Common Problem #1: a foul odor, which is usually due to overloading the bin with food scraps. If this occurs, stop adding food until the odor goes away; you may even want to remove some of the food in the bin.
Common Problem #2: the pesky fruit flies are another sign of overloading the bin with food scraps. If this occurs, stop adding food wastes until no food wastes remains, no food wastes means not fruit flies. Assure that your food wastes are properly covered with bedding.
Common Problem #3: a foul odor could also be caused my restricted air flow. It is helpful to occasionally mix the contents in your bin to make sure there is proper air flow. Don’t be afraid to gently stir with your hands. After mixing always make sure you have a layer of paper on the top.
Common Problem #4: mold happens, if you see a bit of mold it is okay. Worms can usually regulate the mold on their own; in fact sometimes the mold can be beneficial in the decomposition process. If you notice the mold is getting out of hand remove the paper or food wastes that it is on and add some fresh paper or food waste.
Common Problem #5: the ocassional red worm escapee. When you first start your bin you may see your worms climbing up the side, they can be a bit confused, just push them back in and put the lid back. If there is extreme heat you may see your worms try to exit the hot moist worm bin environment, immediately remove them from the hot area and place them in a cooler location. You can purchase a mesh fabric is put under your lid, you will still be able to close the lid and it will keep your peace of mind.
Helpful Advice #1: Many red worms don’t prefer to eat citrus types of food. Try to avoid feeding them to your worm bin because these fruits can throw off the pH level inside the bin. If you forget don’t worry, worms can regulate citrus in small doses on their own, you might notice they don’t eat it as quickly as other foods wastes.
Helpful Advice #2: Bedding does not need to be regularly added like food wastes do. When you notice the bedding in your bin is getting low, simply add a later on top of the compost, worm and food wastes. Make sure to moisten the bedding you are adding.
Helpful Advice #3: If your compost is wet rather than moist you can add in dry bedding or peat moss. Mix it in with the contents to soak up the extra moisture. Continue until the problem has been fixed.
Helpful Advice #4: Don’t be alarmed if you see other organisms start to appear in your bin! This is normal. The most common organism you will see is white mites. White mites are decomposers and will aid in the process, they will not escape and they will not be a nuisance to your bin.
Helpful Advice #5: Don’t worry if you are going on vacation for a week or two, or even forget to feed your worms for a bit. Worms eat tiny bits of remain food wastes and paper. They can actually be left alone for up to a month be just fine! If you know you are going on vacation for a week or two just give them some extra food. If you are leaving for more than a few weeks consider a worm babysitter.
Final Word: Taking worms out of their natural environment and placing them into a bin creates a human responsibility. They are living creature with their own unique needs, so it is import to create and maintain a healthy habitat for them to do their work.