Worms in my HOTBIN!

Do you have worms in your HOTBIN?

If you do... all is good. Worms are not needed in the HOTBIN, but don’t be worried if you do find them! Red or white worms are very common in the HOTBIN and they aid the breakdown of waste into compost. Bacterial activity largely powers the decomposition of waste inside a HOTBIN. However, the presence of worms may also result in a rich vermicompost being left behind, along with mucus deposits from the worms gut digestate. Some studies have shown worms to be beneficial to soil fertility. Note: If you have white worms (enchytraeids) be assured that they will not cause any harm to anything in your HOTBIN. However, different from red worms, the presence of white worms  might indicate there is an excess of moisture in your waste. To rectify, add more shredded paper or cardboard to the waste.  

How do worms get in the HOTBIN?

Worms/worm eggs casts are found in soil or old compost just like slugs and snails and can also be found attached to leaf mold (tiger worms are used to decompose leaves). In the case of the HOTBIN which is a sealed unit, worms are often added during the set-up of the initial base layer.

Can the worms survive the hot temperatures?

No. Worms and egg casts are unable to survive the high temperatures inside the HOTBIN once it reaches 95°F. To explain further, the HOTBIN settles in temperature zones with a cooler base layer where worms may survive and then subsequent layers increasing in temperature towards the top of the bin. It is common to see an increase in the HOTBIN worm populations in the Spring, as the base layer has sufficient food and temperature for worms to sustain breeding through the winter.

Worms are crawling up the walls and over the lid?

They are trying to escape! After setting up your HOTBIN the temperature will start to increase and as this happens the worms will start to look for an escape route. This may involve heading for the cooler base layer and sometimes out through the aeration base plate, or as heat rises they may wriggle up to the top of the bin and get stuck near the lid. What you decide to do with the worms is up to you and your personal views; leave them, place them back in the cooler bottom layer or feed them to the birds.