Q. How do I look after my worms during hot weather?

A. There are a number of very simple things you can do to ensure your worms survive the summer:

  • Your worm farm must be set up in a cool, shady area, where it will not get any sun on it at all.
  • Make sure you don’t have a build up of uneaten food scraps in the worm farm. A lot of organic matter together will generate heat as it’s breaking down.
  • Leave the lid off the worm farm to prevent hot air building up inside.
  • Place a solid block of ice in your worm farm in the morning. Have an ice cream container, or a number of bottles of water, in the freezer ready to go.

Q. What should I do before going away?

A. If you are going away for a short length of time, just make sure the worm farm is in a cool place & has been watered well. Do not add extra food to the worm farm. If you wish to add some extra moist shredded paper that will be fine, but not food scraps. The worms can go quite some time without food, but you must make sure they will be cool & moist.

If you are going away for an extended time, or during the height of summer, then it would be best to put the worms in a nice place in your garden. If you have a tiered worm farm, place each tray singularly, side by side, on the soil, in a reticulated area of the garden.

Place a bag (or two, or three, depending on how long you are going away) of sheep or horse manure on the soil around the trays. Use a large piece of carpet, or similar, to cover over the trays. This will be kept moist by the reticulation. When you come home, start feeding in the trays to encourage the worms back in (you may need to wait for them to finish the manures first before they head home).

Q. There are red mites in my worm farm. Will they harm the worms?

A. The red mites are not a problem. They will not harm the worms, and they will also help to break down the food. Red mites tend to come & go, appearing when particular types of food are used, like yeast products. If you want to get rid of them, try sprinkling on some dolomite (garden lime).

Q. Worms are on the inside walls and lid of my farm. Are they trying to escape?

A. Often, the worms just wander about because they can. It’s dark and moist and it’s in their nature to move about; it’s not at all uncommon to see a few worms on the inside walls or lid of your worm farm. They may also gather in masses around some food that they really like.

However, when worms are clumping together in corners & around edges of the worm farm, this indicates that there is something wrong with the bedding they’re in; i.e. too hot, too wet, too dry, too acidic, etc. They aren't happy with the bedding and are doing their utmost to get away from it. This requires your immediate attention to determine what the problem is & rectify it.

Q. I have had my farm operating for a while now, but it seems to be taking a long time to fill up with Castings?

A. It is very important to add plenty of shredded paper on a regular basis for the following reasons:

• It helps to aerate the bedding.

• It creates more surface area for bacteria to colonise.

• Worms need 4 times more Carbon (paper, cardboard etc) than Nitrogen (food scraps/green waste).

• As food scraps are mostly liquid, the paper adds bulk for the worms to process.

Q. How do I keep ants out of my worm farm?

A. Stand the worm farm legs in containers of water & add a few drops of Methylated Spirits or Kerosene. To prevent attracting ants in the first place, make sure you bury food scraps completely in the bedding & do not overfeed.