Mites in the Worm Bin
(So many answers...Confused?)
Greetings Fellow Vermicomposters,
Here's the scoop on...
1. Mites in the worm bin (lions, tigers, & Bears...Oh Crap!)
2. The Beneficials update PLUS "CALLING ALL BETA READERS!"
1. Mites in the worm bin
Recently, I was skimming over some Facebook posts (when I actually get the chance to get on FB) and came across a question about red mites in the worm bin. This comes up a lot at WFR and just about EVERYWHERE!
“White, brown, tan, and red mites all over…HELP! I’m just ready to throw in the towel…” (and let the worms eat it I hope) “and walk away from worm farming altogether!”
I see people post answers of all kinds (and in the best intentions) ranging from, “Don’t worry. It’s just part of nature.” to “Run! I’ve been doing this for 10 years and had to quit because of mites. They ruined our worm bins forever.” (forever? Hmmmmm.)
I thought the whole purpose for social groups was to get away from wacky Internet sites and Youtube videos giving you bad advice. You went to an FB worm group to get solid advice from like-minded vermicomposters BUT turns out EVERYONE else is there TOO!
So here we
are, back at square one again. So much conflicting advice. What to do!
I’ve said from the beginning (before social media groups became popular) to follow someone you trust, in any industry, and do as they do. Use their advice. Someone who’s been successful for years and has been where you are will give you sound advice, if they have your best interest at heart.
Let’s talk about the mites now.
Yes! Mites ARE just a part of nature and you’ll always have them no matter how long you’ve been worm farming. Even if you don’t see them, they’re still there. But it’s no excuse to throw in the towel or give up.
We like mites. Mites are good and help to consume the vegetation.
”But They’re Attacking My Worms!”
Mites don’t really attack worms. I’ve heard stories, and mostly from those not understanding what’s really going on.
Mites eat decaying matter/microbes. Worms crawl all over the bedding with decaying material/microbes
on them. Mites will “hitchhike” on the backs of worms consuming the decaying material.
Sometimes mites WILL eat the worms… Wait…What?! This is because the worm is already dying or has an opened wound from a predator or because of YOU! When we dig around, it’s possible to cut, smash, or damage a worm in such a way that its flesh will decay/heal.
This is all normal behavior. So why do we see overpopulations of mites?
Mites basically love 2 things…
1. Kitchen scraps (nitrogen) and
2. Moisture (very, very moist environments)
It’s really easy to get the mite population back down to a normal, manageable population.
Mites WILL compete for food, but we’re not so concerned about food competition as we are the mites being more of an irritation to your worm squirm.
Mites can become so numerous that worms will crawl out, hug the sides of the bin, or go deeper to get away from the annoying “hitchhikers”.
All we need to do is to create less of a favorable environment for them. This means letting the bin dry out.
A) Remove ANY large chunks of kitchen scraps that can be easily removed. Watch that you don’t remove any worms on the scraps.
B) Add plenty of dry bedding material. Shredded paper, carboard, or any type of absorbent carbon. This will soak up any excess moisture.
C) Leave the lid off (if you use one) to allow the material to dry out. Worms will not escape. They hate climbing dry sides. They’ll know if the outside environment is unfavorable.
If worms DO start crawling out after a few hours, then force them to stay in the bedding material by hanging a bright light above the bedding (not a hot light bulb). If they still want to crawl out, something is wrong with your bedding. This is a whole other issue. We’ll not cover that here ☹
D) Lay damp sheets of newsprint on top of the bedding material for
a moisture blanket. You can remove the sheets of newsprint/carboard and rinse off any mites you see, then place it back into the worm bin.
E) Sprinkle some form of beneficial mineral dust on top of the newsprint, like Agricultural lime, Azomite, Rock dust, etc. BUT my favorite is Diatomaceous Earth . DE will kill the mites in just a few minutes when they come into contact with it (kills by mechanical means and not chemically, safe for worms). I’ve written so much on DE. I know it’s safe for worms. I use it all the time.
You may just be able to avoid the mites by reducing your kitchen scraps and adding more carbon bedding. This may be all you need, but others will need to follow the steps above to be thorough.
This will also work for Springtails, pot worms (very tiny white worms), flies which lead to fly larvae, and other unwanted insects.
organisms, in abundance, is always due to overfeeding of kitchen scraps which leads to a very moist environment and so on. So, keep the nitrogen down and under some bedding material and keep up on the dust. Be sure you are adding minerals to the worm bin as a regular feeding. A tablespoon or two per sqft.
Maintenance is key. Easy-Squeasy lemon-sneezy?
Much more on unwanted organisms in the worm bin.
2. Calling All Beta Readers
Most of you know I’ve been working on the hardest project I’ve ever taken on before, The Beneficials.
It’s moving along as fast as molasses, but every time I receive a new illustration from my artist, I get very excited. Check out some new illustrations. Of course, I can’t reveal them all to
I’m at a point now where I’m looking for a small handful of beta readers. I’m looking for some input of what you think of the story and how it relates to worms, living soil, plants, and the overall education of what soil is.
This is a chance to immerse yourself into a story that (I believe) will go big when it comes out and you will have been a part of it.
My beta readers will read the story and give me a review (book report) of how you liked or disliked it. Remember it’s a fictional story with lots of characters. It’s 2 hrs. long (when the video book comes out with music, sound FX, and voice overs), and is not a short read.
Trust me though. If you love reading (and even if you don’t) but love nature, you’ll love this story. Reply to this email and let me know you’d like to become a beta reader. I’ll send you a personal script with your name on it from my personal email address.
BUT BUT BUT You have to promise me
that you’ll read it as if it were written for the BIG SCREEN, because IT WAS! 😊
AND I’m still taking donations. This is a multi-thousand-dollar project and will be big when it comes out. The only thing holding us back is donations. You get the video book for a donation of $10 or more (or moooooore) ;)
That’s all for this newsletter scoop. I’ll be writing another one real soon titled “to use or not to use a worm bin lid”.
We had a good response to Larry’s Elite Worm Breeding Coursenewsletter. Thank you to those who joined the course and thank you for the personal testimonies. You will be making money from your hobby (some already are) if you follow his course an apply yourself and never, never quit. I’m also tossing in a big bonus for you on my end.
If you missed the 20%
discount, reply to this email, I’ll set you up, and I’ll see you in the Elite Group.
If you’re a worm grower, why haven’t you listed your business for free in our Buy Worms Locally directory? These are some of my hottest pages. Get found instantly and make the sales.
Now go take care of your worms, spring is coming, and grow something amazing! 😊
Get the Worm Farming Revolution eBook with the purchase of Steve’s Urban Worm Bag.
All profits from any product by or through Worm Farming Revealed go to support the Beneficials project.