Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mistake

I am a giant dildo.

I will just say that I once posted about how I had ALL these worm babies hatching and I was so overwhelmed and didn't believe it and blah, blah, ridiculous blah.

*sigh*

Well. I DID have worm babies hatching, but the majority of white specs that I was seeing were actually mites.

Mites. White mites. Fucking mites.

And I fell victim to the most common blunder (next to getting involved in a land war in Asia) of thinking ALL those little white eggs were worms. It's pretty common for worm people who have transitioned from outside worm bin love to inside worm bin love to mistake the multitudes of small white specs for worm babies when in fact they are not.

*dramatic sigh*

When I began to suspect that I was being a giant dildo, I took the top off the worm tower and took a closer look, only to discover that the little specs were crawling. Crawling. Which is impossible for worms to do. Because they have no feet.

Seriously, every time I talk about it I have to scratch my head. It just gives me the giant dildo heebie-jeebies.

*Scratch-scratch. Sigh*

These are what worm egg sacs actually look like!
In the picture above, actual worm sacs can be seen to the right of the arrows. They look like kernels of corn and are about the same size. Mites look like uncooked quinoa kernels. Not to put anyone off quinoa, as that stuff is GOOD.

I consulted several websites and my Worms Ate My Garbage book by Appelhof and I found out that my mistake is common and simply means that I added too much soft, juicy material (such as tomatoes, grapes or melon) before the adult worms were able to adequately work through it. Mites love soft, juicy, rotting food and so I basically just rolled out the welcome mat and offered free foot massages to them. The mites don't spread, they don't infest my house and, like fruit flies, they have a pretty short life. I'm not too worried about them. But I did move the worm tower outside, bleached the holy hell out of the area it was standing in, and added a ton of new bedding and fibrous material (all shredded paper) to the tower to balance out the ecosystem a bit and dry it up.

I will not regurgitate what I found on other, more comprehensive websites, but I will offers links to them. If you are a worm person, PLEASE consult these websites and buy the book.

THIS website had good pictures and some info.
RedWormComposting just seems like a stellar site all around for anything worm related - just type "white mites" in the search box and get ready to be grossed the fuck out.
THIS is a pretty interesting site for more info on other types of critters found in worm bins.

I'm gonna go pick my self confidence off the floor and read some more about worm composting. I thought I knew all I did. Turns out I don't.

*sigh*

2 comments:

  1. I tried vermicomposting last year, and had no luck at all. I'm guessing the environment here is way too dry to support it (inside or out).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ick, ick and more ick. I tried worm composting way back in the 90s, and gave it up quickly. We had a big box of red wrigglers that we paid quite a lot for, and there were just two of us, but the worms couldn't come close to keeping up with the compost our kitchen produced. When I got to the point where I was blending our scraps (true story) so the worms could digest them quicker, I knew it was time to say goodbye!

    So I admire your perseverance! And your willingness to put it all out there so we can all learn from you. You should NOT feel like a failure - the failures are people like me who just gave up! :)

    ReplyDelete

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