Dealing With An Over Populated Worm Bed

Worm Composting...

“I have been very fortunate or maybe just did some things correctly my first time out but now I find that my 4′ x 4′ wormbed is getting pretty crowded. Every hand rakeful is full of worms… babies, juveniles, mature and BREEDERS! How do I tell if the bed is overcrowded and in need of larger quarters for the herd?” ~ John

Hi John,

It sounds like that’s a ‘good problem’ to have – congrats on your worm breeding success.

Generally, a worm population will regulate itself based the size of the system and the conditions present. Larger systems can be expected to hold more worms, but there is no holding capacity for a given bin size that is set in stone – it depends a great deal on the quality of the worm habitat as well.

A bed can support anywhere from 1/4 lb per sq ft (or less) to 4 or 5 lbs per sq ft (as has been observed in a highly optimized flow-through reactor), so it can be hard to say or sure when your bed is getting overcrowded.

All that being said, if you are keen to expand your operation and stimulate rapid population growth, it’s not a bad idea to split your beds once you start noticing high densities of worms throughout. Simply take out half of the material (and worms) and place it in a new bed already half filled with aged worm food/bedding.

Aside from keeping your eyes open for high densities of worms, be on the lookout for any signs of stress. Are there any worms dying or trying to escape? Has the vast majority of material in the bed been converted into castings?

Hope this helps!

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