Ants in the Worm Bin

It started simply enough. A prepper blog introduced me to the writings and youtube videos of Marjory Wildcraft, and from there I got to see her interview with Peter Paul on worm composting. Not that I was interested in having a large worm bin like Peter’s. At the time, I was living in a house with no real yard at all. So I started with a small tote and a few worms, and stuck the whole thing under the house to keep it cool.

Then I moved to another house in the same neighborhood, and put my worm bin under this new house… until the rains came, and then the sewer backed up. So now the bin sits under the carport. It was there when ants decided to partake of the feast that I had given to my ever-increasing population of worms.

While the worms appeared to coexist peaceably with the ants (I didn’t hear either of them scream,) the ants made the mistake of chomping on me at the next feeding. What to do?

I remembered that ants hate water, so I donned the rubber gloves, poured in some rain water, then dumped the whole soggy mess into a large bucket. There I added more water to float off the ants, and let it sit, fully flooded, for a few hours. After that, I drained the water to another bucket (instant worm tea), and tucked some dry bedding material under the glob of worms/goo in the bucket. Finally, I set the bucket of worms/goo into a refrigerator-tray of soapy water (ant deterrent) with a screen-lid, under the carport. There, my worms sat, safe and neglected.

Apparently, worms don’t like too much water either, because they decided to evacuate en mass from their still-too-soggy-now-stinky pile, crawling up the inside of the bucket and out under the screen lid, with many getting wiped out in the soapy water.

It took awhile to rescue those worms that were still kicking in the soapy water, and still more time to tediously rescue all the survivors from the sides, nooks, crannies and ridges of the bucket and screen. I then fed and re-bedded them in their original tote, which now sits on top of the bucket, which sits in the refrigerator tray of soapy water, under the carport. The worms appear to have forgiven me.

Note: This article was an entry in our October – December 2014 writing contest. Click here to find out about our current writing contest.

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  • Selene says:

    This is good to remember for when I get around to making a worm bin.

    I hear you can do something similar when bugs are eating leaves on your trees or shrubs. You get a white container and fill it with soapy water. Then you put it under the tree or plant. The bugs are supposed to be attracted to the white container at night. …Never tried it.

  • Diane says:

    Your persistence and ingenuity are inspiring.

  • Dharmananda says:

    When I have ants in my worm bin, I spread Diatomaceous Earth on top of the compost in the bin and all around the bottom of the outside perimeter of the bin where they crawl in from. This effectively kills the ants as the D.E. gets under their exoskeletons, causing them to bleed to death. The D.E. doesn’t hurt the worms. D.E. is available from Ace Hardware, swimming pool supply stores, and online. Hope this helps.

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