Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Worms Part Three

It's been a little while since I talked about the worms I'm raising in a small plastic shoebox sized container, so I thought I would post an update.
I opened the bin to check on them with my hand lens, and also to harvest a little of the castings for a couple of small plants I've got going in my mini greenhouse. I found hundreds of strange, small white insects running around when I lifted up some of the castings, so of course I took a picture and then ran to my computer to see what I could find. A quick search led me to conclude I have white springtails in my wormbin.

springtails are the small white little blotches shown here on the right
According to Happy D Ranch, an environmentally friendly worm farm, springtails:

"chew on decomposing plants, pollen, grains, and fungi and are beneficial organisms in the bin. They have been found to be beneficial because of their capacity to carry spores of mycorrhizal fungi and mycorrhiza-helper bacteria on their tegument, soil springtails play a positive role in the establishment of plant-fungal symbioses and thus are beneficial to agriculture. They also contribute to controlling plant fungal diseases through their active consumption of mycelia and spores of damping-off and pathogenic fungi."

Springtails don't harm the worms and are part of a normal, healthy wormbin. There are other kinds of springtails that are considered pests in agriculture, but these guys are worth keeping around.

Here is a cool video of springtails, courtesy of Cathy's Crawly Composters:

I also discovered lots of worm eggs. I know that means I'm going to have to start another bin soon or it will be too crowded.
worm egg taken out of bin

Can you see the worm egg in this picture?

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