I think my worms died in the heatwave, but how can I be sure?
There may be some hatchlings and eggs that survived. You could monitor it for a few weeks and see what happens before racing to put in another worm order. If there are some hatching, it will be about 3 months before they reach maturity, but you will certainly notice them within a few weeks of hatching.
With the heat due again on Thursday, pop it somewhere cool like in the laundry, and a couple of other things than might help include:
· “fluffing up” the bedding to get oxygen right in to it
· Popping in a chopped in half avocado (face down) to create a breeding haven/nursery
· Sprinkle in a little dynamic lifter to get eggs hatching
If there is no activity in the avocado in about 10 days, then you know you need more worms.
"The activity in my Worm farm has seemed to have stalled. I have stirred up the material in the tray and did not see any worms. The material is quite moist. What is the best procedure from here?"
There could be a number of factors at play here.
1. Population is still quite small. 1000 worms isn’t a huge amount (you will end up with 6-10,000 once things are really going), so be patient as the population develops.
2. Worms are too cold (unlikely at this time of year)
3. Worms are too warm, like you or I in a heatwave, we slow down to stay cool
4. More than enough food. Worms come with plenty of bedding – enough to last them 3 months, and like us, they will eat what they find most palatable, so they tend to keep eating their bedding for a while. A simple test is to put in some avocado or watermelon. If they move into that within 7 days, you know all is well.
5. Worms have died: Is there a pungent smell? If not, worms haven’t died
6. Have you checked the liquid tray? When it’s hot, worms will bury down away from the heat (the deeper they bury in nature, the cooler). Collect them from the liquid tray if this is the case, and return them to any of the working trays.
7. Has the lid been on properly? If not, they have a tendency to go walkabout – and never come back!
8. If all else fails, get in touch and order more worms – perhaps after the heatwave has passed.
"I’ve started on the second tray of my worm farm. I have noticed that the worms are falling through the holes and going to the first tray, thus the second tray is not being broken down as quickly as the first. Should I place newspaper at the base of the second tray?"
The bottom tray will always be the most broken down of all the trays. The worms wont so much be ‘falling’ but migrating to their preferred food and bedding. Particularly with the heat, the worms will dig down to escape it, as they would in nature.
Make sure you keep the liquid tray tap open just in case they migrate too far ‘south’, and do a rescue mission on hot days.
Don’t add newspaper and interfere with their natural migration. Just move them to a cooler spot (they are probably too hot and trying to escape the heat), and let them do what worms do.
“Hi. I've realised that some worms are crawling out of the bedding and are at various parts of the farm including the drip tray. Is this normal and if not, how do I solve this problem?”
The short answer without seeing them is to feed them and keep them cool.
With the heat, they will try to migrate downwards to “cool ground” and when they sense rain they will migrate upwards to avoid flooding, so feeding them and regulating their temperature is pertinent.
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