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White tiny worms in my vermicomposting bin.

 
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Hi all,

I have noticed a growing population of very small, tiny, white worms in my compost bin. I have a can-o-worms bin, and have been using the tumbleweed.com powder conditioner recommended to compensate for acidity, which I understand can be the cause, but it does not seem to be making a difference.

Any suggestions?

Many thanks.

 
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German Herrera wrote:Hi all,

I have noticed a growing population of very small, tiny, white worms in my compost bin. I have a can-o-worms bin, and have been using the tumbleweed.com powder conditioner recommended to compensate for acidity, which I understand can be the cause, but it does not seem to be making a difference.

Any suggestions?

Many thanks.



Without pictures it's not possible to say but my best guess are fruit fly maggots or similar sized insects that live on decaying matter.
 
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Might they be grindal worms?  See Grindal worms on DNT Aqua

They are tiny true worms that live in damp media and eat starch. People raise them as food for aquarium fish.
 
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Like See and Mk mentioned, probably either maggots of some kind, or Enchytraeus buchholzi (usually called pot worms by vermicomposters in the US). Both are helping with the composting, and do no real harm, though of course maggots will hatch into flies of different kinds, which of course can be a nuisance in an indoor system.

Pot worms are mentioned on page 5 of this document: https://dpw.lacounty.gov/epd/sg/tech_sheets/wc_info.pdf . Apparently they thrive under more acidic conditions. So you may want to check out the pH of your bin. Pot worms themselves are not a problem, but they *could* indicate that your bin is becoming overly acidic, which wouldn't be good for your composting worms in the long run. Many people add ground eggshells or oyster shells to make their bins more alkaline. A Google search of "pot worms in vermicompost bin" will give you a whole lot of info on these little critters and what they may indicate.

If you have maggots, you will probably notice fruit flies or flies around your bin soon. Burying the waste under the bedding and/ or adding a screen can help with this. Another helpful thing can be blending your food waste, or freezing it before giving it to the worms. If it is broken up more, it allows to the worms to start working on it faster, which means less time lying around creating habitat for maggots. Large pieces of fruit, especially,  take forever to be accessible to worms, and provide perfect maggot habitat in the meantime.

One thing that I overlooked when I first started my bins, was the importance of balancing the food scraps with plenty of bedding material. I used lots of bedding material when I first started up the bins, but in order to keep the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio high, it's important to keep adding bedding with almost every feeding. Or once in a while add a very large dose of bedding. Thankfully I watched a video on this before it became a problem. But it might be the most important thing you can do to keep your bin balanced and safe for the worms. I use chopped cardboard, and also partially composted leaves/ forest litter from the woodsy area at the back of my property. The worms seem to really love the forest litter, and I think it will make really high-quality castings. When I collect bags of fall leaves (leaf season is right around the corner here in Texas), I am going to add a nice layer of them to the areas in my woods where I removed litter, to hopefully not upset that little ecosystem as much.
 
German Herrera
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Thank you See, MK and Lila, your suggestions and comments are very helpful I do believe they are grindal worms, and I have yet to figure out how to add the images I captured to the original post. I will add more bedding/decomposted leaves dirt and egg shells, will continue to watch implementing your suggestions and report back. It really feels like a great community I have found here, such quick and helpful responses (Lila, thanks for the detailed information, we live under a giant oak)!
 
Lila Stevens
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You are very welcome Permies is the only forum I actually participate in. People here are just so consistently kind and helpful, wanting to learn and and share what they have learned.

If you like diving deep and learning everything you can about a subject, your might enjoy this blog https://www.redwormcomposting.com/large-scale-vermicomposting/10-years-of-vermicomposting-trenches-beyond/ . This guy is just so excited about vermicomposting, and has trialed many different ways of raising them. While I wouldn't want to some of the things he did, I did read his entire blog, and I learned so much.
 
German Herrera
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What may be the best way to check the ph of the composting bin? Ph strips? I always feel that reading them is so subjective. Please advise. Thanks.
 
Lila Stevens
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German Herrera wrote:What may be the best way to check the ph of the composting bin? Ph strips? I always feel that reading them is so subjective. Please advise. Thanks.



Honestly, I have never done tested pH, so I couldn't tell you! Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will chime in. I just add ground up eggshells whenever I have them and call it good... not the most scientific approach, but it is working so far.
 
German Herrera
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Thank you Lila, I think I'll do the same.
 
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