The Q&A Archives: Big Worms In My Compost

Question: I started a compost pile last year (home made). I thought all was good and decided to see how well the dirt was turning out on the bottom. When I started to bring dirt out from the bottom white worms (I think they are worms)came out with the dirt. Now, I'm used to the nightcrawlers and even some smaller red worms but these were very large white worms. Could something have moved in and started laying its larvae, or are they the kind of worms that do the breaking down of materials? I'm afraid to use the dirt just in case they are bad worms and eat my good plants. Would appreciate your answer. Thank-you.

Answer: If the worms are short and fat, they're likely the immature larvae of a ground beetle. They won't cause any harm to your compost or garden soil. In fact, predacious ground beetles feed on slug eggs and are most welcome in my garden! If the worms are long and thin, they may be a type of worm called entrachyadids. They will not hurt compost worms but they do indicate acidic conditions, which can be overcome by the regular addition of a handful of lime. Hope this helps you identify the critters in your compost.

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