Do Worms Eat Compost? (Or Do Composting Earthworms Just Create it?)

Yes, worms do eat compost, in its earlier stages.  Worms eat all sorts of naturally decaying matter and then turn it into worm castings – which will in turn nourish your compost.

Compost is made of decomposed organic material, so the finished product won’t necessarily be a worm’s cup of tea. It is in fact in the earlier stages of the composting process that a worm will be feasting! 

Can I feed compost to worms?

You can put your organic waste in a compost bin to feed your worms and red wigglers. 

Compost being already decayed organic matter, it is not exactly what you are going to be feeding to your worms. The composting process is made even easier thanks to worms living in the soil.

The organic waste (such as food scraps) that you put into the compost bin will be eaten by the worms, become worm castings and then become a part of the final compost. 

Why do worms die in compost?

There are a few reasons that your worms could be dying in your compost bin. 

Too little moisture

The main concern and common issue in worms bins is the moisture.  Your worm bin must be damp! Worms breathe through their skin, so a damp environment is essential for their survival. 

When adding the bedding to your compost pile, make sure that it is quite damp. The bedding will absorb a lot of the moisture in the worm farm, so do pay attention to it. 

Remember that the worms live in and eat the bedding, so bedding that is dry is never a good idea! 

Too MUCH moisture

On the flip-side, the compost bin should never be physically wet.

Too much moisture would be just as bad for your worms and could kill them all the same.

You may have noticed that when it rains, worms tend to surface.

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This is because the excess of water making its way into the ground is suffocating them, and they need to rise to the surface in order to breathe.

 In your worm composting bin, however, there will be nowhere for the worms to go (and if there is, they’ll be out of there before you can say “worm compost”) and too much moisture can kill them. 

When composting with worms, it is important to pay attention to the products that you are putting into the worm bin.

Should you be putting in very wet foods (fruit and vegetable scraps like melons or cucumbers, for example), then do remember to maybe add an extra layer of bedding to help soak up some of the liquid. 

Other Points to Consider for Your Composting Worm Bins

Moisture isn’t the only thing that could be damaging to your worms.

Some of the food scraps that you may be putting in your bin are dangerous for your worms if they are not treated properly. 

A prime example of this is eggshells.

Eggshells are common food scraps and are great for composting worms’ bins but they must be dealt with accordingly before being fed to your worms. 

A worm’s skin is extremely fragile and must avoid any sharp surfaces at all costs. A nasty cut could kill the earthworm very easily.

As brittle as eggshells appear to us, it will come as no surprise that they are in fact very sharp, especially to a worm!

Simply giving eggshells to your compost worms without proper preparation could be very dangerous.

That said, eggshells are a great food source and can be fed to your worms. You just need to prepare them beforehand.

It doesn’t take much, simply ground them down into a powder before putting them in the worm composting bin.

The powder will be ripe for the worms to live in and consume without being in any danger of hurting themselves on it. They can then happily eat the food and other material alongside and deliver you some great compost.

Another food from your kitchen scraps to be wary of is lemons, orange peels or anything acidic.

Contrary to popular belief, worms can in fact eat citrus fruits, but if you plan on putting them in your worm bin then do so carefully.

The trick is to not put too much in at once. Too much acid could kill the worms, but small amounts every now and then may do just fine.

Want to know more about feeding worms, vermicomposting, or how to keep your red wiggler worms happy? Read our articles, including a full guide on the best way to feed bread to your worms‘ diet.