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Exercises

Look at the following problems that could occur in a wormery. What could you do to solve them?

Fruit flies are reproducing in the wormery.

Fruit flies come into the wormery with the fruit and vegetable peelings. In certain conditions they will thrive in your wormery and become a pest. Four measures you can take to prevent this:

Wrap or Dig: When you put fresh organic matter into the wormery, first wrap it in newspaper or dig it into the substrate. This will prevent flies from accessing and laying eggs within the new matter.

Cover: Use felt or a hemp mat to cover the top layer with your fresh material. The substrate will stay moist and aerated, but the flies will not get through.

Vinegar Trap: Mix up 1 part apple juice, 2 parts vinegar and some drops of dishwashing liquid in a glass or container and place it close to the wormery. This mixture will attract the flies and drown them.

Starving: In extreme cases the flies can be starved. To do this, organic matter should not be supplemented for about three weeks. Instead, the worms are fed only cardboard and rock dust for about three weeks. The worms will survive, and the fly larvae will probably not.

The wormery smells!

If the wormery smells bad, there is probably a problem with anaerobic digestion. This typically occurs when the substrate is too wet and therefore does not get enough oxygen.

Shredded cardboard can soak up the excess moisture. The wormery should also be ventilated regularly and the substrate should be dug over. Until the problem is resolved, do not add further organic material.

There are a lot of white worms appearing in the wormery.

There are ants in the wormery.

The worms do not eat enough.

If the wormery is already well-established, this can happen for the following reasons:

  • The wormery is too cold or too warm. It should be protected from the sun and be well insulated in the winter or placed indoors.

  • The pieces of organic matter are too big. The worms and microbes need longer to take them apart. Try to cut the food into smaller pieces before you add it.

  • Citrus, Leak, Onion or their relatives are not very popular with the worms. They will eat these foods only when there is nothing else left to eat.

  • The worms might propagate slowly because they lack trace elements. Try to add a handful of minerals (lime, crushed eggshell, rock dust) from time to time.

Sources

Troubleshooting für die Wurmfarm: "Kompost aus der Kiste - Wurmkisten für den Hausgebrauch" by L. Brucksch, J. Rimpan

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