How to Troubleshoot Vermicomposting

Overview

Vermicomposting can be an enjoyable method of reducing waste and creating organic fertilizer for your garden. Vermicomposting is the use of worms to create organic compost from leftover food and garden waste. Problems can occur in the system if proper conditions are not maintained; these include moisture, odor, flies, ants and a decrease in the worm population. Learn how to troubleshoot vermicomposting problems.

Moisture

Step 1

Observe the drainage holes for blockage. Poke through blocked holes with a Phillips head screwdriver or a drill bit small enough to fit the hole.

Step 2

Remove excess water with the turkey baster. This may take awhile, but most of the water must be removed to avoid problems with the next steps.

Step 3

Stir the contents of the bin using a hand-claw rake. Remove any old bedding that has become saturated.

Step 4

Shred newspaper into small pieces. Add 1 inch of dry newspaper to the bedding.

Smells

Step 1

Drain the compost bin of any liquid using the turkey baster.

Step 2

Remove rotting food in the bin. Stop feeding the worms for seven days. Reduce the amount of material introduced into the bin each day.

Step 3

Use steps 3 and 4 in the "Moisture" section.

Step 4

Add more worms if the rotting food problem continues even when adding reduced material.

Fruit Flies

Step 1

Fill a plastic cup with equal amounts of soap and apple cider vinegar. Place cling-wrap plastic over the top. Put a rubber band around the top lip of the cup to hold the plastic. Poke holes in the cling wrap.

Step 2

Bury remaining material that has not decomposed under the worm bedding. Cover the worm bedding, and the worms with cardboard.

Step 3

Put the cup into the bin. Cover the bin. Do not feed the worms for seven days.

Decrease in Live Worms

Step 1

Move the bin away from any vibrations. Vibrations will cause the worms to evacuate the area.

Step 2

Turn the material over inside the bin. This will add oxygen because the worms may be suffocating.

Step 3

Use the above sections on moisture and smells. The worms may be drowning.

Step 4

Add water to dry compost material until the bedding is moist.

Step 5

Remove dead worms. Place an ant trap in the bin for seven days, then remove it and the dead ants.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Drill bit
  • Turkey baster
  • Hand rake
  • Plastic cup
  • Dish soap
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cling wrap
  • Rubber band
  • Ant trap

References

  • Clemson University Extension: Worm Composting
  • Green Calgary: Vermicomposting
Keywords: troubleshooting vermicomposting, troubleshooting worm bins, worm composting problems

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.