Earthworm Farms: The Bad & the Ugly

Earthworm farms are teeming with other living critters, including insects, other worms, and a host of bacteria and fungi. Many of these are helpful to the environment. On the other side, however, there are the pests that are a detriment to soil quality and will even prey on the beneficial creatures, including worms.

The lists of bad pests vary, but here are a few invaders that are easy to identify and require elimination.

The Bad Pests

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Ants. All so common and typically harmless. That’s with the exception of fireants in some parts of the country, of course. If a worm farm is at the right temperature, ants can take up residence and lay eggs with abandon. As adults, they also consume nutrients that deplete the supply worms need for healthy functioning. Larger ant populations can destroy a bin. It’s important to follow the trail and eliminate the entire group.

Birds. Of course, they’re attracted to earthworms, so it’s essential to have a wire cover on any bin.

Centipedes. While somewhat similar to millipedes in appearance, they feed on living materials, including worms. Removal is necessary, but relatively simple. Finding one or two may mean you’ve corralled the entire offending population in your worm bed as they tend to be very territorial.

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Fruit flies. More annoying than they are damaging. However, it’s best to prevent fly infestations by freezing fruits before adding them to a worm bin.

Maggots. In a worm farm, these are typically the larvae of the soldier fly. As adults, they do not transmit disease, but can be a great annoyance due to their size and slower movements. The maggot stage is generally unpleasant to look at and most owners suggest that their presence is short-lived. On the other hand, they are also good composters.

Pseudoscorpions. These are indeed predators that enjoy attacking a bin and going after the smaller worms. They also prey on nematodes and other beneficial creatures.

Slugs. These are also consumers of living things and if left to control your worm farm, will eventually venture out to damage plants. They love a truly moist environment, which means you can let the bin dry out a bit without harming the worms.

Snails. Treat them the same as slugs – they should be eliminated.

Other marauders include larger animals that can do quite a bit of damage to the soil, destroying worms in the process. Raccoons, moles, rodents, and squirrels are all diggers that can disrupt a happy, healthy worm home.

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