How to Troubleshoot a Worm Bin

Overview

If your worm bin starts to develop problems, you should remedy them as quickly as possible. Worms living in unsuitable conditions can die quickly, so it is essential that you do everything you can to ensure their health and keep them producing high-quality vermicompost. Most potential problems arise from moisture or food-related issues. When considering your worm bin, you must realize the importance of balance. Too much of anything your worm bin needs can be just as bad as too little.

Step 1

Check the moisture level of your worm bin, as well as whether or not it has adequate drainage. Make sure the bedding is about as moist as a wrung-out washcloth, but no moister.

Step 2

Make sure all food scraps are buried deeply within the worm bedding. Avoid leaving any food exposed, as it can attract both insect and animal pests.

Step 3

Monitor how much your worms are eating in a day. Feed them only as much as they can handle in a day to avoid bad odors and pest problems. Do not skip feedings or the worms may try to escape and/or die.

Step 4

Cut up all the food you feed to your worms into small pieces. Note that worms do not have teeth, so cutting the food into small pieces will help them eat it more quickly, according to Cornell University's Waste Management Institute.

Step 5

Mix 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with 3 drops of liquid dish detergent in a small bowl. Place the bowl near the bin to attract and kill fruit flies. Affix flypaper to the inside edges of the bin for a combined attack.

Step 6

Add dry bedding (shredding, cardboard, old newspapers) to your worm bin and mix it in thoroughly. Mix every day, trying to discourage pests, encourage worms, and maintain a good moisture balance in your bin.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid putting citrus or foods that naturally have bad odors (such as broccoli and asparagus) in your worm bin. Worms do not like excessively acidic foods. Citrus will both make their bedding very acidic and probably rot because the worms will take a long time eating it. If you suspect an overly acidic environment is a problem, mix a cup of agricultural lime into the bedding to help neutralize it. Avoid putting meat, dairy, or oily foods into your worm bin. These are not foods that worms like to eat. They will end up rotting, which will cause bad odors and attract pests.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Bowl
  • Flypaper
  • Agricultural lime
  • Shredding, cardboard, old newspapers

References

  • Cornell Composting: Troubleshooting Worm Bins
  • All Things Organic: Troubleshooting Your Worm Bin
  • The New York City Compost Project: Troubleshooting Indoor Worm Bin Composting
  • Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality: Troubleshooting Your Worm Bin
Keywords: troubleshooting worm compost, worm bin problems, solving worm issues

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.