Rotline Question: Is it possible to have too many worms in my vermicompost bin?
Answer: Red wiggler worms are amazing in so many ways, and population management is one of them. So, the short answer to the question is “No, you can never have too many worms!”
As worms adjust to their home, they lay eggs to reproduce, allowing more and more worms to join the population in the environment. The growth of the worm population is limited by the food resources and living space available to them. So, if there is not enough food or free space for the worms, they take care of the situation by slowing down their rate of reproduction. Once food scraps become readily available or population density decreases, they will adjust and begin reproducing again.
Of course, anytime you feel there is an over-abundance of worms, you can help with population management as well, in the following ways:
- starting a new bin
- sharing worms with friends and neighbors
- adding some worms to your regular compost bin
- feeding them to your fish/chickens/turtles/frogs/snakes/lizards
- starting an outdoor vermicomposting system
And if you take too many away, don’t worry – just give scraps and a little time, and your worms will adjust and increase reproduction to fit the available resources. Worms are very adaptable to their environment and I am often reminded about how forgiving they are!
Written by Marcia Faller, Master Composter grad (Encinitas 2020)