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Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

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Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  nosmok on Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:02 pm

My 3 tub Rubbermaid worm farm was doing well until several months ago, when it was "visited" by soldier flies.  The fly larvae and worms coexisted, but on recent inspection my bins are loaded with audibly munching larvae and not a worm in site!  The larvae leave very little compost behind.  I've been siphoning off the lechae for irrigation/fertilization but wonder if I should rinse the whole thing out and reworm?  That's what Uncle Jim's recommends, but wondering if the larvae could be useful in a compost bin or elsewhere?
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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  No_Such_Reality on Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:37 pm

The soldier flies are super efficient at converting the food/green waste. I've got a multi-tiered system and they only become a problem if I get over zealous with adding too much kitchen waste.

Only solution I've found is the raise the infected layer and put another tray between it and the lower layers that the worms run and hide to. You can then scoop out the larvae and through them in the compost pile and get the worms back to normal.

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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  nosmok on Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:52 am

I cleaned out the bins but have a swarm of live larvae in bottom bucket.  It seems that adding them to my compost barrel will only result in feeding the larvae not hastening my compost maturation.  Is this the case?  They seem so efficient in breaking down waste, I don't want to find an empty barrel in a few weeks.
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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  batmap on Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:48 pm

I suggest you search the web for compost bugs or pages similar to links below.
http://www.ehow.com/list_6963948_bugs-live-compost-piles.html
http://www.soyouwanna.com/bugs-aid-composting-21568.html
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t13379-good-bug-bad-bug-in-compost
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humus
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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  llama momma on Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:31 pm

Redwormcomposting.com is the place I go for all my questions.  For starters here is what the owner of the site had to say--

 Black Soldier Fly Larvae – while these guys CAN basically co-exist with worm in a vermicomposting system (they don’t attack the worms or anything like that), their presence may indicate that conditions have shifted away from “ideal” for the worms. They tend to appear when temps are pretty warm/hot, and their fast waste-processing can result in even more heat being produced. A good strategy when you start to see these guys is to slow down your feeding a lot and add loads of bedding instead. The larvae definitely prefer a waste-rich environment, so you’ll likely start to see a decline in their numbers after a while.
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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  gwennifer on Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:03 pm

Too bad you don't have chickens to feed the larvae too. I know of a website that promotes raising soldier fly larvae as a win-win for getting rid of all table scraps and raising free nutrient rich food for the chickens at the same time.
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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  lzalvis on Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:07 am

I've had my worm bin for a year now, and wanted to chime in.  I started with one humble rubbermaid bin in my garage - holes drilled, kept it watered, etc.  Well it expanded so fast, and I kept it TOO wet, that low and behold I had a bin full of loud, crunchy, squirmy BSF larvae.  The compost bin also started to *stink*.    Blech.  I called the super-helpful worm guy I bought my little wormies from, and he said also that - they can co-exist, and are also good composters.  But their presence meant the worm bin had gotten too wet for the worms.

So soon thereafter, I decided to move my worm bin outside.  I found some old 4x4's and build a 2x6' bin directly on top of the ground.  It keeps an even moisture level much easier, so I don't have as much the pesky maggot problem.  It's easier to tend too, and the worms have so much more room to eat, poop and procreate.  Yessssss

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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  llama momma on Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:33 pm

Izalvis---That sounds great. I'm jealous! 

I have a bunch of old cedar wood fence slats to make an outdoor bin.  I keep stalling because I'm afraid of losing worms during Ohio winters.  I know there are ways to insulate but still, I keep putting it off.  So for now I have 9 basement bins. There is another project in the works of a 8ft by 4 ft. bed in the basement which would be all the room I could ever need or want. Then the outdoor bed could become a nice experiment to place excess worms I suppose.
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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  lzalvis on Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:29 am

Llama - I struggle with my plants, but I sure know how to grow some worms!!  Now if I can figure out the best way to get all that great worm compost out of there!
wow, 9 basement bins??  That takes dedication Smile
Our Atlanta winters are nothing like yours.  But I know that when it gets colder, my little guys dive right down to the bottom.  Plus it's all covered with black plastic and a light hangs inside.  It's SO easy being outside.  Maybe if you started gangbusters in teh spring, you'd have a huge pile of compost for your outdoor bin, which would give them lots of warm room to snuggle down into by winter.

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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  sanderson on Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:48 am

My husband built an open bottom worm bin for me from scrap lumber and salvaged door knobs.  I put last year's compost remains with wonderful red wigglers in it a few days ago, plus the fleshy fruit pits in one corner.  I was hoping the worms would make some black gold from the flesh and then I could throw away the stripped pits.

However, a gillion black soldier fly larva appeared in the pit area, almost overnight.  Last Friday night, I fed the worm tubes and tucked some food in the original wormy compost and buried it.  Last night it was swarming with the BFL.  At least the pits are stripped so I can remove them.  Embarassed

I moved aside the top material and found this "coffee grounds" material.  Should I sift out as many BSL to save the worms?  Maybe they dived down into the dirt?
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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  llama momma on Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:26 pm

Sanderson
I would go straight over to redwormcomposting.com and post your question to Bentley.
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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  nycquilter on Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:04 pm

Llama--

I have four bins and was worried that they're taking over the basement. It still grosses my husband out. I can't imagine having 9! I am using one of the four as the finishing tub. Then, one for almost finished and two for adding scraps to.

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Re: Worm farm >>soldier fly overrun!

Post  llama momma on Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:43 pm

Hi nycquilter
If needed you could feed them less to slow down reproduction.  Oh yes I agree they are kind of gross but I over look it because they are innocent creatures with wonderful benefits.  The little guys in 9 bins keep me busy at feeding time.  Otherwise I know they want to be left alone.   Its nice to have enough for myself and sell fresh castings at the farmers market.  I give buyers an information sheet with their purchase and also tell them to take pictures of plants before using castings and 2 weeks after. I'm getting very nice responses from people.  Zero complaints so far and I think it will stay that way with fresh castings  Smile 
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