Ronnie Ugulano wrote:Congratulations! It's always exciting to start a new worm farm!
Worms take a while to get settled into a new home, so this isn't unusual. The best thing you could do is leave the top off (if any) and turn on a light above it. The worms hate light and will dive beneath the surface, and stay put. As they make the bin their own, they'll stop wanting to jump ship.
What are you using for bedding, besides cardboard?
Ronnie Ugulano wrote:OK, I looked at what you bought for bedding. I'm not familiar with that product, so I can't really comment on it specifically, but I would like to point out that it is not necessary to use a purchased product for bedding. You can use many things that are free for worm bedding, including leaves, paper, sawdust, and shredded cardboard.
On the page of the bedding you purchased, one of the users mentioned that s/he "changed the bedding every 6 weeks". That is absolutely unnecessary. Since you have only 500 worms or so to start with, you can easily go a couple of years on the bedding you started with. The worms will multiply on what's there in that particular bedding (it says it contains food), then, just add leftover bits from the kitchen, such as banana peels, toast ends and other biodegradable garbage to keep it going.
I really haven't "changed the bedding" with my worms in several years. When I do, I usually take about half of the well-used compost from a bin and apply it to my plants, then throw some more leaves/sawdust, what-have-you into the bin, and then go again.
Kyle Neath wrote:Worms love cardboard. It's one of their favorite places to hang out, I wouldn't worry at all about them not digging down, especially at first. As Ronnie said, worms usually take a while to get used to a new home, although a better way to describe it is that it usually takes a new home a little while to get used to the worms. Worms don't actually eat food, they eat the microorganisms that decompose organic matter. When you start a new worm bin, it's usually just bedding and food. So you'll need to wait a little while (2 weeks or so) for the microorganisms that came along with your worms to work their way through the bin and break down the organic material, at which point the worms will start moving toward the food sources.
I'll also echo Ronnie's other suggestion — in the future, just use cardboard / leaves / paper for bedding. Bedding isn't anything special, it's just a brown material (to balance out your "green" food scraps) that's a safe place for worms to go when other areas of the bin are unhospitable. Corrugated cardboard is possibly the best bedding you could ever use for composting worms. Rip it into pieces about the size of your palm and mix it in generously with every feeding. The glue provides a food source, the paper a source of bedding, and the spaces in between the cardboard layers provide them a nice, moist hiding place. Because worms are eating the microorganisms and not the food itself, they end up "eating" the bedding over time. The bedding and the food both get processed by the worms to produce vermicompost. There's no need to change your current bedding either, it will work fine.
Just try not to overfeed in these early times for your bin and things will be fine. Worms are resilient little beings. If they try and escape in large numbers, take the top off so the light forces them down. Good luck! I've found tremendous enjoyment from my worms, even if it did take me the better part of a year to stop worrying about them so much. Turns out worms love neglect most of all.
Do you both think that the worms would be happy and healthy with an all cardboard diet?