Worms in My HOTBIN | FAQ's

4 July 2014  |  HOTBIN Composting

Worms and Composting

tiger worms | worms in the HOTBIN compost bin

I have worms in my HOTBIN?

Worms are not needed in the HOTBIN, but don’t be worried if you do find them, red stripey brandling worms are very common in the HOTBIN and aid the breakdown of waste into compost. Bacterial activity largely powers the decomposition of waste; however with the presence of worms this may also result in a rich vermicompost being left behind along with mucus deposits from the worms gut digestate which some studies have shown to be beneficial to soil fertility. [See also choosing a wormery or a HOTBIN]

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 mould (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 35°C. 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.

White thread-like worms? What are they?

Just millimetres in length, these worms are called pot worms (enchytraeids) and will not cause any harm to anything in your HOTBIN. They thrive and multiply in more acidic and wetter conditions that common red worm’s dislike, which indicates that there may be too much excess moisture in your HOTBIN. To rectify this more shredded paper/cardboard should be added in with the waste.