Question from Lauren:
I have a worm bin 360, have had my worms active in it for almost 6 weeks. I added a bunch of old produce to it 2 days ago and today I went to look and a bunch of them have clumped up between the two top brown paper layers I have beneath the lid. Also, the food I put in is moldy. Do I need to remove the food? Are they overwhelmed and trying to get more air? Thank you!
Based on the info you shared, I would definitely assume here that the worms are distressed. You need to be really careful about how much food you add at once in any sort of enclosed plastic bin system.
Too much waste – especially if no steps have been taken to optimize it for the worms (not sure if this is the case here) – can lead to the release of noxious gases such as ammonia (very toxic for worms) as well as anaerobic conditions, which can also be harmful.
My advice would be to remove most of the food, to mix in some more moistened bedding material, and to leave the lid off (with a light shining over top) for a while.
With open systems (eg. Worm Inns) you can definitely get away with “overfeeding” much more easily, since the air flow clears out harmful gases and augments the (aerobic composting) process in general.
Hope this helps!