Puzzled About Mites

bob17257(Z6/ S Central PA)November 6, 2009

I've kept worms for many years, and have always accepted the fact that those pesky red mites are a natural part of the worm bin environment. But for about the past year the mites have disappeared. I'm not complaining. I don't miss them. I haven't changed anything - same bins, same bedding material, same food, same temperature range.

'Tis a puzzlement.

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It is probably normal. I have seen mite populations change with no apparent reason.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 12:23PM
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Mine has gone in the opposite direction - from a couple of short term mite attacks in the past 2 years, I am undergoing an attack that has lasted for a month.

Have tried leaving top open at night, letting bin dry out a bit, rinsing top daily (dots all over - I rinse in driveway!)and using my BBQ lighter to burn the dots on the top of the paper! I have water mister bottle handy! But still have a lot of mites.

I have read conflicting reports - that they are bad for my worms and will vampire them to report on redworm composting site that they do no harm.

But it grosses me out when it looks like mites are on the worms

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 10:00AM
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Take a closer look at the activity. Are the mites just consuming a dead or dying worm? My understanding is that they eat decomposing (dead) organic material.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 10:22PM
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Nope, the worms are alive. This summer had been warm - so I'm hoping our winter (haha! I'm in Hawaii) cool will reduce the mite population.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Winter here (AB) does a good job of reducing a lot of critter populations.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 7:49PM
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beth_monsterworms(9 SF East Bay)

Mites like it when the bin is acidic and wet. Try adding some calcium carbonate or crushed egg shells and let the bin dry out some. That will help. You could also put some double-sided sticky tape around the top edge to trap some.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 10:43PM
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In regard to the original post, that certainly is puzzling. I've always got mites. I mean, it is as though they appear in droves in a matter of hours even in new bins. Your climate isn't that different than mine.

I prefer the mites. They break down food that can take a little time to break down.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 9:35AM
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