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worms are a bit lethargic  RSS feed

 
laura sharpe
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I bought a thousand worms around halloween. I have them in the basement and expected better performance by them, at this point, i think it is simply a bit chilly down there and although they dont mind working in it, they are a bit slow at it. Anyone have a good way to raise it up a few degrees without worrying about over heating?

My bin is growing a bit, happy spring all . I have no idea what i am growing lol
 
chip sanft
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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How about keeping them upstairs in a closet? We have ours in a closet off the spare room. They don't smell, especially in the winter.
 
laura sharpe
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I have 4 adult sized people in a bit less than 900 square feet. Plenty of room to live in but honestly the out of sight storage space is all but non existent...teens dont share their spaces well. I have another 450 square feet in that basement so seems like the logical place to have my bin. OH i had a thought part of the problem is i am storing thousands of science fiction books in inherited from mom, dont want to put those in the basement. I guess it is time to get rid of them
 
Zach Whisen
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Location: eastern CT
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What kind of bin are you using with your worms? If its a bucket rig they make a brew bucket blanket that holds heat well or a brew heater for buckets only goes to 70 degrees. Terrarium heaters for the tub type will work too. Low cost low power consumption. However you can also wrap the bin in insulation.
 
mary yett
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Location: Manitoulin Island - in the middle of Lake Huron .Mindemoya,Ontario- Canadian zone 5
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I am interested in figuring out why I have so many fruit flies in my worm bin. I started with just a few worms from a friend, so I knew it would take time for their numbers to build. Now there are lots of nice,fat,active worms.

I was afraid I might have been overfeeding the worms, so I tried not feeding them at all for a month.During this period, their numbers continued to gradually increase.They have a very deep, damp torn paper litter layer on top. The room has been cool, but it is warming up now the sun is stronger. The bin is a large plastic tub with lots of air holes and it is raised up on feet with drainage holes.

Any ideas what I can do to reduce the numbers of fruit flies?

 
Ollie Puddlemaker
Posts: 148
Location: Houston, Tesas
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mary yett wrote:I am interested in figuring out why I have so many fruit flies in my worm bin. I started with just a few worms from a friend, so I knew it would take time for their numbers to build. Now there are lots of nice,fat,active worms.

I was afraid I might have been overfeeding the worms, so I tried not feeding them at all for a month.During this period, their numbers continued to gradually increase.They have a very deep, damp torn paper litter layer on top. The room has been cool, but it is warming up now the sun is stronger. The bin is a large plastic tub with lots of air holes and it is raised up on feet with drainage holes.

Any ideas what I can do to reduce the numbers of fruit flies?



Mary - I seem to have noticed that the fruit flies, gnats, fungus flies, vinegar flies all seem to fall pretty much in the same family. And, they all are attracted to the 'goodies' that we feed our worms. The fly eggs are laid in the food matter/soil media whether in the worm bin or your houseplants or any potting materials that you may have brought inside, so it becomes everywhere very quickly, also, seems to have a life cycle of 4 - 5 months. Temperature influence the 'flies' just as it does your worms, when it's cold they won't be so active as when it's warmer. My air holes are only 1/4", I've seen some people have them sized way to big. Lifting your lid frequently, will release many flies into your home, too. I've had varied results with putting DE on the underside of my top lid of my multi-bin wormery, doesn't hurt the worms and I don't put a lot on, (just a few 'puffs' with a powder duster) that can overly harm the beneficial organisms. I've tried yellow materials smeared with Vaseline or something 'sticky' and I've also made some cut & invert plastic water bottle traps and tried various 'baits', still working on finding the best attractant. So, far just a bowl of cut onion and a little bit of water has shown the most promise of all, the onion also cleans the air of other airborne pathogens in your living space that might be related to the cold & flu to you. You just have to keep working at it to improve it...
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I use a three bin system.
The middle bin is where I place the current food scrap for a month. At the end of the month I move this middle bin to the top and cover it with dry shredded newspaper. when this paper gets wet from moisture in the bin around the middle of the month I then add some more shredded newspaper. At the end of the month I move it to the bottom and let it sit for another month at which point it is now finish and I just harvest it and return the empty bin to the middle again.

As long as I keep the top of the bin covered and the flies have no access to food scrap I have no/very little flies.
Also if I dont over feed the worms I dont have a excess moisture/smell/white worm problem.
I have alot of seed that sprout in my top bin, I have been wondering if there is a way to grow something in the side of the bottom bin to use up the extra moisture, so that I can "overfeed" my worm.

Supposedly my bin can hold 5.5lbs of worms in the top bin, 3.5lbs in the middle, and 1lbs in the bottom bin for a total of 10lbs.

I started off with just 1lbs 6months ago, so it is going to take me a while to get to that 10lbs. but once I do, I will be able to just trash the bottom bin and not worry about harvesting the 1lbs of worm. I wonder how long it will take me to get to that 10lbs make? 4 cycles/12 months, the double every 3months, so 3m=2lbs, 6m=4lbs, 9m=8lbs, 12m=10lbs
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
Posts: 148
Location: Houston, Tesas
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S Bengi wrote:I use a three bin system.
The middle bin is where I place the current food scrap for a month. At the end of the month I move this middle bin to the top and cover it with dry shredded newspaper. when this paper gets wet from moisture in the bin around the middle of the month I then add some more shredded newspaper. At the end of the month I move it to the bottom and let it sit for another month at which point it is now finish and I just harvest it and return the empty bin to the middle again.

As long as I keep the top of the bin covered and the flies have no access to food scrap I have no/very little flies.
Also if I dont over feed the worms I dont have a excess moisture/smell/white worm problem.
I have alot of seed that sprout in my top bin, I have been wondering if there is a way to grow something in the side of the bottom bin to use up the extra moisture, so that I can "overfeed" my worm.

Supposedly my bin can hold 5.5lbs of worms in the top bin, 3.5lbs in the middle, and 1lbs in the bottom bin for a total of 10lbs.

I started off with just 1lbs 6months ago, so it is going to take me a while to get to that 10lbs. but once I do, I will be able to just trash the bottom bin and not worry about harvesting the 1lbs of worm. I wonder how long it will take me to get to that 10lbs make? 4 cycles/12 months, the double every 3months, so 3m=2lbs, 6m=4lbs, 9m=8lbs, 12m=10lbs



Does you lower bin collect and hold the leachate for dumping? Is it also supporting your middle bin with risers of some sort and the top bin just resting upon the middle bins contents?
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1357
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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There is a empty "4th bin that collects the Leachate. I try not to create any leachate, if I do that means that I am overfeeding the worms, and If I do I will have tiny white worm overpopulation, flies, and the bins now have too low oxygen levels. I worms can freely move back and froth thru top, middle, and 3rd/bottom bin. They cannot however move to the 4th empty supporting bin, but it does however allow the 3rd bin to drain and for fresh air to reach the bottom of the 3rd/bottom bin.

The few times I have had leachate I have just dumped it into the toilet. I think that leachate is a warning sign and it is full of bad anaerobic bacteria, ones that get plants and human sick vs the good aerobic bugs that the plants prefer. And I suppose that the leachate does have a little mineral dissolved in it but I woould rather keep that in the compost for when I plant something in it.
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
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Location: Houston, Tesas
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This is the setup that I use, too, and I also have learned to minimize the moisture content with a higher dry carbon to better balance the system and ecology...
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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For the superstrom in October, I bought alot of flour products, I did not want to get, all that unhealty stuff so it ended up in the worm bin. That was a big no-no for me. Right now all I really feed them is onion/garlic, kale/collard, squash, carrots, celery, parsnip, spinach/swisschard/beet, pepper/tomatoes and sometimes banana peel + lots of newspaper. I wish I has enough worms to feel them my scraps from the the bean, grain, and rose(fruit) family. I still have to landfill over 80% of my compost-able food,
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
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Location: Houston, Tesas
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S Bengi wrote:For the superstrom in October, I bought alot of flour products, I did not want to get, all that unhealty stuff so it ended up in the worm bin. That was a big no-no for me. Right now all I really feed them is onion/garlic, kale/collard, squash, carrots, celery, parsnip, spinach/swisschard/beet, pepper/tomatoes and sometimes banana peel + lots of newspaper. I wish I has enough worms to feel them my scraps from the the bean, grain, and rose(fruit) family. I still have to landfill over 80% of my compost-able food,



Golly, that is something I didn't know, I thought I'd read somewhere that alliums and peppers, well, maybe it meant hot peppers were all a big 'No-No'... Landfilling so much...all that good, wonderful compostable material would drive me to tears...
 
Zach Whisen
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Location: eastern CT
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When you guys talk about tiny white worms do you mean the threads? The only tiny white worms I'm seeing in my bins are Threads ( baby worms). They are about 1/4" to 1/2" and thread like.
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
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Location: Houston, Tesas
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Zach Whingnut wrote:When you guys talk about tiny white worms do you mean the threads? The only tiny white worms I'm seeing in my bins are Threads ( baby worms). They are about 1/4" to 1/2" and thread like.


The one's I've seen are fatter, segmented and torpedo-shaped and larvae appearing, my worm babies are very slender and pinkish...
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Ollie Puddlemaker wrote:
Golly, that is something I didn't know, I thought I'd read somewhere that alliums and peppers, well, maybe it meant hot peppers were all a big 'No-No'... Landfilling so much...all that good, wonderful compostable material would drive me to tears...


I dont put whole onions/garlic, just whatever scraps that are there while I am cooking, such as the brown dry skin of onions, the stem/seed/heart of sweet peppers etc. I add enough diffent stuff where they can just avoid a particular food and eat somewhere else and come back in say 40day once the particular food scrap has loss it potency.

I want to add more vegetables to my diet and thus to the red worms diet. Hopefully in the next two week I will have started.
 
chip sanft
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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I put all sorts of vegetable-type scraps in my worm bin, including onion stuff. I once even threw a whole onion that had rotted in. It took a long time to disappear but didn't seem to hurt the worms and eventually it too merged into the one.
 
mary yett
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Location: Manitoulin Island - in the middle of Lake Huron .Mindemoya,Ontario- Canadian zone 5
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Thanks for the ideas.

Ollie - does the bowl of chopped onions in water attract the fruit flies that then drown in the water - like fancier fruit fly traps? After doing a bit of research, I wonder if what I actually have are fungus gnats. They also seem to like the flats of newly seeded perennials and the soil around my potted lime tree. I may try some homemade yellow coloured sticky traps. I do try to keep the top 6-8 inches of shredded paper dry-ish and take care to bury fed food scraps under bedding.

S Bengi - I read in sepp holzer's book that he doesn't feed his worms onions because he doesn't think they like them, however, whenever I put in a bit of onion peel/ends, the worms seem to go for them first b4 other items.

 
Ollie Puddlemaker
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Yes, they do drown. I've even gone so far to put 1 or 2 of the inverted water bottle traps in the worm bin with some 'bait'. It will catch the flies there, too...I had to check every few days because the worms would want to crawl in, as well, it would take them a bit to find the trap, because of their blindness, but some always did. I 'fished' out many, before I discontinued it.
 
laura sharpe
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i bought some bacteria on amazon which really cut down on the flying things in the compost i put in there but it doesnt spread to the new stuff well.

I too am guilty of overfeeding my worms i think but what can you do, they do not like the fresh stuff so you really have to have some stuff in there aging

For the remaining fruit flies, I put a container of cider vinegar with a drop of dish detergent on the top and they stay away from the rest of the house, i tried white vinegar and juice and wine but cider works the best.

Now back to my too cool worm bin, i admit it i bought a worm factory, I have more vertical space to stack bins than horizontal. Let me be more direct, I have mats used to sprout seeds, these do not seem to hot to me, can i set one on top of the bin now and then to get them a bit warmer
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
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Laura - Was it the BT (Pond Dunks) that you ordered? I find that putting my 'material' in the freezer and letting it re-thaw speeds up the cellular breakdown and helps the worms out.

I've thought of those mats at times, too, does the Mfg. say anything about what temperature they are rated at? Something else that might work would be the LED rope lights coiled up in some manner, I have known that some people will use them to start seed on top of, too. Seems either could be a good thing.
 
laura sharpe
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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003E7BGTU/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

bacillus thuringiensis bacteria that kills most gnat larvae

freezing sounds like a good idea if i were more upset about the rotting stuff having flies but as long as i can keep them from spreading around the house, i am a happy little camper....one without garbage in the freezer too
 
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