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Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Posted by auntverm 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 23, 09 at 22:10

My 5-tiered bin has developed a new phenomenon, and none of my books explain it... One of the tiers suddenly has dozens (I don't know, maybe hundreds) of things that are the color and size of fenugreek seeds, and the shape of a lima bean. When you look up close they have faint stripes on them and you almost expect them to move- but they don't.
Anyone seen this before? Should I be concerned?
If it helps to know, yes the bin is too wet right now. Just learned that WF lit was misleading and the leachate is not the worm tea I believed it to be. This probably also explains mites on the top tier, which I've been luring away with bread.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Hello.

I also have a 5 tiered worm factory. I am not sure what you are describing but I am guessing it is a symptom of a wet bin.

I live in a warm humid area and find that with the worm factory it works best to take the lowest level out and turn the whole tower of trays about 20 degrees so they sit up on the edges of the catch tray. This give it much greater airflow and prevents the bottom trays from being "black muck" at harvest time. As you said, the leachate from the spigot is not as advertised and to be honest in a perfectly managed bin there should be no leachate anyway. I soak my shredded paper overnight before wringing out, fluffing up, and adding to the bin. No other water is added. I will add hand shredded cardboard bits dry if I add lots of wet foods like melon rinds.

How long have you had your farm and how many worms did you start with? How many trays are in use now?

Good luck
Mr Ed


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Nasty, nasty having to sign up to post valuable information. I will not do it again. Next time information will not be available to you if I have to register. Guess you will all just miss out. Not my problem. Think about it. Other forums will continue to get the good information you all are missing.

I too had the same issue. Things that are not mites, what ever they are, that are in damp areas of the compost lined up but do not move.

Eventually, maybe after a handfull of leaves, these black skinnier than ant things with black cart body parts behind them came along patroling everywhere. No more none mite things seen except in the never reaches of the bin. The other guys still cruse around free will.

If I have to register and remember a password then it is not worth posting or reading here.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

I somewhat agree with equinoxequinox that I generally would prefer not to have to register but it can give moderators/administrators the ability to remove and prevent posts from people providing links to their commercial interests related or unrelated to the forum.

I'm not that familiar with fenugreek seeds but I googled for some pictures. Do you think these may be cocoons (contain worm eggs)? My best guess based on the description.

BTW a lot of mites does signify a wet bin, they are prolific in very damp conditions but don't look at having some mites as a problem. They are a part of the decomposition process, do no harm to you or the worms and unless you have a really prolific infestation you should not have much problems with them outside the bin.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

I apologise for the tone of my last post. I hope we find out what these non mite things with legs that do not move are. And what their predators are.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

equinox, I don't know of any site which allows you to post without first registering. At least with the garden forum I don't get alot of spam.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

auntverm: any chance you can get a picture? imgur.com is a good simple place to post a photo if you can. How large is fenugreek seed? From what I see online, looks like slightly smaller than short-grain rice?

As rom.calgary suggested, worm cocoons/eggs are a possibility. Check these photos of red wiggler worm eggs/cocoons on my blog to see if that might be a match.

equinoxequinox: It's simply not possible to run a valid forum these days without requiring users to register before posting. Otherwise, you get nothing but SPAM. If you feel strongly about it, contact the site owners/moderators directly. Please don't change the topic of someone else's thread to complain about an issue which other users have no control over.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://vermontworms.com/red-wiggler-eggs-compost-worm-eggs/


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

To equinox's credit I've seen blogs & news forums where they only ask that you ask you to input an onscreen verification to prove you're human and not a bot. This method works well for spam bots but doesn't prevent people from posting a link to animal porn or their new salad shooter. Also, people behave themselves if they know their user account could get terminated.

Back to auntverm's post; are you able to provide a photo? I'm sure someone here has seen what you're talking about.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Good idea to get a photo, guys, thanks. I realize I should have said they are definitely NOT worm cocoons- I am very familiar with them. I'll try to get a good shot shortly.Trying to think of other descriptors since not everyone knows fenugreek... how about small lentils? They are the SIZE of small lentils, the SHAPE of lima beans, and LOOK like wee little slugs only they don't move and I'm not even sure they are creatures. The bin is way wet, I start with coconut coir which is not too wet but the bottom tray has a layer of "fabric" of sorts which is there because I keep finding scores of worms in the drip tray otherwise. Ideas?


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

"nasty having to sign up to post valuable information. I will not do it again. Next time information will not be available to you if I have to register. Guess you will all just miss out. Not my problem. Think about it. Other forums will continue to get the good information you all are missing."

What valuable information?


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

As I sit tearing up paper to add to the bin to wick away the excess moisture, I am still haunted by the question of what to do about the bottom tray: It is WAY wet. There is a piece of mesh fabric (actually, it's the bag they were shipped in, torn open to make a flat piece) on the very bottom of it, which I was advised to put there to prevent the worms from going into the drip tray and drowning there (this happened repeatedly). Now I am realizing, that bag may not have been awfully permeable to water - so it may be holding too much in. SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: WHAT DO I DO INSTEAD, TO STOP THE DARLINGS FROM CRUISING DOWNSTREAM INTO THE DRIPTRAY?


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

People have had some success with landscape fabric (any cloth that blocks worms but allows moisture through) between the collection tray and the bottom worm tray. You probably want enough material that it comes up through the sides so that all access to the bottom is blocked.

Myself, I just lift it up every other day or so and scoop them back into my working tray. If you can get the moisture under control they shouldn't drown if down there for a day or two.

Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water (around 80% of the volume is water). Unless you're watering your bin (I wouldn't but there is a lot of debate on this) all moisture should be coming from there. Shredded up corrugated cardboard (my opinion) does a better job of soaking up moisture. If it's really wet try putting some down there rather than on top.

When you set up your WF did you use coir for bedding? Remember how much water it soaked up when preparing it? As a drastic measure you could try breaking up a handful or so and putting it in the bottom dry. I haven't tried this but that should definitely soak up a lot of moisture.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

I have succeeded in getting pictures of these bizarre new visitors to my wormbin. I put a dime in some of the pics for size comparison. Any help identifying these and what to do about them is most welcome. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Critters in My Bin


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Do they move? Have legs? Because my first guess would be that they are not critters. I would think that a critter infestation would have creatures of similar size and shape as well. From the photo I would guess that they are seeds of some sort that got dehydrated and then re-hydrated by the moisture in your bin ... unless they were wriggling around.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

To me these look like seeds. Can you remember what you put into the bin to think about their seeds. Or maybe you can take one out and try to sprout it between a damp paper towel?


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Probably don't need the damp paper towel to make it sprout. I had a "forgotten" corn cob (uncooked) in the back of the fridge that was no longer tasty looking. I cut it up and buried it in a corner of my bin. About a week later I had sprouts growing out of the corn cob pieces in my bin.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Yeah, I can agree that they look like seeds. But they appeared in a zone that has not been fed recently, and do not look like the seeds of anything we eat. And though we do see a lot of sproting things,these have not changed since first discovered more than 2 weeks ago. Perhaps I will try the paper towel method and see if anything sprouts.
In terms of the bottom tray, I like the mention of landscape cloth, though I thought what I was using was pretty similar (the bag the worms were shipped in, torn open to fit the bottom and go up the sides). I switched it out because I thought maybe the cloth was retaining too much moisture (though we get about 2 tablespoons a day of leachate). I swiched it to a layer of brown paper in the hopes of drying it out some (I also put cardboard strips along the edges). I hesitate to add a lot of new dry material (more coir or paper) because this particular bin is full of very nice compost that we are eager to use as the early crops on the farm dwindle and we prepare for late plantings... but we can't get the worms to leave! They LOVE it and there are millions of babies. We tried feeding only in the trays above, but they don't seem interested in leaving. We use a five-tiered system with a sloping roof (Guasanito?). Presently four trays are in use, with the majority of the worms in the bottom two bins though we are trying to coax them up so we can harvest. Mr Ed asked how many; The first time (Feb) we had 2 pounds but then had to leave town on an emergency and the neighbor followed WF's instructions and gave them 1/2 cup of food every day. They all died, leaving legions of babies. We got another 2 pounds in April, 1/3 of which were DOA. WF offered to replace the whole 2 lb but I just asked for one. About 3/4 of them are still with us, I'd say. Parts of the bin are squirmy bundles of wormage, and others more scarce. Babies are everywhere.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Aunt Verm,

If babies are everywhere then you are doing something right. I think if you dry the bin out a bit, stop pulling the trays apart to look (I know its hard not to), and only feed from the top your herd will start to migrate in a month or two leaving the bottom tray ready to harvest.

Have you tried my suggestion of taking the trays out of the base and turning the tower slightly? That is the only way I was finally able to keep my trays from being wet muck. I do not use landscapping cloth and now because the catch tray is almost always dry I never have to scrap worms from it. If you don't know what I mean by this I can try to post a picture of my bin.

Also, in my 5 tier bin I keep one of the trays on top full of dry shredder newspaper and rotate through the 4 other trays. I started with about 2 lbs of worms and could not harvest anything from my farm for the first six months as it was a mucky mess. Now since I got the wetness under control I can harvest a tray every 2 months and usually find very few worms in the bottom tray when I do harvest it.

It is hard be be patient and let the worms do their thing,

Cheers,
Mr Ed


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Yes, Mr Ed, could you post a picture of your set up? As I visual this, I quickly see how this would improve airflow, which, of course, is the most common problem coupled with overfeeding.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Folly,

I hope this picture link will work. All I did was pick up all the trays and turn it 30 degrees on the base. It no longer nests into the bottom with the spigot but sits on the edges. Simple and effective.

Here is a link that might be useful: Worm bin pic


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Seeds sprout very well in a worm bin, so I doubt if you'd need to put them in a paper towel.

My guess is that they're the pupal stage of some kind of insect.

Deanna


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Ah yes, mr ed. "Simple and effective."


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Looking at the photos it looks like seeds to me too.

In fact it looks like the seeds i get in my bin when I've add 12 grain bread. The bread gets ate but some of the grains mixed into the dough are still whole. The protective shell is unbroken on them and they are very slow to break down.

If this is where they are from they have been cooked and wont sprout.


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RE: Peculiar New Addition to Wormbin

Auntverm, did you figure out what those things are in your bin?

Deanna


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