Mites In Your Worm Bin
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
It is common to open your worm bin every once in a while and discover a sea of white mites in your worm bin. This is alarming the first time it happens, but thankfully it is pretty easy to fix. In today’s article, we will discuss mites, why they are in your bin, and how to get them out.
Let’s get started.
Mites are small eight-legged insects that fall under the arachnid category. Often you will notice white dots about the size of a period at the end of a sentence. They are powerful decomposers and sometimes can be predatory. Most often, the type of mite located in vermicompost bins is white mites. They are often benign in small numbers in your bin. It is common to see a few mites in a healthy compost bin.
However, if the mites start overpopulating the bin, they will compete with your worms for food.
Why Mites Are In Your Worm Bin
You know you need to get rid of these mites, but how did they get there in the first place. Often mites are dawn to your worm bin because of moisture. Worm bins are often warm and humid places that attract mites. That is why a healthy worm bin will always have a few mites that assist your worms in breaking down food.
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Mite populations often grow to problematic levels when you overfeed or overwater your bin. Especially when someone overfeeds with moisture-rich foods. Watermelon is one of the most common culprits for attracting mites to a worm bin.
How To Rid Vermicompost Bin Of Mites
Now, let’s talk about how to correct the moisture problem and also get some mites out of your bin. There are a few different ways you can solve this problem. The first method is by adding an item like a watermelon rind to the top of the bin. Leave the rind for about an hour or two to attract mites to the rind. After an hour, return to the bin and remove the mite-covered rind. This will help cut the population down quickly.
Next you are going to want to address the moisture problem. If possible, if you haven’t already made holes for leachate drainage – you should now. You can shift the worms around so you can drill a few holes in the bottom. Put a boot tray or cookie sheet underneath your bin to catch any excess liquid.
If you can’t drill new holes in your bin, you can add dry bedding to absorb excess moisture. You can either add dry bedding to the top of the bin and let the moisture wick up. Other people find that mixing in the dry bedding doesn’t disturb their worms and solves the problem.
In the future, if you have watermelon rinds or other items to feed to your worms, freeze and thaw before feeding. This method of freezing and thawing will break the cell walls and help excess moisture drain before you add it to your worm bin. Be sure to also add plenty of dry bedding at every feeding to prevent mites from taking over your bin in the future.
Overall, it is very common to see mites in your worm bin. They are helpful decomposers that are part of a healthy worm ecosystem. However, when their population grows to epic proportions, it’s time to take action. First, remove as many mites as you can. Then drain excess liquid if possible, if not- add plenty of dry bedding to wick all excess moisture.
If you’ve had soil mites or white mites in your indoor compost bin, what method did you use to correct the problem?
Leave your method in the comments below.