Your worm bedding can become too wet for various reasons.
- The food you added contained more moisture.
- The humidity has gone up and the bedding isn't evaporating as much.
- You added more water than you realized.
- Rain blew in on the worm bedding.
Why is it deadly and why do worms crawl when the bedding becomes too wet? Worms breathe through their skin. When the bedding is too wet, oxygen cannot transfer through their skin and the worms actually drown. The worms crawl because they can't breathe. Do you blame them? If they don't crawl, they die.
Bedding that is too wet is also susceptible to mites, mold and "souring". The bottom-line: You don't want your worm bedding to become overly moist.
The best remedy for too-wet worm bedding is to not let it get wet in the first place. Sometimes, though, it just creeps up on you. You don't realize the weather has changed from hot-and-dry to cool-and-damp or hot-and-humid. You've been adding water like crazy during that hot dry spell, then all of a sudden, it's not. You're in a mode of operation, zoned out, worrying about a zillion other things and you just keep watering the same every day.
Or, you've gotten a supply of free worm food, maybe some "spent" grain from the brewery. It's wetter than what you've been feeding. The moisture in the feed trickles down through the bedding and gradually saturates it.
Or, it rained like crazy one day. A record 7 inches of rain blew in that open window, under that tarp, or through that shed roof, and filled up your worm bed.
Whatever happened, that one day, you go to your worm beds and there are worms all over the place. On the top, up the sides, over the edge, on the floor, out the door. The more worms you have, the worse it is. It's called a "Worm Nightmare". Everybody has one every now and then (a few unfortunate souls all the time) and it is truly a nightmare.
If your bedding becomes too wet, what are you to do? Well, according to just how wet it is, there are some things you can do. But whatever you do, do it quickly. Your crawling worms are dying and your un-crawling worms may already be dead.
Next post.... what to do.
Worm Farm Resources:
Worm beds and worm bedding how-to's are extensively covered in my Worm Farm Manual.