Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

If you are having problems with an existing wormery, or just need some advice - then ask it here
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Phoenix
Junior Member
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:05 pm

Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by Phoenix » Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:16 pm

Hello I have had my wormery for most of a year now but in need of urgent advice with the following problem.

I am deeply troubled by my failure to keep a sustainable healthy home for the worms. What seem to be carpet beetles (from identifying them online) are breeding from my wormery, which I keep it in a utility cupboard inside my flat. Outside isn't really an option for me. Although with good insulation i could potentially keep it on the balcony They are multiplying like crazy now and finding their way throughout the place. I don't see how I can get rid of them without getting rid of the wormery completely as I imagine it's invested beyond visibility.

If there is any way I can salvage this I will be forever grateful. My problem solving has led to the idea of getting rid of the entire wormery and worms :( unless I can separate the worms and start over without any traces of carpet beetle.

Thank you for reading and hope there are some answers out there!!

Kind regards

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 542
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by WillyWorm » Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:48 am

How scary. I’ve never come across this before, in fact I’ve never heard of carpet beetles before. Is there any sign on these bugs anywhere else in your home? From the quick look I’ve had on line these things are only interested in natural fibres, fur, feather, wool and the like. I would not normally expect to find a great deal of this in a worm bin because it is slow to breakdown. Have you considered the possibility that what you have maybe springtails an insect of similar size and can have similar colouration as the carpet beetle. If it is springtails when you lift lid of your bin you will see them hoping all over the surface.
If you could have a look at the springtail on line and let us know what you think. If it’s springtails you have I can help you with that if it is carpet beetle then we will work on it.
Please do get back to me because this has got me interested
Willy

Phoenix
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:05 pm

Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by Phoenix » Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:57 pm

Hi! Thank you for replying!
I am sorry to take so long, I thought I might get an email alert and didn't check back here.

Your response is very valuable, thank you again.

I think they could very well be springtails. They are little black insects, that can fly. They seemed to fit the description of black carpet beetles very well.. I could only come to my own conclusions through googling. I had never heard of them either.

Since posting, I had assessed further and noticed a flaw in my wormery design, I made a DIY 3 bin wormery from water storage tanks and purchased worms plus extras with wormcity. They seemed to have been using the sides in between the stacked bins to populate.. So I have put a seal around each edge and numbers have decreased a lot. When I open the top there will be a couple moving about on the surface.

I just want to make sure the worms and environments are getting enough air. I have holes drilled around the top sides of each bin but I assume the bugs use these too.

I will have to research further about springtails, it will hopefully be a relief as opposed to the threat of clothes etc being destroyed. I have been trying to guage what might be getting introduced inside from my balcony garden I have on the go and various inside plants.

Many thanks again Willyworm! Legend!

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 542
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Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by WillyWorm » Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:11 pm

Hi, if they are springtails they present no threat to you, your family, your home or your worms. Springtails provide a useful service in the worm bin by helping to prepare food ready for your worms to eat. But they may not be too welcome in your home.
To control springtail have a vacuum cleaner nearby when you take the cover off your bin and quickly suck up everything just above the bedding surface, do this two or three times a day and you will quickly have them under control. Remember to empty the vacuum outside after each use.
Springtails will not venture beyond your bin because they live on moist dead vegetation.

Out of interest your three bin setup is it a vertical or horizontal system, a photo would be good.

WillyWorm

Phoenix
Junior Member
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:05 pm

Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by Phoenix » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:02 pm

Hi thanks again for the reply.

I had a look into Springtails but these have wings. I managed to take a good zoomed up photo of one and and example of scale. They gather by the bedroom window as closest light source. Accounts seem to be carpet beetle, plaster beetle, biscuit beetle etc the ones here have large wings which are never shown online.

The population has definitely died down after sealing the edges of the bins. In the photo I will replace the duct tape with rubber so I can still lift them in and out.

[after typing this up I can't upload photos, saying they are too large. I have edited to under 1mb, one is 400kb but still no luck. Do you know the size needed?]

Kind regards

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 542
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by WillyWorm » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:29 am

This is very puzzling. One of the things about carpet beetle is the fact that they don’t like moist damp places and will only eat natural fibres, fur and feather. Our worm bin should be too moist for them and I don’t think there would be enough food for them. So this is good news so is the fact that the numbers have gone down.

We are groping in the dark without some identification. Most bugs and beetle will multiply of fall in numbers depending on moisture levels but it’s knowing which way to go.

Willy

Phoenix
Junior Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:05 pm

Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by Phoenix » Fri Jan 29, 2021 3:25 pm

Ok i finally got to computer to resize images. The bug problem is looking much better which is great news for the wormery.

They have seemly disappeared from the utility room and wormery. So that is good they don't feed from the the actual contents, and it was the design of the bin setup I made which was the issue.
They are still appearing by bedroom window but much reduced, must be in a nearby gap. I read how things like carpet beetle lay 100 eggs at a time and only hatch in summertime, I am trying to put such thoughts out of mind haha.

Hoping these photos can help id this bug in case I have any follow on issues but the future is looking brighter!

Many thanks for your help Willy
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Lilwriggler
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Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by Lilwriggler » Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:45 pm

Thats more like a fungus gnat than a carpet beetle i would suggest.

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 542
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by WillyWorm » Sat Jan 30, 2021 10:07 am

That’s an impressive looking bin. The thing with a vertical bin is the gaps around the trays allow air and therefore oxygen to get around the setup. Blocking these gaps can result in a greater chance of the bin ending up anaerobic.
The gap also allows for the trays to drop down as the worms convert the kitchen waste into castings. Having said that I can fully understand your concerns about these insects invading your home.
I’m not the best on insect identification but it looks very “gnat like” to me. Gnats like moist damp conditions and consume rotting and decaying vegetation. Making a worm bin the perfect hangout for them. The normal answer to this in a wormery is to add extra bedding on top of any food provided, to feed using the four corner system so as not to expose any food when making the next feed and to place a neat fitting piece of cardboard on top. This will prevent the gnats getting to the food and laying eggs. The life cycle of a gnat is approximately one month so getting shot of them completely can take a while.
Now we have a photo of your bugs I will do a bit more research later.

Willy

Phoenix
Junior Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:05 pm

Re: Help needed! bugs and keeping a wormery inside

Post by Phoenix » Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:12 pm

ok fantastic. Thank you very much for the further information. greatly appreciated!

I have been a bit concerned about oxygen levels with my setup, considering it is tucked away inside too. This is the first time i've tried out worm composting so it's all learning for me.
Will be problem solving this in line with clearing out the bugs. Hopefully I can go back to no cover around the sides and keep levels right so summer doesn't attract more things.

Maybe I can have a fine mesh to cover airways, and i'll step up the shredded cardboard and a covering.

VERY GRATEFUL these don't seem to be carpet beetles because that stressed me right out! haha. Thanks Lilwriggler and Willy
Someone else had also suggested fungus knats but the first imagery online I saw put me off. On a second look they probably are the black variety!

Thank you :heart:

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