Here is a recent “burning” question (could be viewed as a pun given the subject matter, but I’m actually referring to our recent contest) from Richard R.:
Yesterday my children found an old bottle of v8 vegetable juice that had been sitting in the sun for about 6 months. I opened it and it didn’t have a foul smell at all, instead smelled like tomato sauce. I poured it onto the top of my worm inn and my worms flipped out! They acted as if it burned them! They were literally spinning over and over, turning, the way a dog rolls over! I felt so terrible I quickly diluted the mass blob of v8 juice with water and the worms who moved out of the sludge settled down! The only ingredient that was worrisome was the citrus. Did I burn my worms? Is it safe to add v8 in moderation? I made sure to mix it up with rabbit manure and newspaper after it burned them as a way to ensure they don’t continue getting burned. I hope this was the type of question you were after!
While I’m sure pure lemon juice wouldn’t be the greatest thing to pour on your worms – and yes, it might cause them to writhe around (don’t plan on testing to find out!) – I’m pretty sure I know what the real culprit was in this case.
Did you happen to notice if SALT was included as an ingredient?
Last time I checked, all of these tomato/veggie cocktails (and regular tomato juice in a can) contained a boatload of sodium (which is why the “health benefits” of drinking a lot of this stuff are questionable at best).
Worms are extremely sensitive to salts, so it’s really important to be careful with foods that do contain a fair amount of it. I don’t go overboard with this (eg. avoiding every single morsel of food that might have some salt in it), personally, but I definitely avoid things like potato chips, other salted snack foods, and…well…V8!
(sorry Richard – couldn’t resist! Hope that doesn’t…uhhh…rub salt in the wound! lol).
All teasing etc aside, it’s important to assure you that you’re definitely NOT the only person to harm worms with salts! And, by the way, your water-bath rescue attempt was definitely right on target!
Another common scenario occurs when vermicomposters use bagged potting soil for bedding in their vermicomposting system. These soil blends often contain fertilizer salts, which can also have a similar impact on the worms.
Just as an aside, I did a quick search to see how much salt V8 contains and I found this interesting article:
The title says it all! Yikes!
Anyway – again, please be assured I’m not picking on you here, Richard. I am really glad you shared this one with me since I think this could help a lot of others avoid harming their worms in a similar manner!