Green Mantis
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You can buy things that catch the fruit flies in the house. Go to your local hardware store and look around? Get a few and put them around your compost bin, once you get it back inside, you should be fine? As long as you get rid of the bees.

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Cut the top third off of a two liter soda bottle.

Invert and insert. Secure with tape

Fill bottom two inches with vinegar.

Instant fungus gnat trap.

HG
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HG, do you mean put the top of the soda bottle upside down in the bottom part? :oops: Sorry if I have a hard time picturing this. A photo would be great!
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Yes Blue Fox; exactly what I meant. You have pictured it just fine... :) Just leave a big enough gap between the mouth of the now inverted bottle and the vinegar for the flies to get into the space (secure the two cut edges together with the tape). TA-DA!

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Green Mantis wrote::) I just made a worm bin a couple of days ago, out of a plastic tote. Drilled holes in the top of the lid, then along the sides, 2 rows of holes. Then in the bottom. I had already ordered the worms and I was really excited when they came.---I put mesh on the bottom, so they can't get out, with a tote lid underneath for drippings. Inside I put damp newspaper, a couple of inches of Topsoil, then straw, then leaves and more shredded newspaper.
Any pics to give me some tips? I've just started a worm farm too, but made it out of a polystyrene box. The worms don't seem to be eating the food at all.. :?
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Polystyrene might not be my first choice for container...

Here's our favorite [url=https://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC35643]chemistry site on polystyrene[/url], Not as bad as some of the chemicals out there, but note it is listed as a toxin, and is noted for gassing off by some folks. Worms may not like it.

Are you mixing carbons like paper into the soil? Worms like that as much or more than the food and it sops up moisture (and holds it too). I like brown paper bags, napkins, that sort of thing. Use this as your first layer, wetting it down to compact it and then the food. Ground up is better than not, but they will shred it up eventually either way.

Try layering some compost on top of the food to aid decomposition. The critters in compost will help keep the food from getting nasty smelling, and worms eat the critters eating the rotting food as much as eating the food itself. Compost adds them. This also helps "mulch" down the other layers, and worms live in soil, this makes them feel right at home...

Paper, foods, compost at every feeding and they would probably like a more stable plastic for home. One man's opinion.

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hmm.. never knew that polystyrene was toxic to marine animals! I chose it for its breathability. It is porous after all, but I guess there's a host of other negatives.

I've made the bedding out of a mix of finely shredded paper, grass clippings and compost. I've sorta mixed it all through rather than have them in separate layers. Does that make a difference or is it better to have layers? It's moist enough and i've cut the food up in very tiny pieces. I've also added used teabags and crushed eggshells.

I emailed my worm supplier, they said that the worms aren't feeding yet as the majority are still babies. I got mainly worm capsules and juveniles in a form of a worm 'bomb'. Apparently they only reach maturity in 2-3 months. So I have a bit more to wait... :roll:

Another question: if the worms are eating paper which also forms part of the bedding, how much shredded paper do I need to put in each time?
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Awesome! This is what I was looking for. I wanted to do this for a long time and now we have the right place. Thanks for sharing.

Cheers.
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Just make sure the bin is at least 3/4's full, wih leaves, grass whatever. As they eat it down, keep topping it up. I have topped mine up 2 or 3 times now. They seem very busy! :D

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Thanks Green Mantis! just what i needed to know :) :) I can't wait til they actually start eating.

I found a worm in my farm kinda buried in a chunk of organic matter. When I picked up the chunk, the worm just kinda lay there, half in half out. Eventually it made a very slow attempt to escape the light. Is that normal? Was the worm asleep, sick?
It was quite small.. about an inch long, and very skinny, 2mm thick.

Unlike the monster worm I found in the garden the other day while digging! That guy was about 7inches long and 9mm thick. And wriggling quite strongly when I picked it up carefully.
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I started my worm compost bin with the worms I found actively feeding in my compost pile. This forum was my impetus to start one -- that and a store closing sale last fall where I found a Can-o-Worms for 1/2 price! :()

Hey! I could cut a piece out of that coir rug to make a new blanket for my worms too! 8)

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I'm thinking maybe this will finally be my impetus to do some worm composting also, at least for the winter. Our programmable thermostat is set down to 59 at night and during the day while we are at work. Is that too cold for them?
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That shouldn't be too cold for them, as long as they have lots of paper, grass clippings or leaves to burrow in. Mine are doing great. This little experiment has to be the cheapest experiment for me ever! LOL!! Plus the most fun. Every time I take food scraps out there, I have to keep looking in too see how they are doing. Probably getting tired of that! :lol: Remember to keep it slightly damp too.

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Every time I take food scraps out there, I have to keep looking in too see how they are doing. Probably getting tired of that!
Me too! I stir it around a little too, as I found the lower layers are a bit too wet. I'll have to check again soon, as I haven't for a week or two. I keep three Rubbermaid tubs in Glory Be, the root cellar which stays just above freezing even in very cold (-20 Celcius) outside temps. I occasionally put my kitchen scraps in, about every sixth time I empty them. Otherwise they go into my outside compost - a wire bin with another bigger one around it filled with leaves. The number of worms in there was amazing!
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:lol: I am too nosy to look every two weeks! I found my bin was getting a bit wet at the bottom awhile ago too, so I dug in and turned everything so there was no more dampness. Seems to help every so often. They are still working away down there, where it is wet seems to be the most soil like. But turning does help. Not too violently though. Just nice and easy. Shouldn't be too long and they will have finished the first of all the bedding I put in there for them. I topped it up again yesterday, they really go through the leaves etc. Very interesting experiment though. The only expense was buying the worms. I had all the other stuff here already. Even my husband has gotten interested in them, he takes his coffee grounds and filter out every day, and finds it interesting to see what's going on too. This is one experiment that will keep going from now on. But if I hadn't found this great site, I wouldn't have ever tried! :wink:

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Rainbowgardener----59 isn't too cold for them. Go ahead and get started having fun! We are finding the worm bin super interesting!

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I did get started. I posted "I HAVE A WORM BIN!" in some thread that I'm not going to go looking for right now. But now my worm bin is starting to get some kind of little flies in it, maybe fruit flies, though I have not put any fruit in it. Not sure what to do about that. Every time I open the bin a few fly out. I don't want them to get established in the house.
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They might be fungus gnats. Try putting a little open container of soapy water inside the worm bin on top of the bedding.

If they're fruitflies, make a vinegar trap with a tiny one-way funnel opening (I tape a rolled up magazine subscription card to a bottle). Baiting with small piece of spoiled fruit (bruised spot, core, peel, etc.) and apple cider vinegar does the trick.

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It talks about the little flies earlier in this thread, but they don't seem to get established in the house. At times I have opened the lid and lots have flown out. When it's wetter, they don't seem to be around as much. Fruits, and tomatoes I bury a bit deeper. If anything attracts them, it seems to be those sort of things. Maybe you need to add more bedding on top? But I wouldn't worry about them getting established in the house. When I added more leaves and food the other day, I turned the stuff a bit, so it wasn't so wet and then put the food down in the middle. There were no fruit flies this time at all? Guess this is something we can all do some researching on, and see just when there are fruit flies, and when there are none? Something to check on. As there really isn't too much else to do with the worm bins inside in the winter! :wink: It's a topic anyway, after all winter can get boring!

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worm bin progress and questions

Checked my worm bin (I'm still so impressed with myself that I actually have a worm bin after all these years of only doing compost piles!). Only one more little fly came out, so I'm not worrying about it yet. Seems to be working well. Kitchen scraps keep disappearing, there seem to be more and bigger worms than I put in there. So I added another serving of coffee grounds and kitchen scraps, some more bedding material (that seems to disappear too), some more leaves.

Questions:

1) I found several things in there that I thought might be cocoons. But I looked up worm cocoon pictures and it's not these. They are whitish, shorter and thicker than the worms but definitely not tear drop or roundish like the cocoons, and highly segmented. Don't seem to move a lot and didn't have any visible legs. Anybody know what they are? Is it going to hatch out into something creepy? Do I need to post a picture?

2) No sign of any worm tea coming out the bottom yet. Should there be by now? The first batch of worms has been in there a bit over two weeks.

3) When I put the worm bin together everything was in nice layers, bedding at the bottom, then leaves, worms, food, more leaves, brown paper. 17 days later, what with digging around in it to check on the worms, adding stuff, the action of the worms themselves, everything is kind of jumbled up. Does it matter?
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Doesn't seem to matter if everything is jumbled up, at the bottom, ours is the same way. They seem to be eating into that newspaper I put at the bottom originally now. I haven't seen any signs of worm tea either. Maybe a bit early for both of us? As for the bugs or whatever, I wouldn't worry. When I was moving the stuff around one day, there were little white worms, tiny things. I at first thought they were baby worms, but they aren't apparently. I read somewhere on here they aren't. But not harmful. A picture might be interesting, then I could go digging in my worm bin to see if there is the same thing in there.--I think I just like looking in there, and any excuse is good enough! Lol! Glad to hear you only had one fruit fly this time.---I do remember seeing that you posted that you finally had a worm bin, but now I can't find where it was.---Fun isn't it! By the time spring comes, we should all have some lovely worm castings to add to our potted plants and outdoor seedlings.-----If nothing else it's something to do when you can't do much in a garden, for the cold and frozen ground. They really do go through their bedding don't they? When I first got the worms in the mail, they were quite skinny, not anymore, plus there are more of them. At this rate a person could keep them going without buying more worms for years. Cheapest beasties Iv'e ever fed! Makes it even more fun! Hubby doesn't get upset I'm spending too much on feed, Ha! Maybe for christmas, I will get another bin ready and then put some worms in a little later. Make my own christmas present :wink: Some women dream of jewlery, I dream of worm bins! :roll: Good Luck with that Worm bin!

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Pictures aren't great, but here's the mysterious beastie:

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/larva1.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/larva2.jpg[/img]


it isn't really as dark as that, that's from the flash, more dark cream colored or light brown. It is rounded on one end, pointed on the other, and has teeny little bristles. (The second picture shows the pointed end better, but it has a little clod of dirt stuck to it.) I expect it is a larva of something, but it would be nice to know what before it hatches out.

I didn't see these in any of the stuff I put in the bin, though of course I can't guarantee they weren't there. But I'm thinking they appeared since then, like maybe they were much smaller or they were eggs or something at the time of loading it up...
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:? Don't know what THEY are, but I think I would be getting rid of them. They don't look very worm bin friendly. Actually they look pretty yucky to me. I definately would be tossing them. Must have come in on some dirt or? Not nice looking though. If you ever find out what they are please post OK? Thanks.

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I should have said the pictures are about X2 life size.....

I got rid of the one I photographed. Not sure if it is worth the trouble to comb through it to try to find the others, I know there's at least a couple more. I'll wait to see if anyone has ID.
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no one knows what my critter is? I have seen them in my compost pile sometimes too. It is hard bodied, not soft and squishy like a worm....
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If it has a shell, then it could be a moth pupa of some sort. The sometimes wiggle when disturbed. if the're in winter hibernation, I wouldn't expect them to re-emerge until spring.

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You could be right! I looked up moth pupa images and none of the ones I found were exactly my beastie, but they are similar enough to be on the right track and there are tons of different moths... Thanks, Applestar!
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It could be a pupa of many different things. I keep mealworms and while that isn't the same color as mealworm pupa, it is the same basic shape. Mealworms turn into a beetle. I think many different insect pupa could have that appearance. I'm not saying you need to panic, but it certainly is some sort of insect, not a worm.
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Personally I would not want to have them in my house and only find out what they are after they have hatched. :shock:
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Tox, I have to agree with you. They would be gone! Who knows, they may hatch and eat the worms? Anyway I wouldn't want them in the worm bin. I think I would go digging and get them out of there for good.

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That might be a black soldier fly larva

[img]https://insects.tamu.edu/extension/publications/epubs/local_images/eee00001b.jpg[/img]

I was watching an episode of "Dirty Jobs" and Mike Rowe was at a forensic studies "body farm" type place where they had pigs laid out in various situations. They were talking about black soldier flies, I got to thinking about how they are known to invade worm farms and did a search, thought about this thread, yada, yada.

You might think about putting them in a vented jar with a bit of moist worm bedding. Let them emerge and see if it's something you need to worry about.
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Yes! That is exactly what it looks like! Thanks! So not a problem when they are in my outdoor compost pile, but probably not something I want in the indoor worm bin....

Now I have to see if I can find them again! :(
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Maybe you can start a tiny BSF compost for things worms don't eat and you can't put in the outside pile. For starters, I'm thinking a quart or 1/2 gal canning jar with window screen screwed down with the ring lid. Do you eat cheese? 8)

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You are wonderful, AS! :) Who else would have thought it? I was busy being all creeped out and you think about a special compost (bin? jar? whatever) for them.

Too bad I didn't read your post a little bit ago. I was going to feed my worms any way, so I dug through the best I could and found 4 more of the larvae. I just pitched them out by the bird feeders, where I thought they might become high protein bird food.

It might be a little beyond my current level of appreciating all things natural to keep a jar full of flies and maggots and feed them! Though I understand and admire the sentiment.

I of course don't know if there are more in there that I haven't found yet. If I find more later, maybe I will reconsider.

But the worms seem to be doing well and the food keeps disappearing. No more little flies came out this time and it continues to have no odor but damp fall leaves.

I do eat some cheese and dairy. It doesn't usually create any leftovers. If there is a little end of cheese that gets moldy or something, I just throw it in the compost bucket. But I'm being very selective about what goes in the worm bin, just coffee grounds, potato peels and the best stuff from the bucket. A lot is still going out to the outdoor pile.

I'm enjoying the worm bin experiment... BSF's and all. But nobody tell MH who still hasn't discovered the bin. :) If MH knew about the BSF's, the bin would probably have been pitched outdoors by now...
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kinda creepy

Checked through my worm bin. Worms seem to be doing fine and there are now castings all along the sides of the bin and worm tea at the bottom.

But I found (and removed) 4 more BSF larvae. I don't know if they are ones I missed before or if they appeared new. I'm not liking this part too much. Looking forward to when it is warm enough that I can move the worm bin outside, where it seems like it belongs more.

Also since I started with just a few worms, they aren't producing castings very fast, although they seem to do a good job of chewing through a cupful of kitchen scraps in a week or so. I don't think by seed starting time I will have any noticeable amount of worm castings. I think I will just keep it going, add more worms in the spring when they are easier to come by (with 6" of snow and frozen ground under it, no way I am going to find any more soon!) and hope that NEXT year's seed starting I will have a good crop of worm compost to work with.

@Green Mantis... any update on how your new bin is doing?
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Image is a wee fuzzy, but I suspect [url=https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2006/issue6/]sod webworm[/url]...

Off them. No plusses there... :twisted:

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I know my image wasn't great, but no I really think it is the black soldier fly. The tapering shape and the little peg-thingy at the back end are perfect match. And as I read up on BSF, it is famous for infesting compost piles and worm bins.
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RBG,

The peg-thingy is actually on the front end and is used for climbing out of the feeding zone. At this stag they are no longer eating and are waiting until Spring.

If you want to raise BSF, you really need a type of setup like this one. This is a self harvesting BSF composter.
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/DSC01744.jpg[/img]

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Great information DDF, but no I really don't want to raise BSF's. I found and removed one more today. Also found a little snail climbing up the side, which I also removed. Quite the little eco-system in there; more so than I really wanted, but intriguing.
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:) Worm bin is doing great. They are very busy in there, haven't ( thankfully) found anything weird in there, like you did. They go through those leaves and food fairly fast. I definately want to get more worms in the spring, as I want to start another bin, but I don't want to take any worms out of this one. They all seem pretty happy in there! Definately fun, because with the cold, and snow here, I can't do anything outside, as far as composting. Can't even get to it. So since Spring IS coming ( eventually) That compost bin might get moved, or hopefully we will have a door out to that side of the yard, by then. Then the outside compost bin can stay there. I seriously can't WAIT until it's time to start seeds. After Joining this site, I have got the gardening bug BAD!!!!-------But the worm bin keeps my fingers in the dirt! I just have to snoop every so often! :wink:



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