Frequently Asked Questions
1. I’ve got bugs in my worm bin. What
should I do?
Absolutely nothing! Bugs, big and little, are
what makes the decomposition happen. Here are some of the beneficial critters you may find. Tiny flies
and ants can be pesky, see following questions.
got millions of tiny flies. What do I do?
The tiny flies are vinegar flies, which look just
like fruit flies. The first line of defense is
to bury food scraps completely. Also, make
sure you are not feeding too heavily (more than a quart
per week per square foot). If you still have
problems, try feeding less fruit, which is the main
attractant. Some ideas for putting any
extra food scraps to good use are found in these PDF downloads: Homemade
Food Scrap Composter and Burying Food
Remember that flies don’t bother the worms,
and they will be less bothersome to you if your worm
bin is outside, away from people. As a last resort,
cover your food scraps with a light (one-quarter inch)
layer of soil, then a layer (2 - 4 inches) of brown
material (leaves or shredded newspaper).
3. There are ants in my worm bin. What should I do?
Ants are usually an indication that the material in
the bin is too dry. To encourage them to leave
the bin, moisten and turn it or stir it with a trowel
to disrupt their colonies.
If there are many ants in the vicinity, they may return
to the worm bin. You can exclude the worms by
putting the worm bin on blocks of wood and setting
the blocks in dishes of water. Nurseries sell
various products that create a sticky barrier the ants
will not be able to cross.
If you don’t want to go to that much trouble,
take heart! The ants don’t bother the worms
and they actually benefit the composting process by
bringing fungi and other organisms into their nests. The
work of ants can make worm compost richer in phosphorus
and potassium by moving minerals from one place to
4. I had a worm bin but my worms died. What did I
First of all, don’t be discouraged. A
worm bin is a biological system and it may take more
than one try to get it right. Make sure you have
the right kind of bedding material and
it is as moist as a
wrung out sponge.
Remember that worms need oxygen too! Worms can easily
be drowned if the worm bin is left outside during a
rain, or from feeding too many food scraps without
adding bedding to offset the moisture.
Another cause of worm death is overfeeding, which
can result in the food heating up in the bin (hot composting),
killing the worms as temperatures climb above 90 degrees