Vermicomposting Questions and Answers

Can I put my worm bin outside?

It is possible to put your worm bin outside during the summer in a cool area that is in full shade. Keep in mind, some critters such as racoon may be attracted to your worm bin. Also be sure rainfall will not saturate your bin and drown your worms. The worm bin will need to be moved to a warm, protected location as that autumn begins. A good compromise is to keep you worms in a climate-controlled garage.

My worms are crawling out of my bin! What do I do?

This indicates your worm bin may be inhospitable to worms in some way. Have you:

  • Harvested the worm castings recently? Worm castings are toxic to worms.
  • Given them fresh bedding? Bedding is just as important as food scraps.
  • Checked the moisture of the bin? Too dry worms die. Too wet worms die.
  • Fed them? Keep feeding them regularly.
  • Given too much acidic food? (coffee grounds or citrus)

Sometimes after being introduced to a new bin, worms get a little adventurous. Keeping a light on near the bin will keep the worms from exploring outside their home.

Can worms bite?

No. Worms do not have teeth. They grind their food in an organ called a crop. Don’t be scared to hold a worm. They are soft and most people say they tickle.

Did the worm just pee in my hand?

No. Your hand is dry. To make it more hospitable the worm exudes a yellow slime called coelomic fluid. Exposure to light also triggers the fluid. If handling worms for more than a few minutes you may want to have a spray bottle of water and mist them every few minutes.

Can I cut my worms in half to make more worms?

Cutting a worm in half to grow two new worms is a popular misconception. More than likely you will wind with two halves of a dead worm. Some worms have the ability to eject their tail when tugged on by a bird or other predator. The bird gets the tail while the worm is able to escape and regrow their backend.

Will the worms reproduce in my worm bin?

Yes! Worms are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproduction organs. However, one worm cannot make more worms. Each worm needs another worm to reproduce. Red wigglers will lay eggs in the worm bin that are tiny, pale yellow and slightly football-shaped.

How do I keep rodents out of my worm bin?

Avoid using meat and dairy products which attracts them with their stronger smells. Keep lids of your worm bin sealed tight.

How do I get rid of fruit flies?

Fruit fly eggs and larvae are very common in household fruits and vegetables, especially those we store in the pantry or counter. There are a few things to do to minimize the presence of fruit flies and other insects.

  • Cut food scraps into smaller pieces to allow the worms to eat it faster.
  • Don’t overfeed your worms so that food sits in the bin for long periods.
  • Bury food in the bin.
  • Continue to replace bedding material. As the worms eat the shredded paper, make sure to replace it.
  • Add a layer of dry bedding on top. This could be in a separate tray stacked on top filled with shredded paper that makes it difficult for flies to move in and out of the worm bin.
  • For temporary relief take the bin outside. Open it up to let the bin air out.

Where can I learn more information?

Extension's Indoor Worm Composting Tip Sheet