Do Red Worms Self-Regulate Their Numbers?

A question from Debbie:

Do the worms self control their numbers based on the size of their
habitat? Or will I end up having to “cull” some of them to another
bin? I could see that it might get out of hand that way. Thanks

Hi Debbie,
That’s a great question – and one that comes up a fair bit.
The good news is that you certainly don’t need to worry about your worms becoming so abundant that they start pouring out of your bin, or anything crazy like that (haha). They definitely will start to self-regulate eventually. Still, it’s generally not a bad idea to split your bin (assuming you want to expand your worm herd), give some of your worms away etc etc before they get to that point. While loads of worms aren’t really a problem, the rapidly declining habitat, and rapidly increasing concentration of worm castings can lead to more serious issues – especially if some of the worms start dying off.

Splitting basically involves removing half of the contents of your bin and filling in the empty half with new bedding/food material. The material removed can then be used to set up a second bin in a similar manner. You may prefer to actually harvest your vermicompost (see the harvesting section on the HOT TOPICS page for links to relevant blog posts), and then add your worms to a newly set up system (after you’ve let it age for a week or so) – or multiple systems.

Giving away some of your extra worms shouldn’t be too difficult either if that’s your preference. Simply post an ad on Craigslist etc and/or some of the vermicomposting forums and you should get some responses fairly quickly.

Hope this helps!

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    • Ted
    • August 10, 2011

    With schools starting up soon, give’em a call to see if they have any composting projects planned.

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