Author: wormblog

Composting Stuff

pH Meters and Red Worm Composting Bin pH

What is pH in a worm bin?

pH is the measurement of the acidity of the bedding.  Red Worms, European Night Crawlers and African Nightcrawlers, all composting worms for that matter, need a neutral worm bedding pH in order to thrive.  Worm bins that have bedding that is too acidic or alkaline post health risks for the worms.  Before the worms die, however, they will attempt to migrate out of the worm composting bin.

Why is pH important to red worms and all composting worms? 

pH is important because the worms cannot live and breed in a bedding that is too acidic or alkaline.

How does the pH turn acidic?  

pH can be impacted by lack of air flow through the worm bin and bedding, too much moisture in the worm bedding and by the food that is fed to the worms.   Acidic food can, over time, cause worm bedding to form acid.  That doesn't mean that you can't feed your worms citrus, but it does mean that you have to monitor pH and ensure that any fluctuations in compost bedding bin pH are caught and corrected.

Please help me understand pH.  Does a high pH number mean high acid?

No.  pH is on a scale from Acid to Alkaline, so a low number means a higher acid level and a higher number means that the worm bedding is more alkaline.

What is the right pH for Red worms?

The proper pH for red worm composting is between 6 and 7.  This is not an exact science and some worms, like the African Nightcrawler, will have a higher acid level in there worm bin.  The African Night Crawlers also have a tendency to pull bits of food under the bedding as they eat it.  If you are feeding prepared grain based worm food, like chicken egg layer feed, this can cause higher acide levels if the food goes uneaten and breaks down in the bedding.  Feed grain based foods sparingly, and only feed again once you are sure that all of the food is gone.

 

How do you adjust the pH of worm bedding in a worm composting bin?
Adding eggshells to your weekly feedings of your composting bin or beds will help reduce acid.  You can also adjust the pH by properly aerating the bedding and ensuring that there are adequate air holes in the worm bin.

You also should ensure that the worm bedding isn't too wet. Moist worm bedding is great, but wet worm bedding is not.  Wet compost bin bedding will cause anerobic bacteria to take over and this will cause major issues.  Your worms will die without swift action to dry out the bedding and without treatment of the acid levels.

If the aforementioned preventative methods or cures are put into place and you still have pH issues in your worm bin, then having some powdered limestone on hand is the best way to go.

Lightly sprinkle powdered limestone on the surface of the bedding and then mix it into the worm bedding.  Test the bedding a couple of days after applying lime to ensure that the bedding pH is being corrected.

 

Where can I get powdered lime for my worm bed?

You can get powdered limestone from any farm and garden store or you can get it from us.  We have bagged limestone and we have it in a shaker top can. 

One caveat on lime is that you have to ensure that you get powdered lime and not hydrated lime.  Hydrated lime will kill your worms.  Powdered limestone is what you need.  This is what a bag of powdered limestone looks like from a farm and garden store.  

Where can I get a pH Meter?

You can get a pH meter at many farm and garden stores, from us or online.  Please check out our meters or the ones at the links below.

The meter below is a digital pH meter.

LUSTER LEAF 1845 RAPITEST DIGITAL Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester Test
LUSTER LEAF 1845 RAPITEST DIGITAL Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester Test $12.68
Time Remaining: 24d 11h
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Luster Leaf 1845 Rapitest Digital Soil Garden Plant pH Meter Sensor Test Tester
Luster Leaf 1845 Rapitest Digital Soil Garden Plant pH Meter Sensor Test Tester $12.62
Time Remaining: 10d 1h 22m
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LUSTER LEAF 1847 RAPITEST DIGITAL PLUS Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester
LUSTER LEAF 1847 RAPITEST DIGITAL PLUS Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester $19.90
Time Remaining: 25d 6h 14m
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Please watch our video about pH and using pH meters on your red worm composting efforts.

Live Roaches

Live Roach Care Sheets: Ivory Head Roaches

Roach Species: Ivory Head Roach
Scientific Name and Common Names Eublaberus sp. 'Ivory'

Ivory Head Roach

Sizes Gets bigger than Dubia roaches

Life Cycle

Reproductive Capacity
Gives birth to live young and readily reproduces as long as they have food and Temps

Of about 80 to 90 degrees.

Difficulty Rating

 

Easy to Mid-range.  Although rearing Ivory Head Roaches is easy,

it can be made difficult by their need to have substrate.   Raised the same way

that Orange Head Roaches are raised with substrate of moist coir and leaves.

Climbing Habit

 

The nymphs and adults cannot climb.

Substrate
Coconut Coir Bedding or Peat Moss.  They like to burrow.
Interesting Information

 

Ivory Roaches are currently a rare breed in the roach world.

Ivory Roaches seem to enjoy some crowding and they love food scraps.

The Ivory Roach is often used a composting roach.


Sexing
Males and female adults have wings and are an ivory color

females are rounder, shorter and thicker. The nymphs are brown and

have a dark sheen with 3 brightly colored spots on either side of their bodies.

Origin and Restrictions
Foods Fruit and vegetable scraps.  Will eat moist cat food.
Water Always keep water
crystals present in a cup.   You can get that here
under the brand name, Cricket
Crystals.

 

Housing,
Humidity and
Temperature
Aquarium or plastic
container with air holes and a lid.
Pictures

Composting Roach, Eublaberus Sp. Ivory

Blatticomposting

Blatticomposting: Composting With Roaches.

This video and article is the first in a series that we will do on Blatticomposting.  Please send us your questions or ask them below and we will incorporate the answers in the followup articles and videos.

I am sure that you have all heard of Vermicomposting, which is composting with worms.  Redworm composting has been used for decades to help reduce household waste and create nutrient rich worm castings which are used to fertilize plants.

Well, times have changed and composting is still all the rage but now we are composting with roaches.  This form of composting is called "Blatticomposting.  Relax, these are not the roaches that infest homes and businesses.  These are large roaches that are from tropical regions.  The roaches that we use to compost are actually a species that cannot climb, so you can actually keep them in a plastic Rubbermaid container without a lid and they will not escape.  The end product of the Blatticomposting process is frass (roach poop) which is a great natural fertilizer.

There are two types of roaches used in Blatticomposting.  We use Pantanal Roaches(Eublaberus sp. "Pantanal") and Ivory Roaches(Eublaberus sp "Ivory" ).  Both are related as they are from the same genus, Eublaberus.

Both Pantanal and Ivory are burrowing roaches and love to dig in substrate.  We use a layer of coconut coir.  They also love to eat food scraps and will swarm fruits, vegetables and even meat scraps.

These are tropical roaches so they like it room temperature or above, so a kitchen composter or a composter near a furnace will keep this composting team kicking.

I will post more information on the care of both Eublaberus species soon.  I just wanted to send out a Blatticomposting introduction.  We own the name Blatticomposting.com and we will be offering both types of roaches for sale very soon, with free information on making composting units to house them in.

Enjoy the video.

 

Superworms

Super Worm Care: The Basics of Superworm Care

You order your Superworms, the arrive and then, as you are opening your Super Worm box, that you don't know how to care for them. You scramble for your phone, search for "Superworm Caresheet" and find a bunch of stuff. You grab some oat meals, throw in some apple s

ces and then put them in the refrigerator. You come back later and they are all dead. Believe it or not, we have had people contact us with this exact scenario, so we created this video and quick post.

Superworms are easy to care for. You just need some wheat bran, a potato and a plastic shoe box.

You don't put the lid on the shoe box because the heat from the worms and the potato slices will cause the box to sweat and that will cause the worm bedding to mold. This could also cause mites to grow in your super worm culture.

NEVER PUT THEM IN THE REFRIGERATOR.  Cold kills Superworms.

That is all you need to do. Now watch the video where I tell you the same thing that I just told you.  🙂  If you need Superworms or bran please try Wormman.com

 

What can you use besides wheat bran as your superworm bedding?  You can use chicken food.  Egg layer mash that is used to feed egg layer chickens is a good food for Super Worms.  Some people use oat meal or other grains to as a bedding and then feed a variety of vegetables to the superworms to ensure that they get everything that they need.

We have tried various grains and nothing grows super worms the way regular wheat bran does.  We do use small amounts of yeast as a nutrient when feeding our superworms.  They love it and it is good for them and for us.

If you are interested in breeding your own superworms, then you should try our Superworm Breeding kit.

Live Roaches

Live Roach Care Sheet: Red Runner Roaches

Blatta Lateralis, also known as Turkistan Roaches, Red Runners and a few other names, is a very easy roach to house and breed if you have proper temperatures.

Would you like to see 30,000 Red Runner Roaches in one Rubbermaid container? Check out our video.



Blatta Lateralis


Turkistan Red Runner Roach

Scientific Name

Blatta Lateralis

 Sizes

Up to one inch as
an adult.  Nymphs are about 1/8".


Life Cycle

Nymphs mature at 3
to 5 months. Adults live 6 to12 months

Reproductive Capacity
Egg cases laid
every 2 weeks.  The 20 to 30 eggs hatch in 1 to 4
months.

Housing

Smooth sided
container with cover and egg crates stacked vertically.

Climbing Habit   

Adults do not
climb but nymphs climb well so Bug Boundary Grease
is needed.


Substrate
None needed

Temperature

Above 70F. 
85 better for faster breeding.

Sexing
Males blonde with
wings.  Females red and wingless.
Origin Middle

East

Foods

Dry Roach Chow,
Cat Food, fresh vegetables and fruit. Love bananas and
oranges.

Water

Water gel
recommended.  You can get that here under the brand
name, Cricket

Crystals.


Humidity
Prefers a higher
than average humidity


Live Roaches

Live Roach Care Sheet: Discoid Roaches

Discoid Roaches, also known as False Deaths Head Roaches because of their similarity to the Death's Head Roach are very hardy and easy to care for.

 


Blatta Lateralis


Roach Species:  False Deaths
Head Roach

Scientific Name and Common Names

Blaberus discoidalis

False Deaths Head Roach or Discoid Roaches

 Sizes

Up
to 3"


Life Cycle

Reach adulthood in 3-5 months and
then will live another 10-14 months

Reproductive Capacity
Fast
Breeding

Difficulty Rating

Easy.

Climbing Habit   

Non Climbing.

Substrate
Coconut
Coir substrate and leaf litter.  Also provide hiding
places like small logs or tree bark.

Interesting Information


Sexing
Males
and females look similar with the female being rounder.
Origin Southern
Africa

Foods

Fresh
fruit and vegetables.  They love carrots, wet dog/cat
food and moist cereal.  Limit wet grain based food to
what they will eat at any one time so that you do not
attract pests like flies and mites.

Water

Always keep water
crystals present in a cup.   You can get that here
under the brand name, Cricket
Crystals.

Housing,
Humidity and

Temperature
Aquarium or plastic
container with air holes and a lid.  High humidity with
good ventilation.  85 to 95 degrees
Pictures


Superworms

Superworm Sale

We are offering a Superworm sale Through 8-29!  Get 1000 small, medium or large superworms delivered to your door, via priority shipping for just $23.99.  That's it!  No shipping or handing charges!  $23.99 and you pick the size superworms that you need!

Get Yours While Supplies Last!

Superworm Sale!

Firebrats

Firebrats! Coming Soon to Reptile Near You

live firebratsFirebrats are a new live feeder on the U.S. market.  Firebrats are related to silverfish.  They require high heat to flourish.  They will not breed at temperatures below 80 degrees and do really well at temperatures up to 105 degrees.  The prefer the higher temps.

This video depicts a small breeding and rearing unit that I made to for our Firebrats.  We keep them in coolers at high temperatures so that the heat and humidity are concentrated.  Firebrats love high heat but they also like humidity, but they don't like it wet.

We maintain the proper conditions using a heat lamp, a thermostat and some Cricket Crystals.

Reptiles, dart frogs, frogs of all kinds, fish and birds love Firebrats.  We are in the breeding stages right now, but we will have Firebrats by the end of 2017.

Isopods

Live Isopod Scaber Morph Latest Sowbug Addition

We have been working on this Scaber morph. Porcellio scaber is an isopod that is usually dark grey in color. I first noticed a morph in some captive bred, dark Porcellio scaber which first surfaced with some orange and gray mixed. I isolated that morph and then breed them down through successive generations, always isolating for the desired colors we were looking for. That original morph created some interesting lines, like a dalmation line, orange line calico line and now this ghost Isopod line. The interesting thing is that the eyes are still dark. I have not seen a morph, in my supply anyway, that has pink or lighter eyes.

I just wanted to share our latest isopod breeding antics. We will have these for sale in a few months. We will also have some other cool morphs and Isopod breeds soon too.

Live Isopod Ghost Morph.

Bait

Live Maggots, Spikes, Blue Bottle Fly Larvae for Fishing Bait, for Feeding Dart Frogs, Reptiles, Chickens, Birds and Fish.

We have been working hard trying to figure out how to breed the biggest fly maggots, get them to be hardy so that they a tough enough to ship and put on a hook for fishing bait and able to last so that you can feed them to reptiles, chickens, dart frogs or whatever you might feed our maggots to. Our chicks and dart frogs love our fat white maggots, but enough about me.

Spikes are the larva of the Blue Bottle Fly. They grow quickly and must be refrigerated so that they do not pupate before you need them to.

We will ship live Spike Maggots year round starting shortly.

Meet our masot, Spike in the video. He is actively breeding and ensuring that we have enough spikes to fill orders so that we not out of stock. I would rather not launch if we are going to be out of stock after launching a new product.

Been there and done that. You can see that by browsing our products. The out of stocks are up because demand is up but that is not the way to do business. Spike will see to that. 🙂

Please let me know if you have any questions about our feeder fly maggots or anything else.
Thank you.
Ken