Tag Archives: vermiculture

How do I get rid of ants?

5 May

A frequently asked question I get from worm farmers and gardeners is, “How do I get rid of ants”?  Ants can be attracted to the food waste in your compost pile or worm bed.  The good news is that a healthy compost pile or worm bed is going to have a lot of beneficial bacteria and microbial activity that the ants won’t like.  So in most cases they are there for the food scraps, and will move along shortly.  If they don’t move along and decide to set up shop, or you just want them gone, I recommend diatomaceous earth.  Food grade Diatomaceous Earth or (DE)  are  finely ground remains of tiny ocean critters called diatoms.  DE can be sprinkled around any area where you want to get rid of insects or other segmented bodied critters.  The tiny powder kept dry will stick to the ants or other bugs and make tiny cuts that will dry them out and kill them.  Wet DE won’t stick, so keep your powder dry.  Also, be sure to get food grade and not pool grade DE.  Pool grade is super fine and can be dangerous when breathed in.

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DE is natural and won’t harm your worms or you.  Other ant killers that contain chemicals might be harmful to your worms.

 

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Maggots in my worm bin?

30 Apr

Below is a picture from a customer who asked the question, “What are these in my bin and are they harmful to the worms”?  These are probably black soldier fly larvae.  They are a little unsightly, but are good composters in their own right and are not harmful to your worms.  These tend to show up in my manure piles when the weather heats up.  I will remove them most of the time from my worm bin if they show up, but it is not necessary.

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Paul’s worm bin in North Carolina

9 Apr

A big thank you to Paul in North Carolina for sending us these pics of his compost tumbler and worm bin.  Great work!

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Spring Fever Festival Sat. March 29, 2014 in Boerne, TX

28 Mar

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Robert’s European Nightcrawler Bed

20 Dec

I am looking to have a storage building built on my property and called a local builder that I came across at http://www.bbarns.com.  After talking a few minutes, we realized we had met earlier.  Turns out a year or more ago, Robert got a pound of European Nightcrawlers from me.  In addition to talking storage building construction, Robert talked all about how well his worm bed was doing and sent me this great pic.  Not only does he have a great looking worm bed, but his vegetable garden is the envy of the neighborhood.  Thanks for sharing, Robert.

Robert's ENC Bed

Flow Through Worm Bin 2

27 Feb

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In production since last week this TexasRedWorm Flow Through 2 has been a work in progress for several years.  I have been looking at examples of flow through bins homemade and commercially available for some time.  This latest design is the latest version predated by several prototypes.   This latest evolution has been a success thus far.   I ended up purchasing the metal racks from Costco for about $137.  Easy to assemble and very sturdy, these were a great buy at a good price.  I spent about $70 on hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, washers, 20′ of .25″ cable, and cable clamps).  Key to a long lasting box built around the metal rack, were cypress 2×6’s from TexasDozer.com cut from my dad’s saw mill.  Cypress will not rot and in it’s natural state (no chemicals used to preserve the wood)  and will not leach out anything harmful to the worms or castings.

photo 5The cutting diamond bar was fabricated out of scrap and square tubing for the guides.  This will be pulled with winches mounted to both sides of the rack to cut and harvest castings from the bin.

photo 1Two mason tubs purchased at Lowe’s for around $13 each rest on the bottom rack just below the flow through bin to catch castings.  The bottom of the bin was lined with newspaper and worms and compost were added.  We will let the worms go to work for several weeks feeding compost as needed.  Over the next few weeks the newspaper will break down and the bin will be ready to harvest.  For the initial harvest, remove by hand the newspaper from under the screen.  Use the winch from one side to move the cutting bar across the bottom of the bin one time.

Winter Rain Adds Needed Moisture to Compost Piles and Worm Beds

9 Jan

Early this week we welcomed 2.5 inches of rain providing some badly needed moisture to my compost piles and inground worm beds.  The micro organisms that break down organic waste in compost piles need food, air, and water.  In South Texas the missing component of that equation is usually H2O, and with a steady shower over the last couple of days we are back in business.  I get asked often “why is my compost not breaking down?” and the answer is usually a lack of water.  Keep your piles mixed to increase Oxygen, keep them watered if lacking in rain, and add Nitrogen bearing organic matter like grass clippings and manure to reactivate a pile.  Use these winter months to get ready for spring planting and keep those compost piles fed, turned, and moist.

Baby Alabama Jumpers

My Jumpers love this time of year and can be at their peak performance.  Cooler temperatures and added moisture stimulate hatching of eggs and adults feeding and breeding in top layers of compost that at other times of the year maybe too hot or dry.