There are a few types of mite that love a worm composting kit and this is all normal and part of the ecosystem. However, as with most things if they start to take over the kit this can become a problem. There are two main types – a reddish brown mite and a white shiny round mite. Both are tiny and if numbers become huge they eat the food and your worms will tend to burrow deeper into the kit and this in turn stops the worms from reproducing as effectively.
If you have a problem with a population of mites which seems to have gone mad the things to look at in your Urbalive or Worm Composter are:
- Could it be too wet? Feeding lots of really watery waste (cucumbers melons etc) can cause this or is there a lot of water getting in (wormeries usually let some water in and this is fine but some shelter is very useful. The wormery needs to be damp but not soaking wet.
- Poor drainage. If you have made your own composter ensure that there are adequate drainage holes at the bottom of your housing.
Getting the balance back in your wormery:
- Leave the lid off on dry days or undercover and expose the kit to the sun where possible to help dry it up.
- Cut back on the food waste
- Add extra shredded paper, cardboard or coir bedding to absorb extra moisture.
- Add a good sprinkling of lime mix.
- Ensure the liquid is drained from the sump.
- Popping a piece of damp bread in your kit attracts the mites and then you can pop this out onto the birdfeeder the next day.
- Adding some DE Powder or Rock Dust will help when dealing with an excess of mites.
Once conditions are back to a good balance for your worms then of course they will be less favourable for the production of the mites so normal worm service will be resumed.