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Trouble in Wormadise/Now Brighter Days

Well, a few days ago I checked in on my bin, and found there was a lot of moisture. So I left the lid open, but never closed it back up. A family member closed it but didn't secure it. So yesterday I walk past the bin, and I see stringy dry things on the floor... and I'm like what is that(I've got three dogs so nothings surprises me anymore), but it turns out they were worms. I picked up about 15 dead dried worms. Checked on my bin and once again too much moisture. So I left it open to air out, with light so the worms wouldn't escape.

I tore up 1 small pizza box, 2 drink carriers and some left over scrap printer paper and then mixed it into the bin. I checked my two feeding pockets and they were both empty, again! There was also some kind of like dry brown stuff, I'm thinking its the worm castings? It was very very dry though. I don't know whats going on in my bin lol.

I defrosted a container of food that I'll be putting in today, I did purchase some coconut coir the other day but now I'm too afraid to put it in with the excessive moisture problem. Any advice/suggestions is much appreciated :) I feel bad that 15 or so worms died, but I have at least 400 in there, and I'm trying to correct the problem as best I can When I took a look in the box last night they seemed happy buried under all the bedding, still moving, very actively in fact. I do think I need a few more ventilation holes - perhaps on the lid?

Views: 25

Comment by JulianProxy on July 24, 2009 at 12:26pm
Paper is good. I have ventilation holes on the lid in my bin. Someone suggested that my bin may need to air out, so I put a screen on it for a while. This didn't dry out the bin too much, but it did seem to help some. Obviously, I didn't want it completely dry, anyway. I just replaced the lid last night, since the excessive moisture seems to be under control.

Another method that I have heard of is putting burlap over the top. Either way, if one of those is on top, air can flow, but the worms won't try to escape and dry out.
Comment by Jason on July 24, 2009 at 12:29pm
I'd mix in some corrugated cardboard and newspaper to soak up some of the excess moisture, and leave the lid off indefinitely. I've never used coir but it's a good neutral medium and if you put it in dry it would do some major soaking up. Someone with more experience with coir could comment on that perhaps. Anyway, cover the with a piece of fabric or old shirt or something to keep things dark but let air and moisture out. I'd also hold off on feeding for a week or so just to make sure things settle down.

More holes would also be a really good idea. I say when you think you've got enough holes, go ahead and add a few more.

Also, if you are adding frozen food, let it thaw and then put it in a colander or something to let it drain for a long time, 12-24 hrs wouldn't hurt, but cover it to avoid smells. What I used to do when I froze food is put it in a small plant pot that had holes on the bottom, sit it over an old ice cream container to contain the drippage, and put some bedding on the top to keep odor in. It worked pretty well at fighting my moisture problems.

15 worms isn't a mass exodus so I have hope that your problems aren't too severe. If the majority of the worms seem snug and happy under your bedding then I think you can solve whatever problems you have pretty easily.
Comment by rom mendoza on July 24, 2009 at 12:51pm
The corrugated cardboard should do the trick for soaking up moisture. If you're afraid to use the coir because of excessive moisture try breaking a chunk or two off the brick and putting it in the bottom dry. It soaks up a LOT of moisture and is supposed to expand 7 to 8 times the original size when it does.

I only used 1 brick of it to start my bin and haven't tried using it dry to soak up excess moisture but it will probably work.
Comment by Eve on July 24, 2009 at 1:14pm
I have used coir just as rom mendoza just described. I used a wood saw to cut the block into quarters. It works like a charm. The coir will soak up the extra liquid and sit in the bin with the middle of the coir still dry waiting for more liquid. Or you can take it back out and sit it on something to dry back out. Then put it back in when the bin gets too wet again. The block does get a little bigger every time you do this until it starts falling apart. Then just crumble the loose parts into the bin keeping the firm center to use again. I bought a package of 3 blocks and used it for around 6 months and still had a a block and a half left when i went to a flow through and didn't have to worry about the bin getting too wet anymore.

BTW; when looking for coir check out plant and feed stores they have a cheaper grade of coir. It contains larger fibers. If you try a pet store the have coir with chopped fibers and it costs twice as much and you only get one block.
Comment by Michael on July 26, 2009 at 7:23am
Thank you all for the advice! I think I probably over panicked with the dead dry worms on the floor(as did my Mom, who said "and you're keeping these things in the house!"). I added more bedding, and I ended up making my one of two little coconut coir fiber bricks. I spread it even throughout the bin under the dry bedding, Its moist in there, but not super soaked which I think is good thing. The pocket of food I added the other day seems to be doing well. I'm feeding in pockets but moving along as I feed. I started in the Top left corner, now I'm at the bottom left. I read that's good to keep moving, when you get to the end, the beginning will be ready to be pocketed again.

I've also kept the lid off of it the past few days. The weather here has been reasonably cool with a nice breeze, so it stays in front of the dining room window, where the sun can't touch it but it gets air. I haven't noticed any smell - and let me tell you that defrosted food after sitting out half the night STANK so bad. LOL :). Think the worms are still going good, thanks again for your help and replies :)
Comment by rom mendoza on July 27, 2009 at 12:51pm
Thanks Eve, I was wondering if anyone had tried using it dry. My kids keep hermit crabs and they use coir as their bedding as well. Works out well since the hermit crab bedding doesn't get wasted. When it's time to change the bedding I can put it in the worm bin. I put a large plate of mellon in the bin before going on a trip and came back to a really moist bin. Probably should not have done it but I was in a hurry and figured "what the heck". I was thinking I should keep some dry coir on hand in case I do it again.

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