Compost worms will live comfortably bedding temperatures (as opposed to air temperature) of around 16 – 27°C, give or take. Your worms will tolerate ranges of 4 – 32°C, however, they may become less productive at the temperature extremes.
Managing hot temperatures through our scorching Australian summers can be challenging, but here are some tips to help ensure your worms survive and even thrive through the hotter months.
Having a worm farm with a large thermal mass (rather than thin layers of tray designs for example) is one of the best mitigations for temperature fluctuations (hot or cold). The temperatures in the core of the large bedding mass, remain more constant and less impacted by external air temperatures. If too hot or cold towards the surface or edges, the worms have somewhere to escape to. They may seek refuge during the day and surface at night when cooler to eat. A thin layer of bedding in a tray style worm farm is far more susceptible to extremes of temperature which is why all of our habitat designs embody the large thermal mass principle.
- Add thinner layers of feed to minimise the heat generated by decomposing food (only 2.5cm thick)
- Limit feed to certain sections of the bin so that there are cooler areas where the worms can go to escape decomposing, heat-conveying food.
- Your instinct may be to cool down the bin by spraying lots of water. However, this may actually cause the bin to heat up as water fills the (crucial) air pockets in the bedding, bringing about anaerobic conditions.
- Check your habitat’s moisture levels regularly.
- Apply the ‘squeeze test’ method – squeeze the bedding in your hand and if only a drop or two comes out the moisture level is spot on!
- Instead of spraying water to soak the bedding, always use a fine mist.
- Freezing your scraps prior to feeding can also assist in dropping temperature levels.
- Always ensure your habitat is located in a fully shaded area throughout summer.