Site Meter

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.

Love your newsletter.

Our Answer

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.

Your Solutions

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

Ps – If you found this post useful, please “Like” us on Facebook and tell your friends about our Tribe of passionate composters.

Comments for Mites in My Worm Bin

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 06, 2012
Slug eggs
by: Mary and Ron

What about slug eggs in our worm bin? Does the same advice apply?

We mulched our beds with leaves this fall but we’re now finding slug eggs in the mulch. Can we move the leaf mulch to the worm bins or should we pile them off to the side and attempt to compost the pile?

Feb 07, 2012
Slugs in My Worm Bin
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Hi Mary and Ron,

I wouldn’t advise following the same advice for slugs as I would for mites. Instead, try the ol’ beer in the garden trick. That is…fill a shallow container with beer and bury it almost up to it’s rim in your worm bin. The slugs are attracted to this tasty treat and when they go in for a swig they’ll drown (gruesome, isn’t it?). Check your trap regularly to remove slugs and refill with beer as needed.

Avoid using your leaves in your worm bin. You can either continue to use them as a mulch outside your worm bin or compost them as you suggested.

Another way to avoid slugs in your worm bin is to make sure you’re burying your worm food properly. Be sure to tuck it underneath a good 2+ inches of bedding material.

Sep 23, 2013
Worm food recipe- makes for great castings!!!
by: Eleet Doja

*I don’t add these elements every time I feed the worms*
*Amounts listed below are for approx. 2 gallons of moist kitchen scraps*

4 cups perlite
1-2 cups well-rinsed coco coir fiber
1 tablespoon greensand
2 tablespoons crushed or ground oyster shells
1 tablespoon granular rock phosphate
1/4 cup all organic alfalfa pellets or meal
2 tablespoons kelp meal
2 tablespoons humate(humic acid ore shale)
plenty of dried leaves, stems roots
2 cups shredded junk mail/paper

This works so well because minerals breakdown pretty fast when in proximity to high levels of bioactivity from the microbial life. These minerals are ones that are hard to make available all naturally, like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and many micro and secondary nutrients as well. All those are especially impotant during flowering or blooming stage. Try this, you will be amazed at the results.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It’s easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Composting Worms FAQ.