...I really thought I was too late. I had left my can-o-worms vermicomposter out there all this time without even really looking inside except to snag a few worms from time to time to put in the Winter Indoor Garden containers. When temps started to fall below freezing, I covered it with double-layer of garden fleece.
Now, later this week, we are going to see low 20's, possibly even teens °F for the first time, and I knew I had to save them some how. Either dump them all out and let them find shelter on their own or bring them all in. But I wasnt going to be surprised if they had all frozen and died already.
Today, I opted to "at least collect one small container full" --- but when I rummaged around the top tray I found all of them clustered in the outer shells of the luffah that I had just recently processed (I had an inkling they would love those ). There were tons of babies and even amber-colored beads (worm "eggs") scattered among the rich vermicast.
I went back for more containers, even an empty milk carton, and scooped out the lot, from the top two trays (mostly vermicast but very wet) as well as the bottom drip tray which was also full of vermicast and muck. Probably from last night's rain.
As luck would have it, the delay in cleaning out the can-o-worms resulted in the cold effectively clearing out all of the ants that had moved in. I only saw few rollie-pollies, which I tossed out onto the grass, and maybe 4 black soldier fly larvae or pupae.
I may yet decide to bring in the can-o-worms -- I left the trays on the ground so any worms I might have missed will have a chance to leave and burrow into the ground underneath -- but last winter the worms did just fine in a medium tub, which takes up much less space in the crowded garage. For now, I put the worms in my 3x2gal bucket DIY vermicomposter and two small plastic trays of moistened coir and the milk carton.
Once I get the bottom two buckets of vermicast and coir and old potting mix sorted out, I can hopefully re-distribute the worms properly. I had already prepped the top bucket by filling it with kitchen scraps, so hopefully they will move into the food bucket on their own.
I'm thinking I need to make some improvements to this old bucket system -- maybe drill more holes in them....