What do worms eat?

Feeding your vermicomposting worms is simple. Your guide to do’s and don’ts on feeding composting worms.

Helpful worm feeding tips

Cut food up into smaller chunks. This decreases the time it will take for the worms to eat their food. Worms eat bacteria growing on the food waste along with very small pieces of food. The greater the exposed surface area of the food, the faster the food will break down and make it possible for the worms to eat. Avoid blending the food as this will quickly release the water and could make your vermicompost bin too wet. Small chunks of food are better.
Review the list of foods below. As with humans, worms like some foods better than others.

Proper worm foods

Love It
  • Pumpkin
  • Left over corn cobs (rinsed)
  • Watermelon Rinds
  • Cantaloupe Rinds
Like It
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Crushed Egg Shells
  • Banana Peels
Tolerate It
  • Citrus
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Feed your worms a diverse diet and always feed in moderation. If you have left over food that you don’t want to waste; chop it up and put it in a Ziploc bag in your freezer for later.

Keep out of your worm composting bin:

  • Bones
  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Oils
  • Salty foods
  • Grass Clippings
  • Inorganic products

Special note about tomatoes: Worms love to eat tomatoes, but they don’t process the seeds. As a result, when your vermicompost is finished, you will probably find little tomato seedlings sprouting up wherever you have used your vermicompost. Just pluck them out and give them back to the worms to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Worms eat grass clippings naturally in the wild and thrive. Why can’t I feed them grass clippings?

Grass clippings in worm bins will heat up and kill your worms. You can feed them to the worms, but only in extremely small quantities. Save them for your hot compost pile instead.

I thought worms ate anything organic. Bones, meat, and dairy are organic. Why don’t they eat those?

Actually, they will eat them, but it takes much longer for bones, meats, and dairy to break down to a point where worms will process them. In the interim, these products will rot, cause smelly conditions, and will attract pests and scavengers. It’s best just to avoid these products.

Why shouldn’t I feed them oily or salty products?

Worms breathe through their skin. To do this, their skin must stay moist. Oils will make it impossible for their skin to absorb air and salts will pull moisture from their body. Oils and salts could dehydrate, suffocate, and kill the worms.