The yellow tape is out marking the crime scene. Evidence, death and destruction scattered across the area. First real piece of hard evidence was in the walkway leading up to the crime scene. Due to a recent rain there were a number of footprint impressions. Close examination of the imprints pointed the investigation to a certain class of culprit, the Didelphis virginiana. Now I knew the class of the culprit but I knew identifying the individual would be very difficult unless he or she was caught in the act.
I realized that it was my fault that lead to the tragic loss f life. I had to take precautions to prevent another crime like this from occurring. I gathered up the scattered evidence, survivors and the housing structure for relocation. It was my original relocation efforts that lead to the devastation.
It all began with cleaning and organizing my garage. Noble projects in itself, but it lead to the tragedy. I had safely and productively housed my worm farm/bin in the garage for nearly a year without a problem. As we worked on the garage the weather began to ease up and I decided to relocate the bin to a suitable site outdoors near my garden. The move went well and the little guys seemed to be doing well. They were about 6 weeks into the move when I left town to do a consulting job. When I returned I did not immediately go out and check on both the garden and the worms. Now Kathy has accused me of always going out to the garden before seeing her upon my returns from trips, but not this time. It has happened in the past but I am making an effort to shift priorities. (it was after 9:00 PM and dark so it was easier to do the right thing)
Friday morning I saw the scene…..it looks like an opossum(based on forensic evidence) was drawn to the scent of kitchen scraps and managed to open the bin. Now these worms work just at or slightly below the surface under a layer of bedding material – usually shredded newspaper. The top layer and most of the worms were slurped up. A few tend to be deeper in the worm poop so they survived but the majority of the worms were sacrificed to my carelessness. They will reproduce but it will take a little longer as the cool weather sets in and they slow down a little. I was just at the point of splitting the bin as the population was really crowding the space.
Lessons learned – never trust Didelphis virginiana and do a better job on the relocation efforts – consider the local thieves in the night may be and plan appropriately. May need to give my supplier a call – http://www.unclejimswormfarm.com/