Frequently Asked 

Worm Questions...

How often should I feed my Worms?

Start with just a little food at the beginning and see how fast they work through it. Increase the amount accordingly. Worms can eat up to half their body weight in food per day, under ideal circumstances.

1000 worms = 1 pound/ half a kilo.

 

Can I under- or overfeed my worms?

When there is too much food for the amount of worms to process, it may start to go mouldy, in which case it is best to remove the mouldy food and let the worms rest. They should always start off with small amounts of food, to get used to their new home. It is hard to feed the worms too little, as they can go for a few weeks without new food being added. Before going on holiday, make sure to add new bedding and new food.

What can and can't I feed my worms?

Worms will eat almost anything fruit and vegetable related, cut up small. They aren't excited about onions, garlic and citrus. Small amounts of starch in the form of old bread (not mouldy!), rice or pasta are also tolerated. They enjoy coffee grounds (including the filter) and tea leaves (also tea bags). 

 

How long can my worms go without food?

Before going on holiday, for example, the worms can be fed and then left for a couple of weeks. They even enjoy short breaks from working.

 

 

What do I do if fruit flies appear?

When this occurs, it might be a sign that there is too much food in the bin. Avoid adding rotting or mouldy food. If food has gone mouldy in the bin, remove it. It can be helpful to bury the food under the existing compost, or even cover everything with a sheet of newspaper and spray it wet, letting the sides of the paper stick to the sides of the bin, so the flies can't escape and therefore die off. Leave bin uncovered.

Clouds of fruit flies can be vacuumed up, or caught with a fruit fly trap. Fruit fly sticky strips are very good for catching the flies. 

Leaving the bin open outside for a few hours can serve as temporary relief.

 

How and when can I harvest the worm compost?

As soon as the bottom feeding tray is full of compost, or worm castings, and the worms have 

successfully migrated to the feeding  tray above, the tray full of compost (now without worms) can be removed and emptied.

There might still be worms in this tray, in which case do the following:

 

1.Place the tray of compost on top of the other trays in direct sunlight. The light will force the worms down into the darkness. 

2.Remove layers of compost from the top until you encounter worms. Then allow them to move downwards again before repeating the process until all the compost has been removed. This empty tray can be left on the top of the system. Add new bedding and a small amount of food as soon as it is clear that feeding tray below the empty tray is full enough for the worms to move from the bottom upwards through the holes.

What is the ideal temperature for my worms?

Worms prefer temperatures between 20-30°C (68-85°F) for ultimate reproduction but can handle temperatures down to 12°C and are happiest when the soil does not get too dry. Extreme temperatures will cause them to die, especially when the bin is left outside in very hot temperatures. Too much heat will turn the bin into an oven, killing the worms.

 

How wet/dry should it be inside the worm bin?

They prefer their environment to not be too dry, but also not so wet that they will drown or try to crawl out. Ideally, the contents of the bin should resemble a wrung out sponge. If too wet, leave the lid off or slightly to the side, to allow the bin to dry out. If too dry, use a spray bottle to add a bit of moisture to the contents of the bin. 

 

When will my worms stop reproducing?

Worms are smart and will stop reproducing as soon as there are enough worms in the system in relation to space and food availability. They will not reproduce if the situation is not ideal for bringing new life into their world. 

 

 

Will my worms try to escape?

The worms will only try to escape if they are unhappy. There are a few reasons this might occur, and these are easy to remedy!

 

1. It is too wet inside the worm bin. Like earthworms on the sidewalk, who have escaped after heavy rainfall, compost worms breathe 

through their skin and will drown if their environment is too wet. Leaving the lid off the box will help things dry out, and because worms are sensitive to light, a light source above the box will encourage the worms to burrow down and see that their home really is wonderful!

 

2. If the worms are too cold, they will gather in a ball together to try and keep warm. If they are too hot, they will move away from the food 

to the lower trays where they will be away from direct heat. Exposed to over 30°C temperatures 

they will die. Avoid leaving the bin in direct sunlight, as this will turn the bin into an oven. 

 

3. The wrong kinds of food will also make the worms want to escape. They don't like spicy, salty, or oily food, or anything that might have chemicals or pesticides on it. They might also attempt to escape if they don't get enough food. Though this is rare.

 

4. Worms that have congregated on the sides or inside of the lid, trying to escape, can be removed by carefully sliding a dull butter knife underneath them to lift and move them back into the safety of the bin. Then regulate the wetness of the bin.