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What Do Worms Eat?

Worms are the most diverse organisms on earth. They can eat just about anything, but they mainly feed on plants and decaying organic matter.

Worms primarily eat and drink dead animals, plants, and decaying organic matter. They live in the soil or under rocks and logs. Read more in detail here: what do worms eat and drink.

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They are the hidden workers without whom woods, plants, and gardens would not be able to grow. They can digest organic waste and turn it into life-enriching fertilizer, therefore they may be considered the living incarnation of sustainability. We’re talking about worms, and how they make such a significant contribution to the environment we live in by doing the most basic of tasks: eating. 

Worms are voracious feeders, and some species may swallow their full body weight in a single day. Worms eat dead and rotting leaves as well as soil microbes in their natural environment. Worms thrive on most food leftovers and other organic debris in a compost pile.

Worms play an important part in every ecosystem, whether they are found in leaf litter on a forest floor or in a household compost bin. They act as nature’s sanitation service by swallowing massive volumes of natural and organic waste stuff. However, worms have a greater beneficial influence on their environment, which starts with their nutrition. Continue reading to find out how.

 

What Do Worms That Don’t Compost Eat?

Earthworms are the most common worms, with over 7,000 different species worldwide. Worms’ diet is mostly comprised of the following items:

  • Plant debris and decaying foliage (e.g., small twigs, seeds, and dead roots)
  • Bacteria and fungus are microorganisms.
  • Organic matter from other sources (including animal carcasses and manure)

Although each region of the globe has its own local worm species, worms may be divided into three main types, which are usually distinguished by where they dwell. As a result, what these non-composting worms consume in the wild is determined. A deeper look at the many varieties of free-living worms follows:

  • These worms are epigeic, meaning they live on the surface of the soil, where fallen leaves and other plant materials collect. This is the litter layer, sometimes known as leaf litter. Epigeic worms eat leaves and vegetative matter that has died but has not yet decomposed. Because of their affinity for organic debris, some types of epigeic worms are suitable (more on this later).
  • These worms dig into the ground and build networks of horizontal tunnels in endogeic – topsoil (top 6-12″). Endogeic worms survive by eating soil and extracting decomposing organic matter and bacteria. These worms stir up the soil by digging tunnels, making it more permeable while simultaneously feeding plant roots with their nutrient-rich faeces.
  • Anecic worms are subsoil worms that reside in deep vertical burrows (ranging from 12″ to 3 feet). Anecic worms, such as the well-known night crawler, emerge from the ground to feed on leaf litter, decaying plant debris, and animal droppings. Their beneficial effects on soil enrichment and organic matter recycling cannot be emphasized. 

You may be sure that local worm species are silent but important contributors to any environment with healthy plant life.

Composting Worms: What Do They Eat?

Composting has been a common technique as gardening and farming have evolved from hobbies and DIY projects to legitimate (and more popular) lifestyle choices. The humble composting worm is the indisputable star of the show when it comes to making natural and highly useful soil-enriching fertilizer.

A healthy colony of composting worms is essential for a successful composting operation. 

 

Casting, which is basically worm dung, is the magical element in compost. Worm castings, when combined with other organic waste, provide a naturally generated and extremely sustainable fertilizer that plants adore.

So Composting Worms: What Do They Eat? The ideal diet for composting worms consists of the following:

  • In modest quantities, vegetable scraps such as carrot peels, potato skins, broccoli and cauliflower stalks, leafy greens like lettuce and kale, and onion peels
  • Apple cores, banana peels, cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon scraps (beware of fruit with high water content as the liquid can accumulate at the bottom of the compost bin resulting in a soggy mess)
  • Worms like pumpkins and squash.
  • Small quantities of chicken mash and cornmeal may be used as a supplementary boost to improve worm size and vigor.
  • Animal manures (especially from horses, cattle, and rabbits) may be a great addition to a compost bin and can also be used as bedding, but the manure must be completely free of pesticides and pharmaceuticals like de-wormers.

One thing to remember about worms is that they lack teeth and hence are unable to chew their food. Instead, they depend on grit in their gizzards to crush their meal into something digestible. As a result, a little quantity of soil, sand, or ground-up oyster shells must be added to the composting container.

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Composting isn’t terribly difficult, but it’s also more than simply throwing kitchen wastes into a container with a few worms. Composting worms, contrary to popular belief, do not consume everything they are given, and if fed incorrectly, they might underperform and even die.

What Composting Worms Shouldn’t Eat

Worms are voracious feeders, but they are also very choosy. Adding adequate green and brown waste to a compost bin will guarantee that it produces nutrient-rich material. However, placing the improper sorts of organic waste or other debris in the worm colony would not only result in poor quality compost, but it may also threaten the worm colony’s health.

The following substances are among those that constitute poor (or even poisonous) diet for composting worms:

  • Citrus peels, for example, may change the natural pH balance of a composting bin, causing the worms’ feeding habits to be disrupted.
  • Meats of different types should not be put in a composting bin since they degrade slowly and may attract unwanted critters.
  • Pesticides may be present in garden waste such as grass and tree clippings.
  • Dairy products should not be thrown away since they might get sour.
  • Greasy and greasy items degrade slowly and might become rotten.

Even with good worm food, it’s important not to overfeed the colony since uneaten pieces decay rapidly and may harm the worms. Composting worms consume half of their body weight in food every day, therefore this may be used as a general feeding guideline. A half-pound of food every day, for example, should plenty for a pound of worms (approximately 1,000).

Conclusion

Worms are the wonder workers of the natural world. They not only help to remove dead leaves and other plant detritus from the ground, but they also help to enhance soil structure and supply nutrient-rich fertilizer. 

Because of their enormous influence and critical function in ecology, you may never look at these wriggly critters the same way again after reading this article.

 

Worms are a type of invertebrate that feed on dead and decaying organic matter, such as plants and animals. They can also be found in the ocean where they eat algae, plankton, and other small organisms. Reference: what do worms eat in the ocean.

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