Mites in My Worm Bin
by Dave Perez
(Cabarita Beach, NSW Australia)
I found gold coloured mites in my worm bin. I only feed the worms mulched up veggie waste and shredded paper and cardboard but these little critters are everywhere when I lift off the covers.
Hope you can help.
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Dave, my friend, you’re absolutely right, you’ve got mites! Well, your worm bin has mites, so that’s a little less disconcerting. : )
Mites are always present in your worm bin, however, their populations are usually kept in check. In situations like yours, where they get out of control, they become an issue for our worms. They actually parasitise our worms, that is, they feed on them (along with other wastes in your bin). Ahhhhhhhh!!!
Why did this happen?
Mites thrive in worm bins that are excessively moist and acidic. So two questions for you?
Is your bin overly moist?
Have you ever added any calcium supplements (e.g. calcium carbonate, rock dusts) to your bin? I recommend mixing a little ground calcium or rock dust into all food wastes before adding them to your bin.
1. Leave the lid off of your bin for a few days to allow excess moisture to evaporate. You can even put it out in the sun for several hours, assuming it’s warm enough in AUS. I couldn’t do that up in Canada right now. I’d kill the mites, but I’d be left with worm ice cubes.
2. Add more shredded newspaper to the top layer of your bin. This will help mop up some of the excess moisture.
3. Stop feeding your worms for a week or two. You may have been feeding too frequently, and thus not allowing your worms to consume all of the food. This would create excess moisture in your bin.
4. See my note above re calcium to help raise the pH levels.
If the above solutions don’t solve your mite issue, than you may need to change the bedding all together. Hopefully, this is not the case.
Please keep us posted.
Compost Junkie Dave
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