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Earthworm Care

Earthworms are excellent for fishing bait, composting, and educational purposes. Raising your own Earthworms is fun and easy.  Order your first batch of Earthworms from Decker Worm Sales, and then follow the guidelines below to maintain your own Earthworm bed.

Size: 12 to 14 gallons.

Composition: Aged horse, cow, rabbit manure.  Straw, paper, cardboard, peat moss.

Aeration: Air vents on the sides and bottom of the bin - Earthworms require a lot of oxygen to be healthy. This is accomplished by allowing the air to pass from the very bottom of the bin through the bedding.

Moisture Content: 60% to 80% - Earthworms breath through their skin, but they do not have gills. Saturated (100% moisture) bins will cut off the oxygen and the weight of the water will pack all of the small air spaces in the bedding. Earthworms are mainly surface feeders and it is the top three or four inches of your bin that needs to be at about 80% moisture. At 80%, you can squeeze out a couple of drops of water just like a damp sponge.

NOTE: Whether doing a large commercial bin or a small home/classroom bin, you must try to duplicate the native environment as closely as possible.

Food: Add about a quart of food scraps per square foot of surface area in your bin per week. Worms eat fruit and vegetable scraps, pasta, bread, cooked beans, and other kitchen leftovers. Worms love coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, paper towels, and napkins. Eggshells provide calcium and the hard particles help them to digest their food. To avoid fruit flies and odors, always bury the food just below the surface of the bedding.

In order to prevent foul odors and to not attract other animals - NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE WORM BIN, INCLUDING CHEESE, OIL, BONES, AND MEAT.

Fresh Bedding:  As the worms break down the bedding and it becomes more compact it will reduce the volume of bedding in your bin. Add about 1/2 inch of fresh bedding to the surface of the bin weekly.

Earthworms won't be the only decomposing organism found in your worm bin. Tiny white worms called Echytraeids eat decomposing material, and are not a problem. Springtails in a bin will look like a sprinkling of hundreds of tiny white creatures. They eat molds and are producers of humus. Millipedes, sow bugs, slugs, snails, pill bugs, and beetles are other common beneficial decomposers found in worm boxes.

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