Problems With Worm Composting

Worm composting, or vermiculture, is the act of using worms to decompose and turn organic waste into a dark, crumbly soil amendment that hungry plants love. Worm composting can be carried out in any backyard bin or container and can improve the condition of your garden soil. While worms are relatively low-maintenance with the proper setup, a worm composting experience can sometimes go awry.

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be attracted to your worm compost bin due to the nature of the decomposing material. While the flies are not harmful, they can swarm in great numbers and be a nuisance. Minimize the chances of your worm compost attracting fruit flies by avoiding the use of fruit scraps, or burying such scraps deep within the worm bedding material.

Odors

Your worm bin should not have a strong smell. Excessive moisture is one of the main causes of a rotten, bad odor being emitted from your worm bedding. Add more dry material, such as shredded paper, and use less wet food material. Poor air circulation can also accentuate bad smells, as oxygen and fresh air is required to help foster the growth of the beneficial bacteria that help decompose the organic waste.

Escaping Worms

Worms are generally happy to live deep within the worm bedding and composting material. If you find the worms constantly on the surface and trying to crawl out, your worm composting material may be too wet and drowning them.

Temperatures

Where you place your worm bin can affect its internal temperatures. A temperature that is too high or too low will dry or freeze your worms, respectively. A cold worm bin can also make your worms sluggish and kill off beneficial bacteria, thereby slowing the process of turning your compost material into usable soil amendment. For best results, keep the worms at a temperature ranging from 50 to 75 degrees F. You may need to move your worm bin to a new location if its current setting is not ideal, temperature-wise.

Keywords: worm compost, vermiculture, problems

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.