Vermiculture Question-Are you there, Jay?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have built a garden box, out of concrete block 4'x50', filled it with worm bedding, and am in the process of moving my worms from their bins into the box. I'm using very small mesh hardware cloth so that the worms crawl through and I'm harvesting the castings from the bins. Anyway, now that they've been out of the bins for a while, I am noticing little tiny red bugs, which I assume are the red mites that books on vermiculture talk about. Since I had never had a problem when they were in the bins, I kinda skimmed over those chapters. I went to the library, and the books I have read are all special order, and will take several weeks for me to get. So, how serious is a red mite problem, how do I get rid of them, or am I and my worms doomed? Thanks in advance for any help. Kathie
-- kathie in Western Washington (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 24, 2001
Those are earthworm mites and in large concentration will stop the worms from feeding and eventually can cause a toxic environment for the worms. They are most common in overly wet bedding. When working with bins, it is easier to harvest the worms and replace the bedding and give the worms a little bath before adding to the fresh bedding. What may help on the outside bed is to add unscented, natural clay kitty litter to dry the bed to 60% saturation and let the suns uv do the rest, turning the medium daily. You should see a significant decrease in the mite concentrations in a few days. Also it may help to raise the acidity level a little (pH6 to pH5). with a portion of ground up citrus rind to make it less attractive to the mites.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (email@example.com), July 24, 2001.