Can You Have Too Many Worms in Your Compost?
Worms thrive in moderate temperatures and are an effective way of adding organic matter to garden soil. To maintain a stable worm population, make sure food scraps are buried as completely as possible and use bedding that stays moist enough to act like a sponge when moistened by water.
Red wiggler worms are easy to breed, which allows you to rapidly increase their population in your compost pile. But there is an ideal number of red wigglers appropriate for each pile.
Worms Eat Too Much Food
Worms are voracious eaters, consuming up to half their bodyweight in food waste daily. Their efficient metabolism turns scraps into compost in approximately six months for plants’ benefit, providing rich soil amendments in the process. But it is important not to overfeed your worms, which could create an imbalance in your bin or attract unwanted pests. Overfeeding can easily be avoided by shredding, pureeing, freezing or microwaving food before feeding it to them as this makes them more efficient at eating down and breaking down food faster and creating an imbalance within it all – something your bin probably wasn’t designed to do!
Avoid Feeding Excessively Additionally to preventing overfeeding, it is also vitally important to avoid feeding your worms excessively acidic or difficult-to-break-down foods, like citrus fruits with high sugar content can quickly raise the pH level in their bin to dangerously high levels, while onion and garlic odor can attract unwanted pests to their bin. Feeding too many protein-rich foods (eggshells or coffee grounds for example) could result in protein poisoning – the proteins break down into ammonia and alcohol that will kill them off completely – potentially killing off all their lives.
When the worm population becomes excessively large, this is typically because there is too much food for all of them to consume in their compost bins and not enough space for all of them. When this happens, many worms attempt to escape by crawling downward through holes in its lid or sides into ground soil through holes on either side. Unfortunately if they succeed in making their escape attempt they will soon perish from starvation.
Maintaining a worm bin should be closely watched to detect signs of overfeeding. One effective method for doing this is lifting up some dry shredded paper or bedding at the bottom of your bin to observe for any sign of an excessive food addition, or smells bad when touched. These indicators could signal that more food should be removed from your bin before feeding continues unimpeded.
Keep in mind that vermicomposting involves natural processes; some level of mortality is expected when starting out. If the death rate suddenly spikes or there are an unusually large number of dead worms than usual in your bin, there could be something amiss there.
Overfeeding can be the cause of many worm deaths. When too much food enters a worm bin, its excess will ferment into acidic by-products that poison your worms. Overfeeding may also result in an imbalance of nitrogen levels leading to shortage of energy-sustaining protein for energy needs of worms – something which you can prevent by only providing slightly spoilt or rotten foods in small quantities as well as providing plenty of nutrient rich vegetables as food sources.
Another cause of worm deaths may be because they have reached either their ideal age for breeding and reproduction or are too young or old to do so successfully. Do your research on average lifespan for your species of worm, and ensure to regularly add new ones in order to maintain a healthy population.
Lack of moisture is also a big problem for worms, so keeping your bin at an appropriate temperature is vital in order to ensure it remains moist. If it becomes too wet, add additional dry bedding or gradually pour some dechlorinated water (making sure all drain holes remain open) into it until you achieve optimal conditions.
Air circulation issues are another leading factor that may cause your worms to perish, so make sure your bin has plenty of pre-drilled aeration holes that work efficiently as well as adequate bedding material to promote good airflow.
One of the greatest dangers facing worms is when they become infested with other worms. This usually happens because newer, smaller worms produce waste products with too many nutrients for older worms to handle safely, poisoning their environment. To protect themselves against this happening, feed newer worms vegetables and fruit scraps only; avoid adding meat or dairy products into their compost heap.
Worms Smell Bad
Too many worms in your compost may result in an unpleasant odor, often from food not yet fully broken down or wet or soggy bedding. To reduce moisture in the bin, ensure it is properly aerated by moving or fluffing up periodically or adding black-ink only newspaper, cardboard or 100% pure peat moss as this will soak up extra moisture while helping raise its pH value.
Worms need an environment with a high pH level for proper survival. Acidic foods like citrus or tomatoes can upset this equilibrium and kill off worms; while too low of an pH can force them out. To raise it further, crushed eggshells or agricultural lime can be added into their bin to raise it further.
Keep in mind that your worm population should naturally balance itself over time. But you can help accelerate this process by removing any escaping worms and moving them to another bin; this will create more space for those currently inside.
If you plan on leaving for a prolonged period, consider adding food scraps from a nearby freezer bag into the bin or asking a neighbor to feed your worms on several occasions to help prevent overcrowded conditions and overfeeding. This will prevent overcrowdedness from becoming an issue and ensure they receive optimal nourishment.
If your worms appear to be trying to escape, the most likely cause will be their environment is overcrowded or unhealthy. When this occurs, they often move themselves to another bin that they believe to be safer; you can encourage this behavior by shining a bright light directly at them; instinctively they avoid light so will seek shelter within their current bin instead.
Worms Get Infested
A worm is an animal that works tirelessly to transform food scraps into compost. Worms play an integral part in composting by shredding waste for easier digestion by other organisms in the compost pile. For optimal compost results, ensure the population of worms in your bin remains at an appropriate level – while natural mechanisms will adjust their numbers, excessive numbers could result if conditions in your bin become unfavorable.
Alternatively, too much moisture or acidity in the compost bin may result in sick worms that become sick and die, leaving an unpleasant stench and unhealthy castings behind. If your worms appear to be eating more than usual, add more grit to lower its pH level or fluff up their bedding to improve airflow for improved aeration and help worms sift through food scraps more efficiently.
Too many worms in a compost bin may also be due to insufficient food supply. Worms eat by pushing their pharynx out of their mouth – an extended lip without teeth that allows the worms to grab waste material for digestion. They will eat until they feel satisfied so it is important not to overfeed them.
If you are unfamiliar with how to manage the population of worms in your compost system, begin with just a few red wigglers and build from there. Their fast reproduction will quickly increase to reach optimal levels for your system – it may take some weeks for their eggs to hatch but once they do you will have an impressively healthy population! Remember to treat the worms as your friends – provide them with food sources such as fruit and vegetable scraps, paper products, eggshells and non-meat sources in their diet as this will ensure optimum conditions in their habitat! To keep them at optimal levels feed them high quality diet of fruit & veggie scraps scraps, paper products, eggshells etc and non meat sources of nourishment!