Help: Dealing with Pests

1. Ants

According to most sources, ants are alright to have in worm bins. Though ants may help in breaking down your worm bin’s contents, some species will prey on the worms. Other ants may not attack your nightcrawlers. However, in high amounts, they will compete with the worms for the same food source, which may kill the worms. Ants aren’t harmful in small amounts, and are normal. However, they may be difficult to eliminate, especially when they create a colony out of your worm bin. To avoid these complications, prevention is key.

If your worm bin already has ants, try temporarily increasing the moisture of the bin to drive the ants away. Also, watch out for winged ants and make sure to kill them as they are the queens, which are the only fertile female ants in the colony. Killing the queen would effectively wipe out an ant population. Since your worm bin will be extra wet, do not feed your worm bins temporarily, and add some fresh, dry bedding to soak up the extra moisture. Lastly, try disturbing the contents of the bin, and the ants will eventually find a new place to settle in.

2. Mites

One of the most common pests in worm bins, mites are some of the most annoying insects to deal with. Mites like wet, acidic and almost anaerobic conditions. Although a small amount of mites is normal, a sudden influx of mites may point to a larger problem, such as overfeeding, overwatering, or a worm bin that is too acidic. Though it can be difficult to keep mites completely out, there are many ways to prevent them from colonizing your worm bin. First, make sure to keep moisture levels on the lower side by adding dry newspaper or cardboard. Next, stop feeding for about a week in order to encourage the mites to leave your bin. Then, add more bedding to increase airflow and promote aerobic conditions.  Lastly, check the pH of your bedding. If you see mutated looking worms, it’s probably due to an excess amount of food, or highly acidic conditions. Add crushed eggshells, crushed oyster shells or a small amount of agricultural lime to increase the pH.