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FAQ's and Troubleshooting

  • The Hungry Bin smells, the interior is fermenting, and I can't find any worms

  • What do I do if flies, ants, and insects move in?

  • What to do if the worms are fleeing?

  • What do I do when I go on vacation?

  • What to do in winter? 

  • The base was removed too early, and the content has split out

  • The Hungry Bin tipped over, and the content fell out

The Hungry Bin smells, the inside is fermenting, and I can't find any worms!

The food for the worms should have the right balance between carbon and nitrogen for the Hungry Bin to be most effective. The ideal carbon-nitrogen ratio is 12:1. To achieve this ratio, it is sometimes necessary to add carbon-rich material.

Fibrous material is carbon-rich, which balances the high nitrogen content in food scraps. If the Hungry Bin smells or waste starts to rot before the worms can eat it, add a fine layer of fibrous material each time you feed the worms to maintain balance in the Hungry Bin. The surface of the Hungry Bin can also be sprinkled with a thin layer of flour or compost soil. If the worms only feed on food scraps, they lack fibre, such as vegetable stems. In this case, only a little fibrous material needs to be added.

Fibrous material includes paper, cardboard, dead leaves (brown), vegetable stems, or old grass clippings (already brown in colour). Fibers decompose more slowly than other food scraps.

The Hungry Bin can also develop an unpleasant odour if it has too much acidic fruit. Sprinkle a small amount of garden lime on the Hungry Bin to balance the acidity. Mixing cardboard or paper scraps with fresh organic waste also helps neutralise fruit acids.

Removing fermenting waste from the Hungry Bin is crucial, as anaerobic conditions (lack of oxygen) deprive the worms of their livelihood. Remove the entire fermenting material. Then, mix a layer of cardboard or paper scraps into the fermenting waste to enhance ventilation and balance the nitrogen.

If only a few worms are left, adjust the amount of food. It may be advisable to buy or search for new worms.

The Hungry Bin smells
The Hungry Bin smells
Insects moved in
Flies, ants and other insects

What to do when flies, ants, and other insects move in?

The design of the Hungry Bin prevents insects from entering the bin. However, the Hungry Bin is a living ecosystem, and some small beneficial insects contribute to faster waste processing. Some insects, like fruit flies, consume what worms may not like and are introduced into the Hungry Bin through organic waste.

The food in the Hungry Bin naturally attracts other insects. Sometimes, a high acidity level may attract insects like whiteflies. In such cases, try to balance the acidity by adding paper scraps, lime, and rock dust. Covering the top layer with a jute sack can also help keep unwanted insects at bay.

The worms escape
What to do if the worms are fleeing?

What to do if the worms are fleeing?

Sometimes, worms gather on the side surfaces of the Hungry Bin and the underside of the lid when it rains. This is their natural behaviour when accessing fresh food. They will retreat from under the lid into the Hungry Bin once the rain stops.

If the conditions inside the Hungry Bin are not optimal for worms, they may also attempt to migrate. This is often the case if the Hungry Bin is overfed, if the food is too acidic or wet. However, it is nearly impossible for them to escape from the Hungry Bin when the lid is closed. Occasionally, a worm may fall into the collection tray, especially if the worm castings were recently removed.

What if I go on vacation? 
During vacation

What if I go on vacation?

Enjoy your time! The worms in the Hungry Bin can manage for two to four weeks without fresh organic waste. The worms can last even longer if you add paper scraps, cardboard, old leaves, or dry garden trimmings to the waste. Moisturise the material after adding it to the Hungry Bin. If you are on vacation for an extended period, the worms should be fed occasionally.

Over winter
What about the Hungry Bin over winter?

What do I do with the Hungry Bin over winter?

In winter, there are two options:

  1. The Hungry Bin can be left outside. The worms may freeze, and the first worm cocoons hatch in spring, gradually rebuilding the worm population.

  2. You can place the Hungry Bin in a frost-protected area such as a garage, basement, balcony, porch, or inside your home. This prevents the worms from freezing, allowing you to continue composting with the Hungry Bin even in winter.

 

The Hungry Bin works more efficiently when temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C.

The base was removed too early
Base removed too early

The base was removed too early, and the content has fallen out!

Harvest the worm castings before the Hungry Bin is full.

The funnel-shaped design of the Hungry Bin compacts the worm castings at the bottom. When the base is removed, only the worm castings at the bottom of the Hungry Bin should fall out, while the remaining content is retained inside. If the worm castings are removed too early, a part or the entire content of the Hungry Bin may spill out.

If the entire content has fallen out, place it back into the Hungry Bin in the same order. The oldest material should be at the bottom of the Hungry Bin, while the younger waste and live worms should be at the top.

If only a part of the content has fallen out, refill it at the top of the Hungry Bin. Finished worm castings on the surface of the Hungry Bin do not affect the worms; however, it may take a few days for the worms to migrate back up, and the Hungry Bin can be used again like before emptying.

Hungry Bin tipped over
The Hungry Bin tipped over

The Hungry Bin has tipped over, and the contents have spilt out!

Reposition the Hungry Bin and return the material in the same order as before, if possible. The finished worm castings should be in the lower part of the Hungry Bin, with organic waste and live worms at the top. The worms may take a few days to migrate to the surface, and the Hungry Bin can be fully utilised again.

Download the manual

Download your Owner's Manual here

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