- How to Fatten Compost Worms
- How to Kill Cabbage Worms Naturally
- My Black Walnut Tree Has Worms
- How Do I Get Rid of Worms That Are Eating Yellow Loosestrife?
- How to Kill Maggots and Worms
- How to Get Rid of Wire Worms in a Garden
- How to Spray for Worms in Fruit Trees
- How to Make a Night Crawler Bed
- How to Make Worm Casting Tea
- White Worms in a Garden
- Black Worms in the Garden With Red or Orange Heads
- How to Control Nematodes
- How to Raise Composting Worms
- What Eats the Leaves & Tomatoes on Plants?
- How to Use Worms in Indoor Plants
- How to Store Vermicompost
Whether you're using your compost worms for fishing or selling the worms to gardeners, fat worms are most desirable. Fattened compost worms are evidence of healthy feeding and high-quality compost. You can use a variety of commercially made worm food blends to fatten up your compost worms, particularly the "worm chow" blends that are high in protein. You can also make your own worm-fattening food using a simple recipe and modifying your worms' food-scrap diet.
Feed your compost worms lots of green vegetables. Limit starches and highly acidic fruits and vegetables.
Place 12 egg shells into a blender. If you’re using egg shells from cracked raw eggs, be sure to rinse the shells well in warm water and let them dry. Blend the egg shells until they’re pulverized into a powder.
Add 2 cups of oatmeal and 1 cup of cornmeal to the blender. Blend the cornmeal and oatmeal with the pulverized egg shells.
Sprinkle the mixture on top of your compost until you’ve created a thin layer. Mist with water and cover your compost bin. If you usually leave your compost uncovered, spread a layer of moistened newspaper over the grain mixture.
Cover cabbage with spun polyurethane once it starts to grow. Use stakes to hold the material down. This keeps the adult moths off of the plants so that they cannot leave their young on the leaves.
Spray the cabbage plants with Bt, which is a biological insecticide. This is needed if you didn't cover the plants with the polyurethane when they first developed. The insecticide has a bacteria that affects the worms. Coat the leaves and leave it for several days, allowing the worms to eat and die.
Cover the plants with the plastic cover a few days after the insecticide application to keep grown moths from re-infecting the plants.
Hand pick off any worms that you see as you are gardening. Every one that you remove is one less you have to deal with later.
Webworms form large webs in which they live and eat on the end of the branches of black walnut trees. The worms, which are actually caterpillars, usually appear in late summer or early fall. Another worm, the tent caterpillar, builds smaller webs and lives outside the web while it forages on leaves.
Because web and tree worms start foraging on late summer leaves, they do little damage to the tree, since the leaves are about to drop off in the fall anyway. The caterpillars do leave unsightly branches with chewed-on leaves, but the worms cause little more than cosmetic damage.
To help control worms, consider pruning infested branches from the tree. Destroy the branches so the worms don't infest other plants or trees in the yard. Additional control includes keeping the trees in healthy shape to keep them from becoming weak and susceptible to insects.
Fill the sprayer's tank with half the amount of water listed on the chemical's label.
Add the chemical to the tank, swirling as you pour it in. If the product is a powder or crystal, you may need to stir it until it is thoroughly dissolved.
Spray the yellow loosestrife's foliage until it drips, unless the label recommends otherwise. Swirl the tank as you spray, to keep the product mixed. Keep the spray away from the flowers to avoid damaging the bees that pollinate them.
Repeat the application per the label instructions.
Boil a large pot of hot water. Make sure to boil enough water to cover all of the worms and maggots that you want to kill.
Pour the boiling water over the top of the maggots and worms. This should kill the maggots and worms immediately.
Kill remaining worms and maggots and remove odor. Make a bleach and water solution of one cup of bleach to every gallon of water, and pour the solution over the top of the worms and maggots. This will kill any remaining worms and maggots and clean the area of bacteria and eliminate odor.
Rinse the area clean with water. Remove remains with a hose or a broom.
Cut a raw potato into large chunks at least 1 inch thick and 2 inches long.
Dig 6-inch deep holes every yard or so in your garden. Wear gloves and pick out any visible wire worms in the holes.
Skewer the potatoes on the sharp end of barbecue skewers. Place the pieces of potato in the holes with the stick jutting out and fill the holes with dirt.
Dig up the potato chunks in the evening. Destroy the potatoes and the wire worms they have collected.
Replace the potato on the end of the skewers and repeat until you have successfully rid your garden of wire worms.
Spray for Worms in Fruit Trees
Spray regularly. Some types of worms come in the spring, others in the summer, and still others arrive in fall and winter. So the best defense for your fruit trees is to spray them every few weeks throughout all of the seasons to make sure you don't miss any worms in the process.
Use a fruit-tree insecticide, available at local garden centers. This type of product will kill most types of worms and other pests that might invade your fruit trees. George Weigel of the Patriot-News also recommends treating trees with a spray of lime sulfur over the winter to control pests that appear during that season.
Try a homemade organic spray. The Houston Chronicle has a recipe for an organic spray made from garlic tea, molasses, and other ingredients that they recommend for spraying fruit trees (see references section). Though organic sprays may not be as effective as commercial insecticides, they are gentler on the environment.
Spray high and strong. Spraying a light coating over the tops of your trees may not work as effectively as a nice strong spray will. Your spray should hit the leaves with a bit of force in order to function properly. Penn State University recommends using a sprayer with enough fan capacity to blow the spray at least ten feet beyond the trees, even in a windy situation.
Wipe the inside of a container that is at least 4 feet wide and long with a damp rag to remove all dirt and dust. If you use a simple storage container or other non-professional container, drill 1-inch holes spaced every 6 inches along the bottom of the container to allow for drainage.
Lay a 1-inch layer of gravel on the bottom of the container to allow for drainage of excess water. In a separate container, mix 2/3 soil or dirt with 1/3 compost or manure to form the basis of your night-crawler bed. You can also use peat moss or other organic material to serve as the bedding for your worms.
Add the soil mixture to the container, filling until there are 2 to 3 inches left at the top of the container.
Sprinkle clean water across the surface of the mixture until the surface gleams slightly. Once you add the worms, you may need to sprinkle water once every two to three days to maintain the moisture level.
Store the earthworm bed in a sheltered area where the temperature remains constantly above 65 degrees F. The mixture of soil and organic material makes an appropriate home for the worms, and allows them to burrow and feed.
Harvest worm castings from your compost bin. This task can be accomplished easily if fresh material is added to one side of your compost bin, several days to a week before harvesting the castings. The worms will move to the fresh side of the bin, leaving the castings behind.
Place the castings inside several layers of cheesecloth, and tie the corners of the cheesecloth together to make a ball.
Place the ball of castings inside a plastic or glass container, large enough to submerge the entire ball.
Cover the cheesecloth ball with water. Place the lid on the container, and allow the ball to soak overnight.
Remove the ball from the tea, and use the tea to water flowers and vegetables.
White worms (Enchytraeus albidus) are one of the worm species you might find in your garden soil, although they are far less common than earthworms. White, wriggling and measuring up to 1 1/2 inches in length, they are one of the soil residents that help break down organic matter. They cause no harm if you find them in your garden.
A less welcome sight in your garden is the grubworm, beetle larvae that feed on the roots of plants, including ornamental and vegetable plants. Although not technically worms, their worm-like appearance can fool you at first glance. These white or cream-colored pests curl into a C shape when touched, and a closer look reveals three pairs of legs just behind their heads. They can measure up to 1 inch in length.
You can purchase chemical pesticides that will control grubworms in your garden. Check the label to ensure the product is safe to use on your plants, particularly food crops. Natural control options include various diseases and parasitic nematodes that act as natural enemies to grubworms.
Two of the types of armyworms that come to mind are the fall armyworm and the true armyworm. Neither is solid black but both have predominately black, brown or gray bodies adorned with slight yellow or orange stripes and an amber to dark orange colored head.
Armyworms are not really worms at all, but caterpillars that eventually turn into moths. Adult armyworms average 1/2 inch to approximately one inch long. Fall armyworm generations occur every 23 to 25 days. The true armyworm completes a generation in 41 to 66 days.
Armyworms can be found in flower and vegetable gardens. In large number they damage crops from the Rocky Mountains eastward to the coastal Atlantic states. True armyworms cause garden damage during late spring and summer months, while fall armyworms damage late season crops.
Plant nematode-resistant crops like corn, onions, garlic and nematode-resistant tomatoes.
Remove any plants that are suffering from nematode infestation to prevent the spread of these damaging worms.
Once infested plants are removed, plant marigolds. Marigolds exude a chemical that is toxic to nematodes and can help rid the soil and surrounding plants of any remaining worms. Leave the marigolds in place for at least three months.
If your entire garden is infested, remove all of the plants and till the soil. Allow the soil to dry completely and leave your garden dormant for a full summer.
Cover the soil with clear plastic once the plants are removed and the soil has dried. Leave the plastic in place for six to eight weeks.
In the fall, plant Elbon rye grass. Rye grass is nematode resistant, and can drive the worms away.
Create a compost pile in the worm bin. While a soil or shredded newspaper base can be used, the food supply is much more important. Partially decomposed table scraps, especially those from non-processed and low-preservative foods are ideal. Wastes from dairy and meats should not be used.
Drill holes in your worm bin (if homemade) to allow for air circulation and proper oxygen levels. Commercial bins will already have holes. Drill one-sixteenth-inch holes around the top edges and bottom edges of the bin approximately 1½ inches. Drill 30 evenly-spaced quarter-inch holes in the top of the container.
Spray the compost bin contents, especially the bedding, regularly with water to keep the contents at a moisture level consistent with that of a sponge that has been wrung out. Check this daily, since worms get much of their moisture through their skin, and they can die quickly without moist surroundings.
Keep the internal temperature at 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The best range for breeding is 59 to 68 degrees. Optimum growth occurs in temperatures around 77 degrees.
Provide a half pound of organic waste per day for every pound of worms. Cut the waste into small pieces to hasten decomposition and help the worm's consume the waste.
Tomatoes attract a number of insects that eat both the plant and the fruit. Horn worms, mites, leaf miners, flea beetles and slugs eat the leaves of the tomato plant. Tomato fruit worms, melon flies and horn worms feed on the tomato. Stalk borers and cut worms eat through the stems and stalks of the plant.
Obtain earthworms from a lawn or garden supply store or a bait and tackle store. Alternatively, you can pull worms directly from the soil in your outdoor garden.
Determine which plants will provide a healthy environment for the worms. Earthworms require moderately moist soil to thrive; avoid placing worms in planters containing cacti or other plants that do not require significant amounts of moisture.
Allow four to eight worms for each 1-gallon planter. Use more worms for larger planters and fewer for smaller planters.
Use a hand trowel to loosen the top of the soil in each planter. Place the earthworms on top of the loosened soil.
Lightly water the soil to get the earthworms moving and provide them with moisture. The earthworms will soon begin housekeeping in their new home.
Place a piece of hardware cloth or screening over an open plastic tub. Carefully scoop vermicompost material onto the screen allowing the castings to fall through.
Hand pick out any live worms to place back into the prepared compost bin. Remove any uneaten organic materials and discard. Worm compost or vemicompost rarely has uneaten leftover materials.
Snap a lid onto the plastic container for airtight storage protection.
Fill small containers or resealable heavy duty plastic bags with vermicompost for individual plant feedings.
Place the small capacity storage bags into an airtight container and store in the basement or outbuilding. Airtight containers will keep the vermicompost materials dry and safe from invasive insects or animals until needed for gardening.