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I have a 20 gal rubbermaid worm bin. ( home made, I might add) and am ready to extract the worm poop.  How do I do this without the worms escaping? 

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Working, so I will be brief... I suggest setting aside the top half of your VC, on the assumption that the majority of your worms will be clustered around your recent feedings.  Remove the lower half from the bin, and use the "light separation" technique on that VC.  Return the upper half to the bin, along with the worms retrieved from the lower half during light separation.  Prep for this process with tarps, trays, etc., and give yourself a good weekend day to do the work, the first time.  In time you will be more efficient, and (dare I say it) perhaps less determined to bring every single worm back home.  9_9

Everyone has their own way of doing it, so someone else might chime in with a method you like better.  Also, worms don't cooperate and often refuse to behave in a predictable manner, so try to be flexible and adapt to what you see going on there.

The light separation technique has been discussed here a number of times... here is one such discussion.

Hope this helps!

Oh, and here's a video by Bentley on the subject.

The key to Bentley's method are the bright lights. The worms are sensitive to light and will continuelly move down into the castings to escape it. If you are using room lite it will take a long time. If you set it up on a workbench or table a small desk lamp is a big help.
Personally i have a wire shelved stand with (2)-two 48"tube fixtures one above each of two shelves so i can process (six) 24" mortar trays at a time. I take a tote or full tray ready to harvest and invert it over a new tray and then scrape off the castings from what was the bottom of the bedding; as the worms move downward into the new tray. After i remove what was the bottom 3/4th of the bedding from the old tray it usually amounts to five gals of castings. The worms except for a few that don't follow the dive program are already in their new tray without being handled. A twenty gal tote may require some lifting help. Place the new tote inverted on top of the old one and flip them. You might choose to wait before using the castings for a couple of weeks for the cocoons to hatch and the very small fry to show themselves, remove those and start a new bin. You collect these with some melon, pumpkin, or other tasty morsel placed on top of the castings. Do not put the castings in a sealed container, any worms left in the castings will try to get out, die and then stink to high heaven!
I use a little hand garden rake tool to loosen the material as i go. The material sometimes on the very bottom is not processed, it could also be anerabic and soggy. It could also be where many of your worms hang out. You may want to scrape it off and then place it on top of your new set up.
A good old movie is a real big help!

I find that sunlight is much stronger than any light I have around my house, so it works better to drive the worms down.  Also, the dark castings absorb the heat, also causing the worms to descend.

I do the same -- even if not direct sunlight, indirect daylight is still really bright.  Despite that, my worms still only dive just below the surface.  My VC is like black clay, very opaque.  I guess that's where your heat idea would help.

My worms never hide for the sunlight. I used this a lot of times. But they still stay just below the surface

Welcome aboard, Rachel. Here are some links that might be helpful. Scroll down to "Harvesting" for some ideas:




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