Worm Composting Invasion-Useful and Harmful Creatures Within the Bin

Worm composting is ideal for anyone who does not have a backyard or those who simply dislike maintaining a backyard compost bin. Red wigglers are used in the worm bin where they work on organic waste material. Vermicomposting or composting with red worms is widely used since it requires less labor and requires a little space. Furthermore, it generates good quality compost that provides high amount of nutrients for indoor plants or outdoor garden. The compost bin can be set either indoors or outdoors. The worm bin is designed for the worms only but do not be surprised when you notice other invaders roaming around as well. Many macro and micro-organisms co-exist with the worms in the bin. Some are parasitical and others are beneficial to the worms and the composting process.

Beneficial Organisms

Some of the beneficial organisms in a typical worm bin include the following;

  • Protzoa
  • Aerobic bacteria
  • Beneficial nematodes
  • Fungi and molds
  • Springtails
  • Pot worms
  • Gnats and gnat larvae
  • Millipedes

Harmful Organisms

Some of the creatures that have a harmful effect on the red worms and the vermicompost include the following;

  • Aerobic bacteria-poor drainage and clogged bin bottoms are the major causes of aerobic bacteria buildup. Too much moisture within the bin affects the worms negatively rendering them inefficient in working on the waste material. This results in smelly compost bins.
  • Centipedes-these are a common headache in any worm farm. They are predatory in nature and such should be removed from the bin.
  • Fruit flies-these are a common problem in worm bins. They usually show up when there is too much nitrogen-rich material in the worm bin. Some of these include; banana peels, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
  • Flatworms-these are a common problem in wormeries. They are parasitic in nature and will compete with the beneficial red worm for nutrients and space. Remove and destroy the flatworms.
  • Ants-they are a common problem in dry worm bins since they dislike wet conditions. The ants feed on the worms and if not eliminated will end up destroying all the worms. Moisten the bedding and the ants will leave.
  • Mites-when mite population increases within the bin. Worms can no longer live leading to death. The tiny reddish to brown mite is the most common in the worm bin. They can be seen roaming within the bin.
  • Slugs and snails-these creatures are quite disgusting if you land on one while working on the bin without gloves. They are drawn by organic waste within moist conditions. They may also be hidden in the bedding such as grass, leaves, and many others when it is introduced to the bin.

Once you have decided to begin worm composting then it is your responsibility to ensure that the worms live in a healthy and comfortable environment. Worm invaders will compete with the worms for space and food. If not controlled early enough, these unwelcome creatures might end up taking over the bin. Predatory and parasitic creatures should be removed and destroyed. Only the beneficial micro and macro-organisms should remain in the worm composting system.

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