More worm bin critters

Written by Matthew on January 9th, 2010

Well I am sure there are to many critters that could possibly find a home in a worm bin to ever list, but I am going to start a list. There are many places with list already, but I will try and produce the most extensive list with common and scientific names and pictures. I will include a reference HERE. This post will be updated regularly as it will be an ongoing work. Please help by adding new creatures, your experiences with them, if a particular creature has been a problem or help to you, what you have done to get rid of a creature or manage it, corrections to scientific names (they are always changing), any good pictures you have of a bin creature or anything else that may be helpful. And so it begins…

There are plenty of authors who have wrote of there experiences with worm bin creatures but two excellent sources , although not writing specifically on this subject, having practical information on many creatures are worth mentioning. Mary Appelhof’s Worms Eat My Garbage covers many of the more common creatures, and Ruth Myer’s A-Worming We Did Go! goes into great detail about a couple of common problem creatures and how she finally overcome the great troubles she had with them.

This is going to take some time so I think I will do it like this. I will make a list here on this post and then go back and make a more detailed post on each creature in this list with a link to it from here.

Scientific names may be given as a family where many varieties exist.

potworm whitewormWhite Worms, Pot Worms
Scientific family: Enchytraeids
Small white segmented worms. 10-25mm long
Effect on worm bin: Consume and help break down bin components. Not a problem where composting is the main objective. Undesirable where worm production is the objective. These are not nematodes which are unsegmented.

Springtails

colorful-springtail-with-water-drop

Thanks to lord v on flickr for another amazing photo!

Scientific order: Collembola
Over 1200 different know species with habitats from the Arctic to the equator.
Small white flea like creature. May cover surface of bin so thickly that they look like a white powder.
Can jump the equivalent of human jumping the Eiffel Tower!
One of the most important creatures for creating the worlds soil humus.
Effect on worm bin: Consume and help break down bin components. Not a problem where composting is the main objective. Undesirable where worm production is the main objective.

Woodlice Rolly-Polly SowbugSowbugs, Pillbugs, Woodlice, Rolly-Pollies, Isopods
Scientific name: Armadillidium vulgare
Look like tiny armadillos. Can roll into small balls. Need a moist environment to transpire O2.
Effect on worm bin: Consume and help break down bin components. Not a problem where composting is the main objective. Relatively non-invasive and should not ever present a problem to most worm bins.

Centipedes
Picture
Scientific Class: Chilopoda
Ok these are one thing that we need to keep out of the bin. They are not likely to multiply rapidly but if you see them kill em, at least this is my opinion. Be careful as they have a poisonous bite and they may eat the occasional worm. They often find there way in on yard trimmings and I often see them in mulch. You can easily tell them apart from harmless millipedes by the number of legs per body segment. Centipedes have two legs per segment, while millipedes have four. Also centipedes can move much quicker than millipedes.

millipede

Millipede

Millipedes

more info to come

mites-and-a-springtail

Thanks to lord v on flickr for the use of this amazing photo! He has more click on the photo to look.

Mites

more info to come

 

6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jean Kruse says:

    Great picture of the springtail – sorta looks like a unicorn!

  2. Matthew says:

    Yeah, I never noticed that but it does look like a unicorn. Many of the pictures on this page are from other sources, including the springtail. I have not got around to listing sources for the pictures yet.

  3. Matthew says:

    Well I changed the springtail picture, as good as it was I like this one better. I am glad that Lord V from flickr lets me use some of his photos. They are amazing. I don’t have the equipment or patience to get the little critters.

  4. woww.. gross.. hehe scary slimmy creatures.. Im afraid of that! haha

  5. Sue says:

    So, how DO I get rid of springtails. I dried out the bin and worms are getting real small and skinny and hiding at the bottom. Springtails are in all levels of VC and still multiplying, just like powder everywhere.

  6. Matthew says:

    To get rid of sprint tails in the worm bin, try actually keeping the bin wetter. Add a little dawn soap, about 2 drops, to a gallon of water and water the springtails and worm bin with it. Repeat weekly until the number of springtails is reduced.

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