They died. I assume it was too hot and not enough oxygen for my worms in the bin. In March I moved the bin outside, to my balcony, which was a perfect place as long as the temperatures were moderate. The rainy season with its high humidity, as well as high temperatures of June contributed to the problem.

Of course, I still have some worms. I discovered them in my flower pots. They must have gotten into the pots together with compost, either as cocoons,or as very young worms. Anyway, after the temperatures go down I’d like to start it all over again. This time I have to select a better place for the bin.

Update: When I was disposing of the bin contents I saw several larvae in it. They looked quite large and disgusting. Combined with unpleasant smell and very moist and messy look, they provided strong motivation for me to throw everything away, without sorting compost from unprocessed matter.

In that time, I suspected that these larvae might have killed my worms. I also attributed excessive moisture to worms’ inactivity — when they are active, they move a lot through the garbage and help aerate it.

Today (May 9, 2011), while reading about black soldier flies and composting with their larvae, I realized that this is exactly the kind of larvae I saw in my worm bin. The text said larvae composting produces a lot of moisture, which is exactly what I witnessed last summer. There are many accounts of SBF larvae successfully coexisting with worms, when enough drainage is provided.

So, from today’s perspective, the most likely cause of woms’ death was insufficient drainage, insufficient aeration and maybe high temperatures. By the way, all this story repeats what happened to Anne Parmeter from Kobe, whose article in Kansai Scene and blog on inspired me to start vermicomposting.

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