Composting with worms is also referred to as vermicomposting. This is a process carried out with the use of the red wiggler worm also called Eisenia fetida. Worm composting is quite different from other composting methods. First off, it utilizes worms in converting the waste material into nutrient-rich compost that can be used to fertilize the backyard garden or indoor plants. Secondly, composting with red worms can be carried out in whichever scale imaginable and is ideal indoors or outdoors. Finally, this method is referred to as a cool composting method since it does not rely on heat to convert waste into compost. In fact, worms run away from hot environs. The composting process with worms is beneficial but it has its share of challenges. These are explained below:
Red Wiggler Worms Death
Various factors lead to the death of the worms within the composting bin. These include:
- Too much food
- High temperatures within the system
- Too wet conditions
- Lack of food and bedding in the unit
- Conditions that are too dry
In order to eliminate this problem you have to address the root cause of the problem. When too much food causes death then you should reduce the amount of disposable food, increase the number of worms, or add the bedding. Too wet conditions will be reduced by adding dry bedding material and whenever it is too dry add moist bedding or sprinkling some water until it is slightly damp.
When the temperature is too high within the worm bin, move it to a sheltered place where temperature is between 55° and 77°F. You should also ensure sufficient bedding is provided. When the bedding and the food is depleted it causes the worms to die. To mitigate this, harvest the compost or add fresh food and bedding.
Ants in the Worm Bin
The bin attracts ants when the bin is too dry. The ants invade the worm composting system and feed on the red wiggler worms. These invaders, if not controlled, will end up leaving an empty worm bin. To mitigate ants, moisten the bedding and the ants will move away.
Fruit and House Flies
Flies are a nuisance in worm composting, more so, when the compost bin is indoors. Some of the conditions that attract flies include; exposed waste food and sugary foods or fruits in the bin. To prevent this from happening, freeze or reduce the amount of fruit peels in the composting bin. You should also cover the bedding using a cardboard or place a cup of wine or vinegar in the bin. This will drown the flies.
A worm bin that is too wet, contains too much food, or is poorly infiltrated will generate a bad smell. You can rectify this problem by checking out the drain holes if blocked or too small. If any of this is apparent, correct it. You should also add more holes to facilitate free air movement. Too much food should be avoided also.
Rodents in the Bin
This is another common problem in worm bins. Trap the rodents or buy a rodent-resistant bin. You should also remove rodent’s favorite foods such as dairy, meat, too many fruits, and vegetables.
Keep the worm compost system from invaders and ensure its condition is within the required temperature and moisture limits. Red worms are extremely sensitive and therefore they should be monitored closely.