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heat problem with composting worms

 
                                  
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Hi folks!  New user to the forum here.  I live in the city and keep a worm bin inside my apartment.  I've had the worms since the winter, and they produced some really nice compost after a few months eating away. 

When the weather got nice I put them out in the backyard, under a shaded awning.  Lately it's been in the 80s and 90s, and my compostables in the upper levels of the system were starting to get quite hot (don't have a specific degree but I'd estimate at 100F or more.. pretty hot to the touch).  I started trying to fix the problem by adding water to the top levels and since then the worms retreated from the upper levels of the composter to the cooler lower levels.  On the lower levels they are burrowed deep and seem to be moving slower than normal.

I now have composting food in the upper levels minus the worms.  I moved the composter back inside (where it isn't all that much cooler) and the top levels are still putting out a lot of heat.  I'm now worried that the whole thing is going into hot compost mode, and that the worms will not want to come back to the upper levels.  Don't really know what else to do to get the temperature down.  I tried dried newspaper, tried moving some of the compostables out of the composter, I even tried adding ice cubes.  Should I just scrap what's in the top levels and start with fresh compostables?

Hoping for some advice here.  Really hoping to be able to make these little guys happy again!

Thanks!
 
                                    
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Hi City Slacker.  I hope your worms are still okay.  I'd remove the food that is heating up asap!  Since the summer hit, it seems almost everything I add to my outdoor bin gets hot. 

What I'm doing this summer is pre-composting all my worm food before it goes in the bins.  Since you live in an apt, you could get a 5 gallon bucket and put your kitchen scraps in there with some paper or whatever you use for bedding.  Let it sit and heat up in there.  When it cools down, then feed the worms.  Be sure to put holes in the bucket to allow air in.
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
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Hi City Slicker,
    The prior suggestion is a good one, but you also need to know worms create warmth also. The more you have, the more the heat they create. That's why it's really important to keep them a bit cooler in the summer. Damp is always good as opposed to "soaked".
 
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