One of the most popular stations in the Edible Learning Lab are those small nondescript worm bins. The students in our flagship Lab in Buffalo, WY check on the worms daily, often talking to them as if a response was expected. The kids feed the worms as needed, maintain the moisture of the soil and the newspaper blanket in each bin, and do visual inspections of the bedding looking for signs of distress.
Most of the time the process is uneventful. Worms are found, handled gently, and the lids are replaced within minutes. But occasionally there is drama. Dead worms, fruit flies, or a noticeable smell will trigger panic. Knowing how to address the issue quickly and definitively is the only hope to avoid a complete catastrophe. So make sure that your students are monitoring the bins on a daily basis in order to trigger that early warning alarm when something is discovered. A quick response is the best option.
Early warning signs for common issues:
- Fruit flies
- Worm death
Diligence in monitoring the worm bins will alert you to any possible issues as they develop. But what do you do to remedy a found issue? How do you get rid of fruit flies and prevent them from returning? What is causing the bad odors? Why are your worms dying?
All of these issues can be resolved with just a little troubleshooting. Cornell University has created a very useful Worm Bin Troubleshooting Guide that will help you identify causes and remedy them quickly.