Back at the end of October 2020 I came up with the kooky idea to start up what was easily my smallest worm bin ever – perhaps the smallest worm bin anyone has ever set up?
The container used was a tiny toy toolbox…on a keychain no less! (Shown in the photo below)
Yep, it was pretty small.
The goal (apart from being a goofball) was to see what effect very limited space had on Red Worm population growth. The system was set up like a miniature home worm bin and stocked with 5 cocoons.
When I checked up on things in December (Day 50) I was able to find 9 worms, but a suspected “overfeeding” incident (doesn’t take much in a bin this size) resulted in the population declining to just two adults sometime thereafter.
Finally, in the middle of March (day 140), I took pity on the remaining duo and decided to move them to a “mansion” (in comparison) – a plastic coffee tub. This is a system that has been left mostly alone – other than maybe one or two very minor feedings – for almost exactly 6 months!
Yesterday – technically “Day 327” for this particular project (including the time in the tiny bin) – I realized I was in need of some worms for another fun experiment. Given that this little tub is literally the only active indoor “worm bin” I have going (most of my systems are at my dad’s place), I decided I should check up on things!
Two birds with one stone!
Not too surprisingly, it looked as though the overall level of material in the tub had dropped quite a bit…
…and that the worms had been working on the shredded cardboard a fair bit. (Second image below is a close-up view)
In spite of the crazy level of neglect these worms have dealt with, it is clear the greatly-increased space has benefited them based on the number of worms I found.
The vast majority (50) were very tiny juveniles, similar to the one pictured below. I also found 5 worms that were somewhat larger juveniles.
I only found 3 worms I would call “adults” – and even these still looked like larger juveniles since they weren’t very big and didn’t have an obvious clitellum. It is common to find this in low-nutrition, neglected systems.
(As you can see below, they were still very large in comparison to the tiny juveniles that make up the bulk of the population)
I found quite a few empty cocoons (didn’t bother to count), but only one I considered viable.
All in all, pretty interesting! Naturally, I can’t help but wonder how big the population would be had I fed the system periodically and added more bedding.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The results of this experiment are also yet another demonstration of just how easy it is to set up and maintain some form of “Insurance Bin“.
As alluded to earlier, I am planning to transfer some of the worms over to another system for a new project – but I think I will keep this tub system going to see what sort of population of worms can actually develop in a bin this size.
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