worms clumbing up is this natural

CelbriseOctober 11, 2012

for the past week since i had my first worm bin i been watching them from time to time just to make sure they are not dead or not crawling out and well today i actually caught one trying to crawl out then another baby one. so i thought oh it's still new so didn't worry about it.

later on turned my bin to see how the contents were doing and it smells like crap idk if it was the food rotting in their or it was anaerobic. their is only holes at the top and not a lot either maybe about 15-20 only their pretty big not sure what size bit.

anyways i was wondering 2 things.

1. when i look at my worms i often see them clumped up in the corners of the bin and also when i was turning the bedding their were a mass of them in the corners. i was wondering why? their not dead or trying to escape their all just in the corners some are around the bin in various places but majority of the rest are in the corners as if they are having sex. but this isn't the first time i seen them their it's every single day.

2. do you think my bin is going anaerobic? the bottom half. moisture level was good not too wet, their were worms are the bottom still alive, but the smell.. idk if i can call it anaerobic or if it just smelled bad due to rotting food. anyone with more experience can help me with this?

it's a cooler thats insulated with metal and those packing foam. i removed the foam and some of the metal to allow more air flow and also was thinking of drilling out a big hole at the top and screening it to allow MORE air in but then again my worms are in the bin and i been knocking it up so i didn't want to stress them out more.

any ideas/thoughts?

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sbryce_gw

1) In general it is hard to say, but I am guessing from your description of the bin that the worms are trying to avoid the rest of the bin. Worms will congregate in the corner of the bin for no other reason than they like it there, or they will congregate in the corners because they don't want to be anywhere else in the bin.

2) From your description of the smell, I would guess that you are over feeding. Stop feeding the worms for at least two weeks. Wait until you can no longer see any signs of the food, or smell any sign of decomposition. And for the sake of your worms, please, stop feeding them the putrefied slop that has been sitting in a bucket for two weeks. Your food has gone anaerobic before you even put in the bin.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:32AM
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Celbrise

they really don't seem to mind the food that i give them. their is still mold growing on it and decomposing as well. but yes i do think i am overfeeding so i stopped feeding them and if they don't continue to eat within 3 weeks i will stop feeding the slop and just add fresh food and let it decay in the bin.

they are new so i don't expect them to eat right away but i highly doubt it is the slop that is causing a problem for the worms besides quantity.

when i turned my bin it seemed they have all been on the bottom portion eating away that stuff most of the bottom part is all castings. as for why they are clumping up i still don't know but they seem more adventurous now trying to climb up in 1 corner alone and it's not alot of worms maybe like 5. i think they are matting since the rest are all still in the bin doing w.e.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:41PM
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GreenIvy

I have been looking for some good info on wriggler behaviour, haven't found much on google. (Except the paper that showed worms have leaders! And they like to clump up.) I'll check the university but I doubt there's going to be much.

If the smell is like rotten eggs, or nail polish remover, or window cleaner, that's bad. My anaerobic bin smelled like sulphur with a slight whiff of acetone.

I may still be doing something wrong, but I always get a slight moldy/rot smell when I dig around the bin.

Ivy

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:48PM
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PeterK2

I find worms like the edges, even in a worm inn. They also seem to like the top when I cover with a bit of VC. Might be just because those areas get the most air the worms are happiest there (either they like the air or the bacteria they eat like it).

For smells, it is rotting food so it's going to smell of something. It's the sharp smells I'd keep an eye on. Yeasty, alcoholic, sour etc. If you get one in a small area, not a huge problem. I can get this with a cluster of fruit or some bread. It's when it's everywhere there's a problem.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:49PM
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Celbrise

since i started turning the bin that day the worms still clump up but they seem to be more adventurous now i see a lot crawling around in the middle areas.

the rotting smell not sure if it is just food or not but since the worms are still at the bottom at least a good handlful i don't think it is going anaerobic

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:02AM
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merrygardener(z8olywa)

I'd add lots of ripped up egg cartons. That ought to make them happy!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:44PM
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mendopete

I would keep adding bedding until I could not see the sides of the bin. Then don't look or add anything for 2 weeks. When you check them again they will be thriving..... Patience!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:40AM
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socalhugh

I have two bins, one wood and one plastic tub. I never get climbers in the wood but its pretty frequent in the plastic tub-- in fact that is what made me find this forum. My best hypothesis is that it is an oxygen shortage. My tub has a pretty tight fitting lid and just a number of small drilled holes drilled in the top. The moisture likely obstructs airflow and my brewing experience tells me that yeasts (inevitably present in food compost) use a lot of oxygen to reproduce. I'm gonna drill some bigger holes and find a big wooden chest asap.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:24PM
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Celbrise

i removed the top of my bin, added more bedding, adding some carpet at the top to keep in moisture and also keep it dark and they all seem to be doing great. not in clumps now a days unless it deals with feeding

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Mooshy

stop feeding, add more bedding and mix it through. Remember that a bin that smells unpleasant is not a healthy bin. Bedding, bedding and more bedding. Don't feed until you see no evidence of any food and the smell is gone.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:24AM
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equinoxequinox

and Timing is Everything. :-)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:15AM
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