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question about worms

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question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/11/2012, 11:24 am

I have started my worm farm a few weeks ago and things seem to be going well, however the "babies" they are having are white.
NOT the red colour of the worms I bought.
The booklet said that they should be the same colour as the adults, other wise these are OTHER worms, growing because the "farm" is too acidic.

A few years ago a friend worm farmer gave me a bag of some "worm starter" and they were just tiny white threads.

Just wondering if anyone knows whether the white ones are OK?
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Re: question about worms

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/11/2012, 12:22 pm

Except for being white, do they have the look of a red wiggler? Mine usually start out a pale shade of gray but become reddish unless they have been eating straw, than they are sort of yellow-gray.

Disclaimer, I don't farm them but I do toss spring pinworms into planters.... in the fall when I put the soil ball into the chicken tractor it is full of red wigglers.

Debs....on my way to Sunnyside for a berry class
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Re: question about worms

Post  littlejo on 2/12/2012, 7:36 am

Mine are just tiny minatures of their parents. I'd just try to add some crushed eggshell if it's getting too acidic, or maybe let it dry ou a bit, may be too wet. Jo
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/12/2012, 10:26 am

Thanks
I have added egg shells and yesterday I went in and there was a bad smell and the worms were escaping and dying in the pan underneath that for some reason was not draining
I was horrified.
I have added more paper, cleaned out the underneath tray, left the lid off to deal with condensation. Really not sure what I did wrong. But I seem to have destroyed the worm farm Sad
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Re: question about worms

Post  littlejo on 2/12/2012, 11:22 am

Adding egg shells will not harm the worms. Maybe the little white worms, which are not red wigglers, have died? I used to have a drain, and the worms would get in it and clog it up. I realized I just was keeping it too wet, and really didn't need a drain. If you feel up to it, scoop down to the bottom and see if your worms are not just hiding. Escaping usually means it's too wet, or they need food, but don't add any wet food, try a bit of cornmeal or oatmeal. The paper is ok. Don't know what would cause the smell.

Jo
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/12/2012, 11:28 am

thanks a lot, I will try the oatmeal for now.
I put some dog hair in, that was the last thing.... that I though might have?????
likely it is too wet, but it just does not seem that wet.
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Re: question about worms

Post  plantoid on 2/12/2012, 7:18 pm

@GWN wrote:I have started my worm farm a few weeks ago and things seem to be going well, however the "babies" they are having are white.
NOT the red colour of the worms I bought.
The booklet said that they should be the same colour as the adults, other wise these are OTHER worms, growing because the "farm" is too acidic.

A few years ago a friend worm farmer gave me a bag of some "worm starter" and they were just tiny white threads.

Just wondering if anyone knows whether the white ones are OK?



GWN,
We need a picture if at all possible as those white things may or may not be worms
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/12/2012, 7:43 pm

I will try tomorrow, but in the mean time for some reason they are all trying to escape and dying underneath.
The worms that is.
It really is a mess, and I feel so badly I really do not know what I did wrong.

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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/13/2012, 12:41 pm

This is one shot

just a better profile
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Re: question about worms

Post  plantoid on 2/13/2012, 5:58 pm

That's intersting.. worms going down to escape ... to me they look well and truly deep frost bitten on the fron end but the rear end of the big one on the right appears ton have eggs already on the outward journey .

Those white worms remind me of the milk worms our new puppy had but smaller. you aren't using cat muck or dog muck in the composterworm bin are you ?

Is there any life in them at all ? ( warm a few in a screw to jar in the house to see if they waken up ).
Where have you been keeping the worm box and what sort of temperatures has it had to experience over the last four months?

too cold can let the water freeze and break down the veg matter in large quantities which the worms can't readily handle but they will in time if you can add some thing to absorb some of the liquid in the bin.
I've used a sprinkle of dry grow bag fibre contents & 4 inch cut squares of newspaper to add a five layer thickness on top of some liquidized carrot pulp to absorb and hold moisture off my worms & absorb it from the decomposing veg .
The worm farm smelt like stinking rotting cabbages or rotting eggs ( sulphurated hydrogen ) till I realized what was wrong.
It's a lot sweeter now and the worms are making more as well as giving me compost


I think that earlier you said you didn't understand why the liquid was not drainig off the bin.. have you tired to unblock the drain tap when it is in the open position.

I seem to recall that one member puts a bit of panty hose on the inside part of the tap so worms cannot enter the tap and block it.


Last edited by plantoid on 2/13/2012, 6:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/13/2012, 6:10 pm

these are all indoor worms. This "worm farm" is in my bathroom and being kept at 20 degrees celcius.
I am starting to think that perhaps the problem MIGHT be that the fellow who sold us the worms AND the "worm farm"
gave us specific instructions to line the bottom of the tray with this fabric he gave us, then to put KOIR on top of that and then a pile of compost and then the worms
This fabric seems to draw them under and it does not really absorb the moisture.
So what I have done is to put newspaper under the fabric and it seems to be doing better.
My concern is that I am trying to grow worms and they seems to be "slithering to their death" below.
There are still a few that are alive, but I did buy a pound of them.
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Re: question about worms

Post  plantoid on 2/13/2012, 6:14 pm

I've just added and edited my previouspost.
can you drain off any liquid in the bottom of the bin ?
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Re: question about worms

Post  plantoid on 2/13/2012, 6:17 pm

Are those white hairs shown in both pictures actual white worms embedded/eating into the red worms or are they just white hairs
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/13/2012, 6:27 pm

We have covered the drain with a mesh
The stuff that accumulated was really thick though did not seem to want to drain.
We have cleaned out the bottom and I have laid some shredded paper down there to catch them.

The little white things are the little worms they are moving and squirming just like the other worms, they do not seem to be eating the worms either.
Everything is squirming except the dead ones at the bottom BB\'s happy face
Perhaps this is something that the "tincture of time" might resolve??

My booklet said that the little white worms were not bad, they just were not the worms we wanted, if that makes sense.


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Re: question about worms

Post  plantoid on 2/13/2012, 7:20 pm

I think those white worms are called " pot worms "and are frequently grown for fish tank food.
They eat the same food as your red worms and will outnumber them many times over.

They prefer an acidic food source .. that made me wonder what you have in your bin but you did say coir and that's a wee bit acidic .
Could the sludge in the bottom of the bin have been too acidic for the red worms ?
My red worms do get down into the sump but seem to make it back out again to their latest rotting food level .

Ever considered hand picking out some red worms and starting off in a new bin with them to see if you have managed to only get red worms breeding , then if you have clean out the old worm bin and restock with your clean crop.


There are oodles of worm sites on the search engines if you feel like looking for more info on vermiculture and worm farming.
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Re: question about worms

Post  littlejo on 2/13/2012, 8:32 pm

I would be interested in a pic of the 'material' the 'guy' had you put in the bottom. I've never heard of that in a worm bed. I agree the white worms are probably pot worms. I've never had any in my worm bed.

the following article says it indicates the bin is acidic, some crushed eggshells should take care of that. Also the presense of these worms indicates lots of finished castings.



http://www.allthingsorganic.com/How_To/12.asp
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hmm...

Post  danndacia on 2/13/2012, 9:25 pm

I have two bins going indoors and have tried two different bedding methods in each.

In bin 1, I use mostly newspaper, about 6-8 inches deep. Shred into 1# pieces, soak and ring out in a bowl of water until it feels like a damp sponge. When I started it, I also put a shovel full of compost from my bin outside. This bin stays warm, stays just damp enough and keeps the worms reproducing.

The second bin has a 50/50 mix of newspaper and straw from a feed store, I did not add any compost. The hay seems to dry the bin out MUCH faster and the worms eat more newspaper than food. I have not noticed as much reproduction going on, but they eat A LOT.

The smell in your box could be from an excess of food rotting before the worms get to it. When they are new in the habitat it takes a little while for them to settle in, make babies and really eat a ton of food. Also, make sure you are burying the food, that will help with the smell. Try some hay to keep excess moisture down. I only go in about every 3-5 days with a spray bottle of warm water and mist everything down to damp (not wet, they will drown). They just need enough to keep their bodies moist and hydrated.

As far as eggshells, crush them as fine as possible. You can also throw in a handful of sand, but they must have one or the other to aide in digestion.

Try the book, "Worms Eat My Garbage." It's intense, but thorough.

Good Luck!

Dacia
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/13/2012, 9:28 pm

wow thanks guys, I think that is what I needed
I just bought these worms a few weeks ago, the guy was totally into worms he was very specific about what to use.... IE this cloth.
But I agree, I think the cloth is the problem.
I am going to clear the whole thing about and start with paper.

HMMM I am going to have to find a hand lens

thanks again
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/13/2012, 9:37 pm

just 2 more ?s
Is the inside house temp OK?... 20 celcius... I think that is about 70 farenheit

second question, what about light? Should I keep in dark where they are?

thanx
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Re: question about worms

Post  danndacia on 2/13/2012, 11:10 pm

The easiest way to make them happy is "think tropical." high 70's and humid. 70 is a little on the cooler side (68-77 is ideal), but that should not be part of the problems you've been having. They do not like light!

I also wanted to mention that if you have the type of bin with a drain spout, some recommend keeping it open all the time with a cup to catch any liquid. Otherwise too much can build up with nowhere to go and they have been known to overflow.

Another fun way to control excess moisture is to add a peat worm. Take an old stocking and fill it with peat moss, tie off both ends and put it in the bottom of the bin. Every now and again change it out for a new one and add the used peat to your beds or outside compost (minus the stocking).

As for your Pot Worms, they do the same job as the redworms so if the idea is to compost, let them be. They do reproduce quickly and can compete in numbers, but they just expedite the process.
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/13/2012, 11:59 pm

thanks danndacia
The KOIR I have been using is that coconut shell stuff broken down to a peat moss alternative.

I think I have done all I can for now, I think I need to go away for a week or so Smile

I think that perhaps what they need now is some neglect.

I guess I am also having trouble deciding what to feed them, all the stuff destined for the compost pile is either too hard, or citrus, or garlic.
So i am finding that NOTHING seems good enough to feed the worms.......

I also have a geriatric dog that I am fussing over ....
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Re: question about worms

Post  danndacia on 2/14/2012, 12:38 am

They actually like citrus. mine LOVE cantaloupes. Usually once a week I make them a good dinner and I always want to take a picture and post it because it makes rotten bananas, apple peels, celery tops, egg shells and onions sprinkled with coffee grounds look tasty! They are supposed to like cabbage, but mine hate it. They like horse "apples" but since I keep my boxes in the kitchen, I only put kitchen waste in it and leave the manure for making Mel's Mix. They even like pancakes and pizza crust.

All this posting got me up to check on them and from the looks of it, I have some VERY happy worms and should have some babies in a few weeks cheers

Keep me posted!

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Re: question about worms

Post  Glendale-gardener on 2/14/2012, 4:33 pm

Yeah, mine get a LOT of orange peels because my 3 year old eats them every day. I read on a site once that a woman put a whole pineapple in her bin (she was leaving for a week and the pineapple wouldn't have lasted) When she got home, all her worms weren't just dead, but gone! She contacted "somebody" about it and apparently an overload of the strong acid in pineapple can basically dissolve them. I read this on this site btw- it was unconfirmed by the site author, but I'm still a bit paranoid about adding too much acid.
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Re: question about worms

Post  GWN on 2/16/2012, 10:59 pm

Ok I have ordered the book "worms eat my garbage" funny how used books are 3 dollars but shipping is 14.
??
I have found an actual worm egg, JUST like in Joshes film.
I do still have worms moving around, and I have decided that if I want them to reproduce, I really need to give them some time on their own.
Their own space!! PRIVacy!
I will see what they are doing in a week or so.
Thanks so much for all the great information. I will take all of these suggestions to heart.
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