What to Do When You Have “Too Many” Worms

Another question, somewhat related to the last one I responded to here on blog):

I have way too many red worms in my Worm Factory 360. If I cannot find someone who wants them, will they survive if I put them out in my garden, or out in the woods somewhere?

For starters the idea of “way too many” worms is an interesting one. Generally speaking, a worm population will self-regulate, based on resources and available space. You certainly wouldn’t end up with so many that they basically just start overflowing out of the system (for example).

That being said, it’s never a bad idea to thin out the “herd” a bit, especially if it gives you more room for adding fresh bedding etc!

Starting new systems is a great way to ramp things up even further, if you have the space and interest in doing so. And as I told this person in my e-mail reply, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need another worm bin in the house either. I am a huge proponent of outdoor systems – particularly ones that are at least partially below ground. I’ve really been loving my in-ground bucket systems this season – and kicking myself for not setting up more of these over the years. Very inexpensive, easy/fast to set up, and effective for keeping worms chugging along – even during really hot summer weather.

If placed close to growing plants they can even serve as a sort of “worm tower” (although far superior to the typical 4″ diameter tube version in my opinion).

Assuming you really just want to stick with the one system, helping to “spread the worm” by giving away part of your population is a great option! A post in one of the bigger Facebook groups (Red Worm Composting or Vermicomposting | Worm Farming) should help you find someone fairly close by who would be more than happy to take some worms off your hands. One or more of the various online classified ads websites (eg Craigslist) would be another option as well.

As for just letting the worms go…

While it’s not actually the major ecological atrocity some will claim, releasing Red Worms into “the wild” (including regular garden soil, lawns etc) is a bit of a “waste” in my opinion. They are specialized for living in, and processing rich organic matter – and giving them the opportunity to do so offers so many great benefits.

Even a regular backyard composter (down in the lower reaches where temps are likely more favorable) would be a much better option – and likely something one of your neighbors would have up and running, even if you don’t.

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