50 Cocoon Challenge – Straw

50 Cocoon Challenge - Straw
Moistened straw plus 50 Red Worm cocoons – we are ready to roll!

The set-up of my latest 50 Cocoon Challenge (Straw Edition) came together quite nicely for me late last week (earlier than expected) when I hit upon some material – left in the bottom of my “Laundry Line Bean Gardens” – that had quite a few cocoons in it.

Apart from the fact that I am just plain excited to have another 50 Cocoon challenge underway, I am REALLY eager to see what happens in this bin – both in terms of straw rotting, and worm population growth. I have written previously about the fact that Red Worms seem to be very attracted to moistened bales of straw that have been left to site for a while (see “Red Worms Love Rotten Straw!“), but I think the warm/wet environment inside a plastic worm bin will help to make the straw habitat even more appealing!

I am also interested to see if the fact that the cocoons came in from the cold will have an impact on the hatching times. I have a hunch that worm cocoons are a little bit like some seeds in that they can be stimulated to hatch more quickly if they are first chilled for awhile. I know that Red Worm populations bounce back very quickly in the spring as things start to warm up, and I have witnessed what seems to be mass hatching in materials brought in from the cold before, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some worms hatching more quickly in this bin than in the one with the shredded cardboard (those cocoons came from indoor systems).

Anyway, not really much else to say here. I am definitely aiming to monitor both of these challenge bins a bit more closely than I have in the past – and will certainly report back with any significant developments as they occur (or more accurately, as they are discovered).

Stay tuned!

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  1. I’ve always wondered if changing the temp up would effect worm production. A couple of weeks of cool and than a couple of weeks of warm temp could increase production. Wonder if worms can tell time?

  2. I`ve taken to using quite a bit of chopped straw as bedding. It doesn`t break down super fast but it allows plenty of air into the mix, it seems. Adult worms seem to love crawling around in it too. I suspect that once adulthood is reached, breeding might be slower than you`re used to with your drink tray/egg carton cardboard.

    I`m keen to see how this one comes along.

    • Bentley
    • December 11, 2009

    Hi Guys,
    It has certainly been interesting. Unlike in the cardboard bin, I am finding it really challenging to even find the original cocoons, let alone see if their are hatchlings (so I think I’ll definitely need to set up another experiment if I have any hope of determining whether or not cold can affect hatching times). Plus, the straw certainly doesn’t hold water very well (why I always refer to it as a “secondary” bedding material.

    • vassilis
    • January 22, 2010

    hi peeps. I set a worm bin just some weeks ago with 2 packs of cocoons i purchased from ebay. I used some paper, card board and mixed it together with some chipped wood used for reptiles and have noticed that the chipped wood allows plenty of air circulation in the bin and does not allow the wet card board and shredded paper to stick together i also finished the top layer with 3 inches of dry leaves i collected from my bonzzai tree.

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