Tiny White Things in Worm Bin
Here is a question from Lynette re: the critters she has been finding in her worm bin:
I’d love to see photos of pests so I know what I have and if
they are a problem. I had 1/4-1/2″ segmented critters in there during
the summer and now I have a bunch of tiny white things busily going
all over. I tried to pick the first ones up (there would be chunks of
them happily eating on something). These white things are newer and
there are now fewer of those larger wormy bugs and a definite
reduction in worms. We had a hot summer in Texas and these have been
shaded on the patio, not too dry, I’m sure. What has happened?
It is very common to encounter other creatures, aside from worms, in your worm bin. For the most part, they will be at worst an annoyance – i.e. there aren’t too many that will actually directly harm your worms.
When new critters appear in great abundance it is usually just an indication that favorable conditions (for them) have developed and/or there is plenty of food available. The shift in conditions can sometimes have a negative impact on the worms, causing them to die off or leave (if possible) – making it look as though the new critter is directly responsible for the disappearance of the worms.
Your wormy, segmented organisms sound like soldier fly larvae to me. They tend to be very common when bins sit outside in warmer regions.
Your tiny, white critters are almost certainly either springtails (first image below – brown ‘bug’ in that picture is actually a mite) or mites (lower image is a close-up shot of a common type of worm bin mite).
Worm bins kept outside are far more likely to be invaded by a wide range of other creatures, since the system will be much closer to their habitat (ie they won’t have to get into your house first). Both springtails and mites (most of them anyway) are totally harmless to worms, but may compete with them for food. Again, I suspect that your reduction in worms has been brought about by a shift in the conditions inside the bin – perhaps the hot Texas summer is responsible. Hard to say for sure though (at least without being able to see the system myself, that is).
Hope this helps a little!