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Featured Customer Questions – John H.

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

I live in Mesa Arizona where the summers are really, really hot. I set up a
worm bin in June. Now it’s September, and I think all my worms are gone. My
wife won’t let me take the worms in the house. Is there any hope for me?  I
keep my bin in the shade under a tree in my back yard. Should I give up? 

John H. 

Hi John,

We have a heat wave coming this week where I live.  Temps expected to be above 100 all week.  Not fun, but I don’t expect to lose any worms. 

Yes/No questions are not always so simple, as things are not always as they appear.  Your question brought up a lot more questions in my mind.

I looked up Mesa’s average temps, in the summer.  The records show they are about 104-105 degrees.  These are definitely extreme. 

Here are some questions for you:

When you say “Shade”, is it total 100% shade or a little sun at times?

Have you ever measured the temps of your bedding when it is hot outside?

In these temps, does anyone keep a dog or a cat outside?

Does your house have a garage? Does your house have a basement?  Possible alternative location?

Does it cool off in the evening where you live?

From my experiences, worms can tolerate a few days of temps above 100 degrees in the heat of a garage (Although nights cool off where I live).  This is much warmer than many articles I’ve read stating sustainable temps for worms.  Yet, if I take a pan of worms outside when it is 80 degrees, the outside of the pan gets warm to the touch, and worms die.  Mesa likely has temperatures too extreme for worms kept outside, even in “Total Shade”. 

People kill worms by having them set up incorrectly in temps of 60-70 degrees.  Although heat may be a contributing issue to the problems you have been having, it may not be the issue that caused you to lose your worms.  

Before I’d throw in the towel, I would ponder a few of the questions above.