When you first set up the kit
Your worm bin is not designed to house your worms so that they cannot escape - in fact worms can get through virtually any crack‚ The point is to make your wormery as attractive to the worms as possible so that they stay put. If you think of worms in a wooden composter or a compost heap these don't need to imprison the worms; the worms stay if conditions are favourable and so that's what we aim to provide.
When you first set up your worm composting kit and add your worms - it's a bit like taking the cat to a new house‚ There is a tendency to explore and head for the exit... Once they are settled into their new home and established their burrows they are less likely to run for home but here are a few ways you can help minimise the losses.
Set up your worms in the morning and once you have put the bedding into your kit and the worms in with it add some kitchen waste and leave the lid off all day. Worms go away from the light so this helps to ensure they start to get established. If the kit is outside, accept a few losses and repeat the next day and gradually you will find your worms will settle down. If you are keeping them in a shed then leaving the light on and the lid off will also help.
Once you have had your worms for a while
The first thing to do work out if this is a mass exodus or just a few worms. If it's just a few worms around the outside of the bin don't worry, this is part of the natural process. There are always some worms that like to go walkabout (like humans really). However, if they are all trying to leave look for the problem.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Is your bin too wet? If there is liquid puddling at the bottom of the bin, and the bedding material drips liquid when you squeeze a handful of it the wormery is too wet. Add lots of dry waste, newspaper worm treat and lime mix will help as well and avoid waste with very high water content for the next few waste additions (melon, squash etc)
- Have you added something different to the bin? If your worm composter was composting well and then all of a sudden the worms are trying to get outlook at what you've added. Sometimes particularly if you've added a lot of citrus fruit this can irritate the worms due to the acid content. Remove the excess and add a good handful of lime mix and things should recover.
Worms are natural composters and they don't need to be in a completely worm tight bin to work (often they occur in a compost heap which has no sides) So by paying attention to what you add to your bin, and adjusting the moisture levels, you should be able to keep your worms happy and inside the bin, where they belong.
If you haven't yet, order your Urbalive Worm Composter from