Hi folks – sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been working on something new and exciting (worm related) recently and thus have been pretty focused. More on that fairly soon!
Anyway, I thought it might help to get back into the swing of things here with a reader question. Cindy is wondering what is wrong with her worms.
I’ve had my red wrigglers for a week now and have basically been
letting them settle in. Today when I had a look, I found some were
deformed looking … all lumpy, like someone had tied rubber bands all
up and down their bodies. Some looked like they had been travelling
along the bedding and stuck to it and tore on half … too dry? I
found some very short stumpy worms … 2mm long … babies? And two
stuck together … ok … I know what they were doing.
Anyway, I put some banana skins in that I stored over the winter,
might they be too dry?
Any info would be great!
Love your website!
Thanks for the great question. Unfortunately, the shipping process can put a lot of stress on your worms, so it is very common to have at least a few casualties along the way.
I’ve heard of worms developing bulges from being fed too much protein, but I suspect in this case it is simply some of your worms dying due to trauma from the shipping experience.
When worms approach death they get very lethargic and go quite limp – I’ve also seen the bulging (and accompanying ultra-thin) sections as well, and have found that they are much more prone to breaking apart. Often, this seems to be when the shiny round mites appear and cover the dying worms. Many mistake this for the worms being attacked, whereas it is actually the mite scavengers simply taking care of the dead (or at least almost dead) worms.
This is part of the reason I strongly encourage people to set up their systems ahead of time, and to not add any new food for a week or two after the worms arrive. It is an important time for the worms to recuperate and rehydrate, so the last thing they will need to deal with is too much food in the bin etc. Of course, I’m not suggesting this is what’ happening in your case. As mentioned, it is just inevitable that some worms are less durable than others. This may sound harsh, but it’s actually probably better to eliminate them from the gene pool anyway to help your worm population becoming stronger overall.
Moisture is definitely important in your bin – everything should be nice and moist, but not with water pooling in the bottom. If you are using a rubber bin without drainage you need to be especially careful.
Anyway – hope this helps Cindy!