What is protein poisoning?
Basically if there is too much food that hasn’t been eaten by your wigglers this can cause protein poisoning. It’s also often called Sour Crop or String of Pearls. The String of Pearls term is a description of how your worms look if things go really wrong as they end up with swellings on their bodies and they disintegrate and go all stringy with blob (pearl) shapes down their bodies.
If there is too much moisture and food in the kit toxins and acidity can build up and this causes all sorts of problems which ends up meaning that the worms can’t excrete enough calcium to neutralise the food and so it can be a death sentence if you don’t act and especially if you continue to add waste.
How to solve the protein poisoning problem in your worm bin.
Add extra bedding and shredded cardboard and paper – this will also help to soak up any excess moisture.
Repeat this after a few days and again if necessary.
Avoid adding waste for a couple of weeks until things are back to normal.
Preventing Protein Poisoning.
Add your waste little and often and check that your worms are working just below the surface before you add more waste (they don’t need to have eaten all the waste but they do need to be working on it.
Add a regular sprinkling of rock dust and lime mix when you add waste to your wormery will help to balance out the acidity and ensure the bin doesn’t get too wet which will help.
Avoid overfeeding and acidic waste (citrus fruits etc).