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Yes, you have a special place in my heart because when you sign up, it tells me that you love worm farming and you are eager to know more about how to live a better life through raising worms, the master builders of the soil. This IS the foundation for almost all the resources in the world and you get it and that's why you get my newsletter too. So read, learn and most of all enjoy.
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Great News! You can now purchase the Worm Factory at
The Worm Factory page. A beautiful looking, complete flow through worm system that separates the cast from the worms. Go check it out!
Diatomaceous Earth In the Worm Bin
OK, it seems like some are starting to jump on the DE (diatomaceous earth) wagon, so I thought I'd write a page on it and how people are incorporating it into their worm farming bins before this idea really takes off. Also, if you are a gardener or keep animals you'll want to go to my
What is DE? page. There you'll find a lot more detail than just what's in this newsletter since I decided to turn this topic into a full blown page (or two or three will probably end up with four) Now, on with DE and worm farming.
Mark writes, "I put diatomaceous earth (DE) in with my worms to keep down insects, including fruit flies."
Thank you Mark for your input on how you use DE for pest defense.
First of all, what is DE?
Also known as Diatomaceous silica, diatomite, DE, Kieselgur (in Europe), fossil shell flour.
De is the fossilized remains of diatoms, a once living singled-cell plant organism with a hard shelled body. It is found in the sedimentary layers throughout the world and also mined here in the United States. De is used in a wide variety of applications from insecticides to animal food and food preservation (usually grains)
Now, I want to be very clear to those who may not know the difference. There are two forms of diatomaceous earth:
- Food grade, mined from fresh water, which is approved by the EPA and FDA
- Non-food grade, mined from salt water, which is used as swimming pool filters and beverage filters
The food grade is mined in its natural form and processed to rid it of unwanted dirt and other materials. The non-food grade is mined and then heated at high temperatures to help it aid in the filtration process. The non-food grade is harmful to animals and humans so stay away from this stuff unless your purpose is only filtration.
How does DE work?
The crystalline silica has tiny microscopic edges that scratch away at the waxy exoskeleton of hard bodied insects. This causes them, in time, to lose all the moisture contained in their body. They simply dehydrate and die.
Will DE harm my worms?
The short answer is No. I use DE in my chicken coop, on my chickens, and in their food. I have many times gone from the coop to the worm bin and back to the coop. They love those worms :-) De only harms the hard bodied insects. It is just plain silica and may in fact aid in some beneficial digesting and grinding of the food.
Should I use DE in the worm bin?
I personally have not used DE in my worm bins as I have not had to (yet ;-) I like the interaction among the worms and all the other critters that help to play a role in the soil food web. However, should something get out of control and nature does not step in to correct the imbalance, then I might find myself using a little after all.
How to use diatomaceous earth
I would be careful on the amount you use and how often. To my knowledge there hasn't been a lot of study with DE and vermicomposting. I do read of other commercial and home vermicomposters having some success with it, but they do not use very much.
Sprinkle a little in on the top surface just enough for coverage, but do not cover too much. You should still be able to see the vermicompost. Sprinkle it like pepper. Don't cover it and avoid mixing it in. The purpose is for population control. Mark said he uses it to control fruit flies and these hang out on top of the food source as do other pests. They lay their eggs in which the larvae will head down into the food source.
The light sprinkling may be enough to detour the unwanted pests. I have read in a book that once DE gets wet it loses its edge. I cannot confirm that, but people usually apply the DE as a dry application to their plants and animals.
I believe diatomaceous earth this is ok to use in a worm bin, but due to the lack of study by many vermicomposting farmers I recommend using it in moderation and only when needed. Also, to those who put it in their gardens and all over their plants, I have found out that the DE WILL KILL the already declining population of honey bees. I used this in my garden last year and wondered the same question. When I asked my supplier if it killed the bees, I never received a response.
I spoke with David from honey bees online and he said, "DE controls insects by cutting their exoskeleton and unfortunately bees fall in that category. Not good for honey bees. They will attempt to groom off
the DE and thus it will do its job on honey bees too. Sorry,"
I have read also in beekeeping forums that the DE will kill bees. Yes, I am sorry too everyone. So I am currently researching on different affective ways to apply it in the garden in a manner that bees will not come into contact with the DE.
I currently have
The Worm Factory ordering page up if you are interested in worm farming with a nice looking flow through system in your home or out (ladies).
Two more products to be on the look out for is Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade and the Urbin Grower.
Also, I'm working on a kids section. My son has been helping me find some
worm games and my daughter will be coming up with a kids free printable worm coloring book so I'll keep you posted. Give me your ideas on some coloring pages. Thanks!
That's it for this addition of the POOP SCOOP! See you next issue and as always...Happy worm farming,
Pauly (The Worm Whisperer)
Worm farming Revealed.com