My first time Vericomposting...Magets and flies not worms :( help

Discussion in 'Composting' started by dougmays, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    So i did a bunch of reading 4-5 months ago on vermicompost so i figured i'd give it a try. i'm doing the standard 2 large tupperware containers with holes drilled into the bottom, sides, and top for it to breath and allow some water drippage and drainage. 

    i started with a handful of earth worms from my yard. I red that Red Worms are best for this but couldnt find anyone locally (Florida) that had them. i started with some leaves and store bought soil. Put wet paper clippings and vegetable clippings. I had a really bad problem with fruit flies when i first started. From what i read online this is because i wasn't covering my veggies well enough with wet i started putting bigger strips of wet newspaper to cover the veggies. Flies are less apparent now but i have a bunch of maggots! :(

    I haven't dug into the soil because i dont wanna disrupt anything so i'm not sure if the worms are still there or not. 

    So my questions are:

    - What am i doing wrong? (broad question i know haha)

    - Is maggot compost ok? or should i dump it and start over?

    - i have this outside, under a wooden i need more sun? light? 

    thanks in advance!
  2. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    No worm composters out there?
  3. java

    java Smoking Fanatic

    I wasnt trying to compost, but was trying to raise night crawlers for fishing.

    What I found was they liked it on the cool side temp wise.

    they also did better in the dark, or at least not bright light.

    help this helps let me know. I have a customer that does vermicomposting on a

    larger scale than I was doing and can get some info from him if you would like.
  4. dandl93

    dandl93 Smoking Fanatic

    I have a compost pile but the way I do it would not help you sorry.I use all my coffee skins from coffee production and over ripe veggies.It has to be kept along ways from the house it stinks.Plus the my worms only speak spanish hahahahahahaha

  5. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    that'd be awesome if he can point me in the right direction!

    El Wormos? haha
  6. ibbones

    ibbones Meat Mopper

    I've been Vericomposting for just over a year and my bin is about two feet from me now.  I live in South Texas so they cannot go outside or the heat will kill them.

    Be careful what you feed them and NO (say it again, NO) type of meat.  It will attract flies and you will get maggots.  It also stinks.  My worms have an earthy smell and you have to put your nose on them to smell it.

    Give them shredder newspaper that is slightly wet to top the bin up.  This will also help with fruit flies but the worms do need fiber.  It's also a good bedding and I stir my bin up every now and then to make sure everything looks good.  I also feed only once a week and most food has been run through a blender and I freeze small portions in bathroom cups.  It helps break down the solids faster so the worms can eat faster.  Then about once a week I take a cup out of the freezer and set it on the counter for a while so it starts to melt.  Then it's easy to get out of the cup.  Pull some bedding back in one corner and dump the blob in, and cover back up.  As it melts it will make a mess and start to decay.  The worms will be all over it.

    Good luck.

    P.S.  My grandkids call my worms Carol.
  7. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    Freezing the veggies is a good idea!

    i haven't been putting any meat in there so i'm not sure why the maggots are there. I feel like i'm doing everything you said but my "dirt" doesn't look all that clean :/

    i'm wondering if maybe the heat is a factor?
  8. java

    java Smoking Fanatic

    I talked to my customer today, he was pretty busy, but gave a few hints.

    The heat is probably a factor,worms dont like too much heat or water (think after a big rain you see alot of worms on the driveway)

    Dont put in veggies that are to big (chop them up pretty fine) and dont overload them (a few worms can only eat so much) or everything rots.

    ordinary garden worms are ok but if you are getting serious about it get some worms called (i think he said ) red wigglers, they are agressive eaters and multifly pretty fast.

    hope that helps.

  9. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I see a new business in the works?

    Free compost and selling worms at the bait store?

    Now just to find a market for maggots and flies?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I dump all my nasty leftovers over the fence in the neighbor's yard, does that count for composting?
  11. Maybe, how's his garden look?  [​IMG]
  12. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    alright so wrong worms and probably to hot. I think i'm gonna dump this bin and try over with the red worms.

    Any suggestions on placement in the heat of florida? should i put in my garage instead?

    ...sheesh $38 for a pound of them! i might have to look for a local nursery
  13. ibbones

    ibbones Meat Mopper

    I do not think the garage will work either if it's hot in there.  I am using the Worm Factory 360 as my composter and keep it in the house.  I did take it outside this spring and left it there for a few days but I had to give them water every day.  It would dry out really quick and the worms would not be shiney or active.  Now they are back inside and chewing away.
  14. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    I just red that Red Worms can tolerate temps up to 109 degrees. Maybe that's my saving grace?
  15. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    So i dumped my first attempt at  Vermicomposting and started fresh with a bed of nice compost soil, 250 red wigglers that i got online, veggie clippings and wet paper.

    Worms seem to be sticking around and they are eating away! I feel like i'm creating "trash" faster then they can keep up but i'm guessing they are getting used to there surroundings and all that. I noticed a few bugs and flies in there but not as bad as before...figured after there first reproduction cycle i'll probably seen much faster results.

    Thanks for all the advice and help on this!

    Question: Anyone know if i can use sunflower seeds shells in the compost? I have a mild sunflower seeds addiction and i throw alot in the trash haha! Will they be able to break it down or are the shells to hard?
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  16. There's nothing wrong with adding unsalted sunflower seed husks but they'll break down relatively slowly.

  17. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    hmm...these were salted before i ate them...i'll just leave them out for safety sake
  18. arkage82

    arkage82 Fire Starter

    I realize this is an old thread, but I've been raising worms for 2 years now and thought I should throw in a few of my learned experiences:

    Best thing anyone can do, is to get their bin/farm set up correctly and then leave it alone. I haven't touched my worms for 2 months until today- no food, no watering, no scraps added, nothing. Figured they were all dead. Stirred up the bin a bit- thousands of the little buggers and thriving. I did add some new newspaper (soaked and wrung) and did add some vegetable matter. Probably won't look at them again until spring. 

    Heat- Yes, heat will kill them, BUT, if your bin is set up right, they will find the cool spot they need to live through it. My bin is about 10 feet from my woodstove, and the stove has been running hot for the past month. No issues. The bin is "self insulating". 

    Find out what they like and feed that to them. Find out what they don't like and don't feed that to them (it will just rot). My worms love cantalope and watermelon rinds, lettuce, newspaper, apple skins and cores, coffee grinds, tea bags, etc. They don't seem to like orange peels, potato peels or any thing that seems to be high acid. 

    Once you buy your initial set of worms (you can find them a lot cheaper than $38/lb if you look on line), and you get them established, you are set for life (assuming you have the conditions right. If I ever get 'round to it, I'm going to start another bin and just take some from the old bin and move em over. Remember, it's like everything else in nature: a certain amount of habitat can only support a certain amount of life. If  your bin gets crowded then some will have to die off. 

    You can control flies and other unwanted guests a few ways. First, bury all scraps under a few inches of newspaper. That usually takes care of it. If still problems, add some Diatomaceous Earth. Doesn't affect the worms at all, but shreds the outsides of most other unwanted critters. 

    Last note (for now anyway): When I first started my bin, I was deathly afraid that they would all crawl out in the middle of the night, so I put a lid on (holes were drilled in it). Every morning, there were worms around the top and on the bottom of the lid. After I questioned some other wormers about it, they recommended "no lid". Turns out, there would be condesation formed when the lid was on, and the worms like to explore. Now with no lid, it is dry on top and on the sides, and they don't like that, so no more "adventuring". 

    Hope this info is beneficial. I used to be really active with my worms, but other things have been priorities lately. Luckily, they just keep doing their thing and in the spring I will have about a half a bin of super worm castings. 
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016

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