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Worm Compost Bin Troubleshooting

Updated on June 17, 2011

Need Help With Your Red Wiggler Worm Compost Bin?

Worm compost bins typically don't require much maintaining, but you do need to make sure the Red Wiggler worms have an environment that will allow them to flourish. If you have the proper temperature range, moisture and food content in your worm compost bin...you will have happy worms. This lens will take a look at the most common problems you may encounter with your worm compost bin, and most importantly how to fix them!

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Most Common Worm Compost Bin Problems

See below for how to deal with these problems...

  • ~ Worm compost bin smells bad
  • ~ Worm compost bin attracts flies
  • ~ Red Wiggler worms are dying
  • ~ Worms crawling out of compost bin
  • ~ Mold forming in worm compost bin
  • ~ Bedding drying out in worm compost bin
  • ~ Water collecting in bottom of worm compost bin
  • ~ Mites in worm compost bin

Worm Compost Bin Smells Bad

CAUSES

SOLUTIONS

Over feeding

Stop feeding for 2 weeks

Non-compostables present

Remove non-compostables

Food scraps exposed

Bury food completely

Bin too wet

Mix in dry bedding; leave lid off

Not enough air

Fluff bedding


Worm Compost Bin Attracts Flies

CAUSES

SOLUTIONS

Food scraps exposed

Bury food completely

Too much food; especially citrus

Don't overfeed worms


Red Wiggler Worms Are Dying

Click HERE to buy Red Wiggler Worms

CAUSES

SOLUTIONS

Bin too wet

Mix in dry bedding; leave lid off

Bin too dry

Thoroughly dampen bedding

Extreme temperatures

Keep temperature between 55 & 77°F

Not enough air

Fluff bedding

Not enough food

Add more bedding and food scraps


Worms Crawling Out of Bin

CAUSES

SOLUTIONS

Bin conditions not right

See solutions above; Leave lid off


Mold Forming in Worm Compost Bin

CAUSES

SOLUTIONS

Conditions too acidic

Cut back on citrus fruits


Bedding Drying Out

CAUSES

SOLUTIONS

Too much ventilation

Dampen bedding; keep lid on


Water Collecting in Bottom of Worm Compost Bin

CAUSES

SOLUTIONS

Poor ventilation

Keep lid off a few days; Add dry bedding

Feeding too much watery scraps

Less coffee grounds & watery food scraps


Mites in Worm Compost Bin

Although earthworms have few natural enemies, insects are attracted to worm beds because they provide a moist, organic environment. If worm beds are not cared for properly, acidity can build up and create conditions that allow worms' natural enemies to thrive. Mites in particular are attracted to an acidic, moist environment. Although small populations of mites reside in all worm beds, under certain conditions mites can reach very high levels and cause problems.

Mite Prevention

~ Too much water: Beds that are too wet create conditions that are more favorable to mites than worms. Avoid excessively wet beds by adjusting watering schedules, improving drainage, and turning bedding frequently.

~ Overfeeding: Too much food can cause an accumulation of fermented feed in worm beds and lower the pH of the beds. Adjust feeding schedules so that all feed is consumed within a few days. Modify feeding schedules as the seasons (and temperatures) change because worms consume less food in colder temperatures. Maintain beds around a neutral pH 7; use calcium carbonate to adjust the pH level.

~ Excessively wet or fleshy feed: Vegetables with high moisture content can cause high mite populations in worm beds. Limit the use of such feed, and if high mite populations are discovered, discontinue the use of this feed until mite populations are under control.

Mite Removal

Several methods have been suggested for removing mites from earthworm beds. Bear in mind that any type of mite removal will only be temporary unless worm bed management is altered to make conditions less favorable for mites. The following techniques range from low- to high-intensity measures.

~ Method #1: Uncover the worm beds and expose them to sunlight for several hours. Reduce the amount of water and feed. Mites will not like this environment and they may leave the worm beds.

~ Method #2: Place moistened newspapers or burlap bags on top of the beds, and remove the paper or bags as mites accumulate on them. Repeat this procedure until mite populations are substantially reduced.

~ Method #3: Place pieces of watermelon or cantaloupe rind or potato slices on top of the worm beds. Mites are attracted to the sweetness of the rinds or peels, and will accumulate on them. The rinds or peels can then be removed and dropped in water or buried.

Hello and thank you for stopping by my lens. Have you tried composting with worms? If so, do you have any information you'd like to share? Questions and comments are always welcome.

Stop By & Say Hi

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Melon rinds can be used to combat a mite problem. keep the rinds flesh side down but keep it accessible on the top because the mites and larvae will migrate to the melon and after the bin is clear of the mites, pick out the rind which is now full of mites and larvae and dispose of separately.

    • SallyCin profile image
      Author

      SallyCin 7 years ago

      @anonymous: It is best to bury all food scraps. This way you can avoid fruit flies and other pests.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      should mellon rinds be buried or placed on top of bin

    • SallyCin profile image
      Author

      SallyCin 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi, Thanks for your comment. You want to make sure your worm bedding is moist to begin with. Soak the bedding and then wring it out like a damp sponge. Food scraps should also be this moist. After adding everything to the worm compost bin, place a few pieces of newspaper that are moist on top of the whole area of the bin. This should help keep it moist. If you are using a worm composter outside, I'd suggest getting a Worm Factory, they are small enough to keep inside your house or even garage. Hope this helps. Happy Composting! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I tried composting with worms a few years ago, and I didn't have much luck. I live in Phoenix, and the air here is so dry. I couldn't seem to keep the bin wet enough for the worms. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • SallyCin profile image
      Author

      SallyCin 7 years ago

      @GonnaFly: It's quite easy and a great educational tool. Many schools have their own worm bins to teach kids about the environment.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      I have only ever tried ordinary composting, but with all this information, I should probably give worm composting a go....