Here is an msg from Adam H:
I’ve been worm farming for quite awhile now. I know what spring tails
and the red mites look like. I have ticks in my rubbermaid worm bins
inside the house. We do have lots of ticks outdoors here in phoenix,
but I have no idea where these ones came from. The bedding I use is
coco coir, shredded paper, shredded cardboard, and my rock dust/oyster
shell flour mixture. I don’t use any manures or anything in my indoor
bins. I do have dogs that could and likely do bring them into the
house, which may be how they got to the bins. Is there an easy way to
get rid of them? I have food grade Diatomaceous Earth, but those bins
are way too moist to use that stuff on them. I have lots of worms in
the bins so I don’t want to bring them outside and cook them. Any
Mites and ticks are very closely related and they look a great deal alike. I’d personally be very surprised if you ended up with any number of ticks in an indoor worm bin. Maybe in an outdoor bin if there happened to be lots of them in the area.
There are many different species of mites that can end up in a vermicomposting system – especially if the worms have had any association with manure. You mentioned never having used manures – but there is still a good chance that any worms you have purchased were raised on manures. It’s entirely possible that various other types of mites (maybe as eggs) could have ended up coming with the worms as a result.
I’ve been amazed by the array of shapes and sizes of mites I’ve found in aged manures – some of the larger ones definitely do look like ticks.
All that being said…
Assuming you DO have ticks, my guess is that you couldn’t have too many of them – it’s not as though a vermicomposting system is an ideal breeding habitat for them – so I’d simply recommend removing them as you see them. If we’re talking here about large numbers of critters that look like ticks, again I’m almost positive you are actually dealing with harmless mites.
I guess if you wanted to be absolutely certain you might (no pun intended – lol) be able to track down an acarologist – i.e. someone who studies mites and ticks – at a local university – someone who could potentially ID the ones you have.
As an experiment you might try putting a clump of dog hair in your worm bin (examine closely and make sure no ticks on it already) to see if it lures them at all. If so, this might offer you a way to concentrate and remove them without resorting to anything drastic.
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