Little White Worms In A Worm Bin

Worm Composting...

“I have a small home worm farm that I have been using with just house hold waste. It has gotten wet from the rain and I have keep it drained and my worms seam to be doing well but I do have a smell and little white worms in it. I’m sure that I put to much green in it and I have been putting more paper in it as well as some sandy dirt. What do I do about my unwanted worms in the bin.” ~ Karl Y

Hi Karl,

Your situation is one that is very commonly encountered by home vermicomposters.

The little white worms are literally referred to as ‘White Worms’ AKA ‘Pot Worms’. They can be very common in compost heaps and bins, and just generally in habitats containing concentrations of decomposing organic matter – especially when there are a lot of rich, wet wastes present.

They seem to thrive in acidic conditions, and in fact can be a good ‘indicator species’ in your worm bins – if you suddenly see a huge abundance of them it can indicate that the bin may be headed towards becoming ‘sour’.

I can still vividly remember my first experience with White Worms in a worm bin.

It was in fact my very first worm bin, so needless to say I was a little wet behind the ears. Long-story-short, I ended up adding about 2 lb of cooked rice to my (SMALL) bin, thinking my Red Worms would happily convert it into black gold for me. What actually happened is that it turned into a nasty anaerobic goo – you could actually smell the fermentation (worm bin Sake – yum!).

Apart from the strong smell and big ol’ pile of nasty rice goo, there was also suddenly a HUGE population of white worms! They were everywhere, even coming out the air holes of the bin (where they formed a dried white crust on the lid and sides of the bin).

As I discovered, combining lots of starchy materials with lots of moisture is an easy way to boost White Worm numbers in your bin – but even just generally adding too much food waste at once can lead to an increase in White Worm abundance as well.

I think you are definitely on the right track, Karl. Aside from adding lots of fresh bedding, I would likely leave the lid off the bin (maybe leave a light shining over it just in case) to let some the excess moisture evaporate.

Hope this helps!

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