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Worms in compost?

Posted

One question we get a lot related to making your own compost is about worms.

Are you supposed to add worms to your compost bin? And what if you see worms in your compost bin? Is that good or bad?

Here's the deal. 

The name for composting with worms is actually vermicomposting. Vermicomposting, or worm composting, is a completely different type of composting than regular composting. We sell a few worm composting bins, which are used for composting small amounts of materials like kitchen scraps or coffee grounds in a small, climate controlled area.

If you are doing the regular kind of composting, where you have a standard compost bin or a compost tumbler outdoors, then you do not want to add worms to your composter. The reason is because when you are composting successfully with a regular compost bin, the temperature of the materials will often heat up when they are breaking down. So you'd just end up cooking those worms and it wouldn't do you any good.

However, it you have a regular compost bin that is open to the ground on the bottom, you'll sometimes find that earthworms that are already in your yard will crawl up into your bin to eat some of the composting materials. Since they can come and go freely, they stay away from any hot areas and just go back into the soil of your yard when they have had enough. This is perfectly normal and fine.

If you see other types of worms that look like larvae that are crawling around in the top of your compost bin or in your compost tumbler, this is also typically no big deal. Sometimes flies or beetles will get into your bin and lay eggs, and those eggs hatch into larvae. Just consider them "free workers" who are helping break down your compost materials into finished compost.