Worm Farm Mite Infestation…

Worm Composting...

“I accidentally overfed my worm farm for a few weeks and mites came into the farm. I’ve got the plastic container farms. The mites are a mixed bunch and quite a significant amount are the parasite mites. What could I do to get the mite population under control? I’ve reduced the amount of feeds to once every week an a half to 2 weeks. Rgds” ~ Riz

Hi Riz,

Overfeeding a bin is definitely an easy way to end up with a mite infestation.

In my experience, it is the white, shiny round mites that seem to spring up out of nowhere in huge abundance at these times. They seem to really love wet and acidic conditions – both of which can go hand-in-hand with overfeeding, and also seem to have a particular affinity for water-rich food materials such as squash and melons.

I would definitely be interested to know what the ‘parasitic’ mites looked like. There are some small reddish mites that are known to be earthworm parasites, but I’ve never found any, and my impression in general is that they aren’t all that common (certainly not an epidemic).

One thing worth mentioning – in cases where overfeeding or other issues harm the worms, the white mites mentioned above seem to take on a clean-up role. I have seen them coating dead and dying worms, easily giving the impression that they are parasites or predators.

Another common (but less conspicuous) mite species that also seems to increase in number when too much food is added is a small brown variety – quite slow moving, but somewhat faster than the white mites.

In my experience, the best way to get rid of excess mites is to reduce moisture and eliminate excess food. I find that these types of mites seem to be far fewer in number in open systems or enclosed systems that provide ample aeration.

If you don’t want to keep the lid off your bins, you might simply try adding quite a bit more dry, absorbent bedding such as shredded cardboard or newsprint.

Hope this helps!

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