I've been adding shredded paper and kitchen scraps to the worm bin and although materials kept being added, volume did not seem to be increasing. Taking this as a potentially good sign, I decided to take a look at things this morning. Much to my dismay, there seemed to be fly larvae in the bin along with some gnats. Ugh! The last thing on my agenda is to contribute to the population increase of flies in the world. Googling this issue, it appears that what is co-existing in the bin alongside the worms are actually "black soldier fly" larvae. A very good thing, if that is indeed what they are. From what I've gathered, black soldier flies are increasingly being used to compost kitchen waste and - bonus! - their mature larvae can be used very effectively as fish or chicken food. Check out Black Soldier Fly Blog if you're curious or want to learn more. Another bonus to having these guys in the worm bin is that they seem to repel house and other pest species of flies. As adults, the black soldier flies live only long enough to breed and reproduce (a few days) do not eat, buzz, or try to get in the house. They don't even really look much like flies. From what I can tell, there is no downside.
But back to my original question this morning - how are the worms doing? In a word, great! They are making their way through the bin, munching as they go, and the bin gives off a mild, moist, slightly earthy smell. Perfect. Now, next on my agenda will be to build a larger, moveable wooden bin that can be kept in the greenhouse in the winter. Looking through YouTube videos, I came upon a pretty good one here. Not sure when I'll get it done, but now I have a plan of action.