Tiny Red ‘Bugs’ in Worm Bin
A question from Kelly
We recently started our bin. Picked up a large bucket of
worms/compost from Growing Power here in Milwaukee. Set up our bin
with bedding and food etc. we went on vacation for a week came back
and the inside lid had tons of water moisture on it. We actually
dumped it off (so we drilled more holes for air to release) BUT, we
also discoved little itsy bitsy tiny red bugs…the size of a
strawberry seed all over the inside lid were the water was trapped.
Is this a problem? Can it get worse? What can I do?
It definitely sounds as though you have had a population explosion of mites (more closely related to spiders than insects). Check out the photo I’ve included below – do your ‘bugs’ look anything like the brownish-red critters? (the other guys are Springtails, by the way)
Mites VERY common in worm bins – especially your typical, enclosed plastic bin. Generally this isn’t something to need to worry about too much. They won’t harm your worms, and are just taking advantage of an available food source.
Mites and Springtails on rotting melon
They seem to love wet conditions and water-rich food wastes like cucumber and melon. As I’ve written previously, now that I am using open systems (much drier and more air flow), I hardly see any of the common worm bin mites anymore – I’m sure some of them are still there, but likely living down where the moisture levels are higher.
I’d suggestion drilling a bunch more air holes (sounds like you are way ahead of me there) and adding lots of dry, absorbent bedding at the top of your bin to help create a drier environment in this zone. Also, if there seems to be excess food waste in the bin, you may want to cut back on the amount you are feeding your worms.
Hope this helps!