a few hours then close it and it cools it down but i do get tired of doing this due to potential flies and roaches.

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closet gnomes are to blame. buy a large caliber handgun, shoot holes in the bin to show them you mean business.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Do you have any vents/holes drilled in the side? For hot air to escape from the top, new air as to get in somewhere else. Like a chimney, hot air out the top, cooler air in through the bottom. Or think soffit vents in your house roof

Come to think of it, as you mentioned it's a cooler I assume the bin has insulation? So even though you don't have the usual heat generating foods, maybe with an insulated bin and no side vents to allow warmer air out the top it's enough to build up the heat.

I'd go for lots of side vents. If you're worrying about things escaping you can always tape some mesh on the outside. You can cluster them in a few areas and then cover all at once. Ugly but keeps things in while allowing air through (been there, done that :) ). Considering you can cool it off by removing the lid, I'm thinking the hot air is not circulating out.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Hi Celbrise.

Ventilation is always good. I'm looking for some mesh to cover the top of my bin to reduce moisture a bit.

I think a worm bin will always be slightly warmer than the surrounding air. Microbial decomposition of the bedding will occur naturally with or without worms, or added food, and this process generates a bit of warmth. Hopefully not as much as traditional compost, but some.

When I set up my bin (before I put worms or food in), I let the damp, shredded paper sit for 2 weeks. It was 3 degrees C warmer than the rest of my kitchen.

As you mention, red wrigglers can put up with a bit of heat, so I would not panic if I were you.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 4:25PM
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i do not have side vents as the cooler is EXTREMELY small i wanted to utilize much of it and i though i didn't need it as i had a similar bin with different worms ( burrowing worms from the yard ) that been doing great with only top ventilation. and yes it is insulated so i suspect that is the reason to blame because of the insulation majority of the heat is staying while some escapes on the top due to decomposition via the microbes.

i think i will just leave it and let them do w.e. and HOPEFULLY they do not die.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:42PM
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You can put holes in the sides below the level of the bedding if you like- I did in my bin because I didn't know any better. :) There haven't been any leaks, the bedding sticks together enough that it stays put.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:24AM
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i can no longer put holes because my dad took his drill back :/ but i think it's heating up due to the fact it's a cooler. so it retains some of the heat but the heat can escape at the front so it's not too hot. it's basically like being stuck in a car with the windows up.

the worms don't seem to mind and it's not extremely hot just a little heat they have been doing fine though

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:11PM
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