Possibly the most commonly found invader bugs of worm farms –
EARTHWORM MITES See photo below > > > >
PESTS – Mites
Although these tiny creatures will not actually harm your worms, they are unsightly and do compete with the worms for available food.Most worm beds usually contain several species of mites (the most important for, our purposes, being the earthworm mite), which pose no real threat to the worms unless their population spirals too high – this usually happens as a result of poor bed management. Earthworm mites are small and are usually brown, reddish or somewhere in-between. They tend to concentrate near the edges and surfaces of the worm beds and around clusters of feed. They are not known for attacking the earthworms but do eat the earthworms feed. When the mite population is too high the worms will burrow deep into the beds and not come to the surface to feed, which hampers worm reproduction and growth. High mite populations usually result from:
- Over-feeding. Maintaining a proper feeding schedule (for example: one that ensures the feed is eaten in a few days) will prevent the feed from going off in the beds.
- Feeding the earthworms meaty or wet feed. Large mite populations are often the result of using over moist garbage and vegetable refuse as feed. Adding the occasional soggy vegetable leftover probably won’t cause a problem but don’t make a habit of it.
- Over-watering. A rule of thumb when watering is to keep the beds damp but not wet. Poor bed drainage can also facilitate a mite problem and make the beds less hospitable to worms. Ensure that there are adequate drainage holes at the bottom of your worm bin or housing.
Remember the same conditions that ensure high worm production will be less favourable to mites. If you find your worm farm overrun by mites, expose the beds to the sun for a few hours. Cut back on water and feed and then, every 1 to 3 days, add calcium carbonate. Another method is to over water the bed forcing the mites to the surface and then burning them with a blowtorch. Both of these methods though are only short-term remedies and eventually you will have to improve the conditions in your worm farm if you want to keep the mite population low.
Click on the link below to find out more about worm farming pests.