Looking through the “Easy Bin” http://www.naturesperfectplantfood.com/2011/11/15/easy-worm-bin-photo-essay/ the other day we discovered a bit of a mite bloom. A little alarmed at first we got out the microscope, yes we have one, two actually and decided to try to identify this group. Worm bins are mini eco-systems and have a wide variety of creepy crawlies both good and harmful. You can find tiny centipedes (bad) fly larva (bad)and all sorts of others including these guys Hypoaspis miles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoaspis_miles who are very helpful mites. Used in greenhouses and potted plants as biological pesticides they are one of the reasons untreated or “raw” vermicompost is so effective as soil conditioner. With a life cycle of 7-11 days we must have hit on a newly hatched bunch. You can tell how old they are by the number of legs. It’s what they eat that’s important, the pupae of fungus gnats, springtails and thripes. All pests that you don’t want on your house plants or in your garden. As always we’re not scientists but as worm farmers these mites look pretty good to us. There were plenty of baby worms in the bin so we think they don’t eat worm eggs, they’re quite a bit smaller than your average egg. We also noted that they are easy to find and view under low magnification, it you flip the poor little guys over they’re stuck. Please feel free to comment or question this and any of our posts, next time we’ll start on composting the new KRAFT gum packaging.