Published on October 14th, 2011 | by Lynn Fang


How to Start a Worm Bin Compost

Basic Troubleshooting

Most problems are caused by the following sources:

  • Too much or too little water
  • Too little air flow
  • Too much light
  • Food isn’t buried deep enough
  • Too much food

Fruit fly invasion: Bury your food several inches below the top. Keep the lid on, and make sure there isn’t too much food. To get rid of fruit flies, make sure you aren’t bringing them in via your kitchen scraps. You can try microwaving or boiling your kitchen scraps in water first to kill the larvae and eggs. Then be sure to cool down and drain the kitchen scraps before feeding them to your worms.

Maggots: These are usually a sign of too much fat or animal products, which red wrigglers warm up to rather slowly. If that’s not the case, your best bet is to allow them to grow into soldier flies, and fly off. If you don’t want to do this, you’ll probably have to start your bin over. The good thing is, maggots are pretty good decomposers, and soldier flies don’t harm you or your worms.

Stink: Usually foul odor comes from lack of aeration, encouraging anaerobic decomposition (oxygen-free), which produces alcohols as a byproduct. To get rid of the stink, make sure your bedding isn’t matted down where air can’t flow through. Also make sure it’s not too wet.

Swamp: Too much water? If you’re feeding your worms wet food, add more dry shredded newspaper or cardboard. Also remember to see where the drainage is at the bottom of your bin. Add drain holes if they aren’t they already.

That’s it! You’re on your way to some fine compost!

Ready to start a worm bin compost? What are your thoughts and questions on the topic?

[CC Image by Preoccupations via Flickr]

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About the Author

is a compost consultant and educator, eco-conscious writer, and intuitive artist. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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