Worm soup

WaysideWayside Posts: 729

Last weekend I opened the compost bin (dalek) to find pounds of worms, they all fell out the lid all over my feet.  Suddenly there were thousands.

I added compostables, left them for a week, and just came back to feed them.

To my horror I found what looks like dead worm soup all around the edge of the bin, where a week before they had looked happy and were writhing all over each other.  So I've gone from thousands to a few.

Perhaps last weekend they were all trying to escape - maybe the bin was inhospitable.  I turned the bin today and it's quite warm beneath.  But I'd have thought if conditions had gotten rough they could have gone down.

I'm worried that I may have put something nasty in the bin.  I put some amazon packaging (the paper packaging found inside cardboard boxes) in the bin, along with he usual kitchen scraps and rough looking paper scraps: envelopes - loo rolls etc.

So I'm worried that some fire retardant or some treatment was on the paper packaging and I've unwittingly killed the worms.

Did it get over active?  Have I gassed them?  I went out to see them and get a photo only to find death!





  • WaysideWayside Posts: 729

    (I've posted this in talkback, can a mod. move it somewhere more appropriate?  I never seem to post to the right place...)

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,194

    Anywhere is fine.image

    Possibly the cardboard contained formaldehyde.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 15,255

    If you have the Dalek with the lid that clamps on tight,you have probably suffocated them, I always leave those lids loose.

    My other plastic bins I have drilled a series of holes for air.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 729

    @lyn, well I did worry about that.  I can't leave the lid loose for worry of rodents and foxes.  I wish I'd put in some venting now, but hoped that I'd get enough through the cracks around the front door.  I was ecstatic to see so many live worms at the beginning of the week and deeply saddened to find most of them dead this morning.

    Has anyone else had the same?

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 729


    I should have read them trying to escape as a warning sign.  I'm always worried that the bin is too dry.  So perhaps suffocation or something they ate.

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    Unsure what happened to yours but I regularly compost the paper from Amazon in my bin--torn up a bit-- and haven't had a problem so don't think it was that.  I also compost some of the boxes--just leave out the taped bits.

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 729

    @watery, cheers, I normally throw in scraps of this and that cardboard and paper with no ill effects.  And Amazon have a tendency to send loads of it.  I've pinged them a question about their packaging as it has made me think.

    I did read that fax paper was bad.  Which you'll find in till receipts and mini-statements etc.

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 15,255

    I use all the  waste paper and card in mine, collect it from other people as well. 

    Wayside, have you got your bin standing on a close mesh base? 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • CeresCeres Posts: 1,823

    I chuck all the shredded paper and a small amount of cardboard into my compost bins and the worms seem fine......so far. Most cardboard tends to go to the allotment for weed suppression or into the council recycling bin. I doubt the worms suffocated. I have three dalek style bins and the wildlife in them seems to thrive in spite of the closed lids. There are mice and ants and slugs and woodlice and flies as well as the worms. Its like a mini eco system that changes as the compost rots down. The last to remain are always the woodlice so I am guessing that the worms prefer the warm and wet semi-rotted stage.

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 729

    @jo47, is that sarcasm?  Is that a yes for the compost bin or a no?

    @lyn, I placed three lots of mesh I think to rat proof it, and then placed in some chalk rocks.  Mainly to rat proof it.  But that may have meant no easy escape route down.  However I've gathered rocks with minimum soil into heaps and am always surprised to find worms happily in nooks and crannies.  So they probably could escape if they wanted.

    I've always put scrap paper in.  But am a little worried about some types - banana boxes have paper coated with something, I think a pesticide.  That might not be so good.  Amazon wrapping paper has quite an odd smell about it.  I'm clutching at straws really.  There was loads of life followed by death all within a small period.

    Are there any other troublesome foods or liquids?  I did poor some old golden syrup in, and possibly some dough mix, but usually I put that kind of thing onto paper and don't think twice about it.


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