“Is there any use for dead earthworms? Can they be used in a compost pile?” asks this man in his submission to us. No further context is given, and no pictures are attached, but we will do our best to unpack and answer this question.
Generally speaking, there is not much use for dead earthworms in a compost pile, unless there are other decomposers in the compost that would eat the earthworm, and in turn produce nutrient-rich waste (such as maggots). That said, if the earthworms are discovered dead in a pre-existing compost pile, then that is a sure sign that there is something wrong with the compost pile. Perhaps our reader is not ‘feeding’ the compost pile often enough? Perhaps the moisture levels are not correct? Perhaps it is too cold or too hot? These are all questions we cannot answer, as our reader has not provided the context for it, but they are questions that he can ask himself about his compost pile (assuming he has one and that is why he poses these questions).
Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm.com has a page on finding sick and dead worms in one’s compost and what to do in those situations. He suggests moving the worms that are still alive into a new, fresh container, so that one can look through the old container for any faults that might have led to the death of the worms, and so that one can spare the alive worms from the same fate. Besides a consistent food source for the worms and moisture levels, other things that ‘Uncle Jim’ identifies as important factors to consider why one’s worms are dying include the amount of light and fresh air they are receiving, the pH level in the compost container, the type of water one is using (he recommends using dechlorinated water and not tap water), and making sure that the worms have plenty of space. Additionally, we would just like to add that the death of worms could also indicate the presence of an invasive species that is killing the worms, either directly or indirectly (through competition).
In conclusion, there is not much use for dead earthworms, and their presence in a composting pile is a sign that something may be off. We hope that this article answers our reader’s questions to a satisfactory degree, and we wish him the best with his compost pile.
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