Question from Adrian:
Quick question – I am about a month after moving my worms from a
plastic system to the Worm Inn Mega, and during the move I mixed some
month old horse manure into the bedding. As you can guess, things are
now heating up to 90° in the centre, so my worms are heading to the
outside of the bag. Is there anything I can do, aside regular airing
and water spraying, to get past this stage more quickly?
I felt it was important to address this one here on the blog since I very regularly mention using “aged horse manure” as a living material. With a system the size of a Worm Inn Mega, this can have the potential to create some heating issues – especially if a lot of food is being added as well.
** NOTE TO SELF ** – it might not have been a bad idea to remember this before recently adding more than 19 lb of food waste + LOTS of living material to your own Mega! Be sure to start monitoring temps regularly! lol
In the case of a system already overheating, I would suggest using a hand rake to loosen up the materials in the upper half as much as possible (helping heat to escape). I would keep these materials moist and (if possible) point a fan towards the Inn. That said, it’s really important to be careful with adding water – too much added and you will end up with a hot anaerobic mess. Air flow does contribute to heating, but it’s also extremely important for heat release and for keeping things oxygenated (oxygen can be depleted even more quickly as things heat up).
Rotating some frozen water bottles (big pop bottles might be even better) between the system and your freezer should help to cool things off as well.
Other than that (and obviously NOT adding any more food/manure in the meantime), it’s basically going to be a waiting game.
Moving forward, my suggestion would be to: 1) make sure the manure is well-aged (a bit more earthy in smell and appearance) before using it, and 2) to add it in fairly thin layers, without too much mixing in with the food wastes.
Hope this helps!