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How to Keep Your Composting Worms Cool in the Hot Summer

hot summer gardenIn the hot summer weather, your composting worms are at risk of getting overheated and dried out. They may even die. That’s because worms are unable to sweat. Outdoors in nature, worms beat the heat by burrowing deep into the soil. But your composting worms don’t have that option. They live in an artificial environment, the composting bin. As a master of their universe, you must ensure they stay healthy. This article is a guide as to how to prevent your worms from suffering in the summer heat.

Setting up Bedding for Summer

Worms get moisture from the bedding. Since worms breathe through their skin, make sure the bedding is moist, like a wrung-out sponge. Should you find the vermicomposting bin too dry, add a little dechlorinated water. Add just a little water at a time because you don’t want to drown your worms. Test the moisture before pouring in any more.

Another way to set up summer bedding is to make it deeper. Not only does that retain the cooler nighttime temperature, but it also gives your worms more burrowing space.

  • If you have a multi-tray worm composting bin: combine your worms in fewer trays, add additional bedding, or delay harvesting to build up worm castings.
  • If you have a big bin: let the worm castings build up, or add more bedding.

Checklist for Summer in the Composting Bin

  • Make sure you keep the composting bin out of direct sunlight during hot months. We suggest placing the worm bin in the shade, under trees or bushes, or under an awning.
  • Put the lid on top of the composting bin. A lid keeps sunlight out and help retain moisture inside.
  • Make sure the lid is on in case it rains. Did you put in a sufficient amount of drainage holes? Do you have a spigot? Drainage ensures that the bin is moist, not flooded.
  • Did you put in enough air holes? Your worms require sufficient ventilation to keep hot air from building up in the bin.
  • To retain moisture, place a special worm bin blanket or a newspaper soaked in water on top of the bedding.
  • Treat your worms to ice. Put it either on top of bedding or bury in the bin’s center. Or, freeze kitchen scraps in a plastic container with some water. Bury the “scrapsicle” just below the surface of the bedding. The ice will slowly melt and release the food.

A Few Notes of Caution

Heat and humidity bring out the bugs. Cut food scraps into smaller pieces, bury them, and keep the composting bin lid on. If ants set up a nursery, take the lid off for a while and they will move. Don’t worry if you see a few bugs inside, because they help break down food scraps.

The lid also deters vermin. A simple reminder that your worms don’t eat meat, bones, and oils. But vermin like raccoons and their friends certainly do. To keep them from getting inside, secure the lid with a bungee cord or bricks.

If you see sprouts growing in the bin, pull them out.

On the Positive Side

Besides gifting you with natural organic compost, your worms will leave additional gifts in the summertime: baby worms. At first, they will be tiny eggs — brown spherical specks in the bin. Soon after, they will hatch. Since composting worms self-regulate their population, there’s not much more to do. Should you have too many worms, give surplus worms to neighbors who want to start their own composting bin.

If too many of your worms are killed by the summer heat, you can always purchase more worms at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm.

Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is the top seller of composting worms in America. Our worms are born and bred in Pennsylvania at our rural farm. Check out our live Red Worms, which are excellent for composting. Our live European Night Crawlers are known for composting, aeration and fishing bait. We also sell an array of composting bins and accessories.

9 comments on “How to Keep Your Composting Worms Cool in the Hot Summer

  • Hello,
    Worm farming is a new concept for me. I do NOT want to keep indoors but rather would like to keep them in my compost bin in my garden outside. Also put them in my boxed tower garden boxes. Any suggestions for this process or type of worm for this situation. I do beleive my soil needs assistance. Even though majority of top soil was purchased.

    Reply
  • I have a large ben for my worms 36″ X 36″ X 20″ cedar box with a hinged lid and stands 5 feet off the ground. The inside is lined with a tarp and a sink drain with screen on top of it, works great. My worms were getting out also till I installed a 3 inch computer cooling fan on top. This keeps the walls dry and the worms cool. No more problems.

    Reply
  • Thank you for all your wonderful comment and articles this is my second time using your worms I went cheap and didn’t buy the large quantity this time I am apartment Urban Worm Composting on my patio in Phoenix Arizona in a Rubbermaid tub after seeing your article I actually tested my temperature my worm bin is 92 degrees in the shade. Of course I have too much food for my 500 worms sow I know I can’t add the Frozen food popsicles but instead we put ice in a ziplock bag and lay it on top of the newspaper on top and it is cooling them down they actually are hanging out underneath

    Reply
  • I think all my worms died within a couple of months. It’s just so hot here in Houston. I could not keep the worm factory 360 below 100. When I dig through the bin, I see a thriving black soldier fly larvae community doing a great job on my scraps, but no worms. They all escaped through the bottom and just died or abandoned ship. I don’t blame them.

    I wan to try again but not sure how to make it work. The bin is on my porch, in the shade. Maybe I just need to skip summers? I tried ice, but maybe just need to cover it daily in ice. But that is a lot of work.

    Reply
  • georgia Simmons says:

    We have many worms but due to health we have to cut back do you buy back your work or how do we sell them?
    We are getting up in age and the have not the engery to take care of so many we have over 4000.
    the are in good shape but need a new home.
    Can you help
    Tanks Dwight & Georgia Simmons

    Reply
  • Brenda Valentine-Bates says:

    With 4,000 worms, you have a money making opportunity! You could go on-line and order small take out cups, fill them with dirt and allocate a number of worms per container (poke holes in lids and keep soil moist and cool) Check out local bait shop prices or locally owned garden centers. Go to local hunting or fishing stores and make a deal with them on a wholesale price. Or go to a local fishing area or flea market on weekends and sell your worms. Good luck

    Reply

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