What Can Red Wiggler Worms Eat? [Infographic]

Greetings worm farmers! For this month’s blog post, we decided to do something a little bit different.

We put our heads together here at The Squirm Firm, and we’ve come up with this amazing infographic to help you answer the question, “What can red wiggler worms eat?”

Red wiggler worms are practically vegans. Their diet consists mostly of vegetables and fruits, no meat, dairy or anything greasy. Healthy human foods are generally healthy for red wigglers too, but there are some important differences. Check out the infographic below!


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What Can Red Wiggler Worms Eat? - Infographic

Do you ever worry if you’re feeding your worms a healthy diet? This infographic is now available as a 6″ x 9″ refrigerator magnet at The Squirm Firm.

With this infographic by your side, you’ll never have to worry again. Click here to check ’em out!

Food to keep red wigglers’ hearts – all five of them — healthy:

Red wigglers enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

  • Vegetables: including celery, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, corn, cucumbers and cabbage
  • Fruits (non citrus only): including watermelon, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears and apples
  • Cooked Beans: black, pinto, white, and garbanzos are fine

Never add these foods to your worm bin:

There also are foods and materials that should never be added to the worm bin. For example, non-biodegradable materials don’t do any harm but they take up precious space.

  • Citrus fruits: they contain a compound called d-limonene, which can harm your worms
  • Meats, fish, bones, dairy, and eggs: these create foul odors and attract unwelcome visitors
  • Oily, greasy, salty, spicy foods: they are too hard to digest
  • Pet feces: may contain pathogens that are not welcome in the compost

Then there are the middle-ground foods that red wigglers can eat occasionally.

Foods which are okay for red worms in moderation:

These are starchy foods – think potatoes, grains and bread. Make sure you don’t overdo them; do not feed these items unless you are sure that your worms have finished any other starches that are already in your worm bin. Aside from too many being unhealthy for the worms, the presence of starches can encourage annoying gnats to move into your worm composting bin.

  • Pizza crust (without the cheese)
  • Pasta (no butter sauce)
  • Rice (brown or white, long or short grain)
  • Bread (whole wheat, sourdough or whatever you like)
  • Pancakes (or waffles without the whipped butter or cream)

Some extra red wiggler feeding tips:

Of course, red wigglers also enjoy materials not in a healthy human diet. These items include shredded newspapers, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags (without the staple), and paper egg cartons.

To keep your compost more chemical-free, be sure to rinse off the vegetables and fruits before tossing them in the bin. Even better, choose to eat only organic foods.

Occasionally add some fine soil or crushed eggshells – aka grit — to the compost bin. This helps the toothless warms process their food. Better yet, blend the food before feeding; this speeds up digestion, allowing your worms to process more food in less time.

So how do I remember all of this?

If this seems like a lot to take in, that’s because it is. So, in order to help you out we have decided to offer this infographic in physical form.

You can now order this infographic as a 6″ x 9″ refrigerator magnet!

Imagine you just finished with breakfast, and are about to rush out the door to go to work. You don’t remember if the scraps from your breakfast would be an appropriate breakfast for your worms.

You want to make sure you are feeding your worms a nutritious diet, but you don’t have the time to go research online.

Our new “What Can Red Wigglers Eat?” Infographic Refrigerator Magnet may be just what you need. Click here to check them out!

If you found this infographic useful, and would like more great worm composting tips, tricks, and how-to’s, sign up for our newsletter using the bar at the top of this page. Happy worming!

Article by Bob Kenney

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Readers Comments (21)

  1. My red wrigglers are not migrating up to the second tray even though I’ve been feeding them there for a couple of months now. The first tray that they are living in looks awesome and ready to use if they would move out.

    Reply
    • One way to encourage red wigglers to leave a tray is to expose it to bright light. Place the active tray above the one you would like them to migrate to. The worms will move downward away from the light source into the dark tray below. Then you can reset the trays and get to using that beautiful worm compost!

      Reply
  2. Instead of crushed eggshells (which I don’t usually have as I don’t use or eat eggs regularly) can I use crushed or powdered oyster shells?

    Reply
  3. great info. thanks!

    Reply
  4. Thank you for the most informative article. Being new at this brings up more questions than I would have believed possible.

    Reply
    • Hi, Joyce! Always learning, right?! Stay tuned, we are planning even more informative articles on feeding your compost worms what would otherwise be waste. If you have any more questions, feel free to throw them our way. Happy to help!

      Reply
  5. Ingo Boscheinen July 27, 2018 @ 9:33 pm

    Hi Francesca, I’m in Australia and love reading your posts. Vermiculture is on the rise here and we are working on beautiful timber worm farm. I am a builder and have developed a Cedar Worm Home, fully waterproofed and with a tray to collect tea. Perfect for balconies and garages. Plastic gets too hot in our climate. You can email me to further discuss, Warm Regards Ingo Boscheinen.

    Reply
    • Hi, Ingo! I love your enthusiasm! I’ll bet you designed a great structure for your worms! I’m curious about how you waterproofed it and if that would be enough to protect the worms from cedar oils getting to the worms. Cedar contains toxins that are harmful to worms. They’ll avoid it and be okay if they have enough space to get away to, but I don’t recommend direct contact if that can be helped. Glad to know that vermiculture is alive and well around the world! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  6. Thank you so much for sharing your info. I live in South Africa and it doesn’t seem like Vermiculture is very big here. So I found your blog very valuable. I realised now that some of the foods I am feeding my worms aren’t the best – like Orange peals and Pineapple peals.

    Was also concerned that my castings are very clumpy and moist and the videos all looks nice and dry – you explained that very well. Thank you

    Reply
  7. Hi. Nick from South Africa again. I have been harvesting and never concerned myself with eggs. Didn’t realise they would be all mixed in – makes sense though. So, Is there a way of separating the castings from the eggs without a sieve?

    Reply
    • Hi, Nick. Yeah, those little egg sacks are easy to lose track of in all that worm cast compost! Without a sieve, I’m afraid it’s up to your eyes and fingertips to do the work. I personally don’t actually sieve my cocoons out, as much as sift the compost so that it’s all light and fluffy. Then I’m able to really easily rake through to find them. I still need to pick them out by hand, but its way easier when there are no clumps for cocoons to hide in. Best of luck! Let us know if you come up with another brilliant method!

      Reply
  8. I’ve been wondering if adding wild mushrooms. Living in Maine, USA and we gather mushrooms regularly on our walks – some we eat but others – of course not. Still, would the worms be fussy? If yes to the idea of adding wild mushrooms – should I run the through the blender first or let them rot a bit before adding them to the menu?

    Thanks much.

    Reply
  9. Is it okay to blend up moldy fruits or veggies and feed them to the worms? berry season just passed a bit ago and I had some strawberries I forgot about in the refer.

    Reply
    • Yes, Sean. Blending up molding fruits and veggies to serve to your worms is still safe. There are microorganisms in the bin that feed specifically on mold. Go for it!

      Reply
  10. Love this information very helpful! I’m new to worms and have a nice starter bin, my worms are active and according to your chart I’ve got the right food in there but I just can’t tell if they’re eating it or if I need to put something else in. I so worried they’ll starve! How long does it usually take them to eat a small handful of leafy vegetables?

    Reply
  11. Awesomeness, thanks at all!

    Reply
  12. So glad to have stumbled upon this site! I am about to harvest for the first time. My question is how long can the castings be kept and do they need to be stored in a certain manner?

    Reply
    • Hi Cindee! Thanks for asking! Damp castings remain a very nutritious fertilizer for up to 3 years when kept aerated and adequately moist. The living organisms within the compost require fresh oxygen to have a healthy aerobic environment.

      Reply

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