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Can your worms drown??

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So what happens when the heavens open and the rain won’t stop?

Earthworms love the summer storms and rainy weather. It triggers the hatching of the compost worm cocoons. It signal time to come to the surface to mate for the field worms. It allows the worms to move around at night. But too much rain can also drown the worms.

Worms have no lungs. They breathe through their skin. So when they are submerged in water they will eventually drown.

So what can you do to save them?

When designing or buying a worm farm, ensure there is adequate drainage. You should be able to water the worm farm and have 90% of the moisture drain through within 30 to 40 minutes.

Consider the types of foods you are feeding the worms. Some will hold much more water than others. Some drain better than others.

Consider the location and design of the worm farm. Can it be covered in prolonged periods of flooding rain? Can it be moved under shelter?

Warning signs

If you look inside your worm farm and all the worms are under the lid or all up around the top, it may be too wet and they are trying to escape inundation. If the contents of the worm farm seem like sludge (ie like soup) it is too wet.

Emergency Treatment

  • move or cover the worm farm.
  • check drainage holes for blockages.
  • fluff up or turn over the material to assist drainage.
  • allow 1 to 2 weeks for it to settle back down and don’t feed during this period.

If all else fails

Clean out the worm farm, especially drainage hole, but keep the vermicompost as it will contain cocoons. Reassess the location of the worm farm to ensure inundation can not occur again. Allow the worm farm to sit for a few weeks without feeding, but do give a light watering every few days. This will encourage the cocoons to hatch.
Happy worm farming.
Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

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