Babies in the lid

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Deketh
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:58 am

Babies in the lid

Post by Deketh » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:04 pm

Hey everyone
I've been noticing that the baby worms in my WC stackable wormery like to hang out in the lid, does anyone know what's up? The adults are fine, they're where they should be, it's just the babies, there's a bunch of them right now of them crawling around on the underside of the lid or on the sides of the upper tray.
It's only been in use for a month or so and all the conditions in the bin seem to be fine, this is the first batch of newborns.
Thanks!

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 464
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by WillyWorm » Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:54 pm

There are alway delinquent children and teenagers who just have to be rebellious. Worms will move to the top (lid) if the air pressure goes up or there is heavy rain or the bin is too wet. I don’t think any of these reasons apply in your case.
Are you sure they are baby compose worms or could they be potworms (Enchytraeids) these are small white worms which are often mistaken for baby composting worms. Potworms like very damp places and may move up under the lid to take advantage of the condensation which accumulates there. If they are potworms the pose no threat to you compost or the worms in it.
If they are baby composting worms they should grow out of this behaviour if they are potworms they will breed fast and help with your composting.
Just one thing to keep in mind is that if a number baby and adult worms start going up to the lid this can be an early sign of your bin going anaerobic (without oxygen) which you would need to address.

Stay safe
Willy

Deketh
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:58 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by Deketh » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:22 pm

Thanks Willy, appreciate your response.
I don't think they're pot worms, they are quite reddish. Pot worms haven't invaded this bin yet, but I've had them in my previous bin (how do they even get in anyway). I'm keeping the bin indoors so no rain going on. There is some condensation on the lid though, I was wondering if the moisture was an attraction, but then the rest of the bin is moist too! Not too moist mind you.
I'll keep an eye on things then, hopefully they'll grow out of it as you've suggested. I was curious if there were babies not in the lid but I didn't want to disturb them all by tossing the place over to find some.

Thanks again

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 464
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by WillyWorm » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:19 am

It sounds like all is well with your setup, worms do things for all manner of reasons, too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too big a population, too small a population. The list goes on trying to understand them is part of the fascination of keeping them.

Good luck stay safe
WillyWorm

Deketh
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:58 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by Deketh » Tue May 05, 2020 11:44 am

Hi again Willy, hope all is well.

I've been keeping an eye on things, I'm still getting loads of baby worms on the sides of the wormery and in the lid, and this morning there were half a dozen dead adult worms on the floor! Which had clearly tried to make a break for it during the night when it was dark.
It does seem like the conditions must be problematic for them. I tried squeezing out a handful of compost to check moisture levels and a fair amount of water came out, does that sound too wet? Despite this there's no water pooling in the sump tray. It smells ok, earthy.
Would adding a new tray help? It would at least give them a better (drier maybe) place to escape to if they're not loving the current tray, rather than dying on the floor when they try to escape!
Is it correct to say that, eventually, a tray will become less and less hospitable to worms as the original bedding gets gradually composted down to castings?

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 464
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by WillyWorm » Wed May 06, 2020 6:41 am

Hi, there is a saying when you squeeze your worms bedding if two drips of water form it is too wet if one drip it may be too wet. I would not worry too much about it if you are not getting water in the sump all should be well.
There is some research going on (I think it was in Canada) which indicated that the worms which are moved never completely settle in a new home, may be some sort of homing instinct or wanting to return to the place of birth. Babies in the lid is not a big problem and may settle down if you can dry out the bedding a little.
You have had your wormery now for about two months so things should be settling down. Normally you would wait about three months to add a second tray but it will do no harm to try it. Put it no dry and allow it to wick up some of the moisture from the first tray.

Stay safe
Willy

Deketh
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:58 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by Deketh » Wed May 06, 2020 3:32 pm

Hi Willy
Well I definitely have more than 2 drops of water coming out! I'm surprised not to see anything in the sump. I'll try to let things dry out a bit anyway, maybe put a sheet of cardboard over the top for a bit and then remove it when it gets moist and add my next tray.
Interesting stuff about the homesick first generation of worms. I've never gottne a worm bin beyond that first generation so hopefully I'll see the population become a bit more settled over time.

Thanks for your help!

Deketh
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:58 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by Deketh » Sun May 24, 2020 4:44 pm

Hi again. Some developments! Really appreciate any guidance you can give.

So I added the 2nd tray, I used coco coir (damp rather than wet) with paper and pulped card and some dried leaves for bedding, plus some of the castings from tray 1 which is now on the bottom. I had foraged some nettles & dandelion and after leaving them to wilt for a few days outside I added them to the new tray as a food source after it was in place. Not sure if it was a mistake to feed them that but I'm now wary of adding veg scraps for food because of how much moisture seems to be in the bin as a whole (fails the squeeze test but still no pooling in sump), and nettles/dandelions seemed like a drier food source. I'm not sure how to feed these guys without adding extra moisture!

Anyway, what I'm now seeing is masses of adult/immature worms in the sump each morning, huddled up into clumps, as well as hordes of babies in the lid. I've read that the clumping can be a bad sign of stress and this definitely wasn't happening before. A few dead ones too, covered with white mites. I've taken to putting the bin outside each morning and usually those issues seem to clear up and the worms leave the sump on their own back into the tray above but I'd rather be leaving it indoors the whole time. I probably should experiment and see if they leave the sump during the day when left indoors. There are worms in both trays, much more in the bottom "finished" tray than the top. The bottom tray is fairly full and I think relatively far along as vermicompost.

Frustration is setting in as I have killed worm bins before! And really thought I was gonna get it right this time. I keep on adding paper/cardboard, fluffing things up, but the moisture never seems to go down, and worms keep acting up with the clumping/constant exodus from the bedding. I dread to think what would happen if I left the light off overnight now!

What should I do next? Maybe harvest out that bottom tray to get rid of all that moisture, which could be wicking up to the top tray? What confuses me is that it smells fine, seems fine in consistency, but the worms seems to be so unhappy.

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 464
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by WillyWorm » Mon May 25, 2020 8:32 am

Hi, it seem strange, you are not the first to relate that their bin is very wet and difficult to dry out. It’s been a very dry spring and like you the other person had their bin located inside again like you they added more dry bedding and fluffed things up.
In the end they harvested the bottom tray I’m waiting to hear if that’s made a difference.
Everything you have done seems right, you could try leaving the lid off the bin during the day, this will help dry it and allow more air in. Are your worms still eating ok??
How would you feel about harvesting your bottom tray? If so give it a week or so to allow more of your worms to move to the upper tray.

Re feeding kitchen scraps. It should be fine to feed kitchen scraps if they are dry ie not wet from having been washed and peeled.

Willy

Deketh
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:58 am

Re: Babies in the lid

Post by Deketh » Mon May 25, 2020 11:07 am

Thanks Willy. I'll do as you suggest and harvest the bottom tray in a week or so, maybe try leaving the lid off a bit. I think the worms are eating ok.
Thinking back, my feedings of scraps were very wet tbf!
Is there a thread for the other person with those problems? Would be interested to read their experiences too.

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