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What do Worms Eat?

What do Worms Eat?

Worms are found all over the world.  They do not have any arms or leggs and they also have no lungs for breathing.  They breathe through their skin and can reach the age of up to 5 years. Worms can be microscopic or up to 1 metre long.  Worms move by using bristle-like segments to drag themselves forward.

There are 3 categories in which worms can be identified, namely

Platyhelminthes –  These include parasite worms like Flukes, Tapeworms and Flatworms.  These worms have ribbon or leave shaped bodies and the eyes are at the front part of the worm’s body.

Nematoda – These worms are found in very damp, mossy places and also amongst decay.  Some species are also found in fresh and salt water.  Some examples of this species are Threadworms, Hookworms and Guinea Worms. Guinea Worms are parasites that live in fresh and salt water in tropical areas and can enter their host’s body when the host drinks contaminated water.

Annelida – These species have tubelike bodies with a sigment just below the head, like Earthworms,  Glowworms, Bloodworms and Silkworms.

What do Worms Eat

Worms get their food from the ground and they eat a wide variety of foods, such as organic materials, dirt, rotting and decaying materials, manure, and leaves.

At worm farms worms are mostly fed with rotting vegetables, fruits, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea leaves, pieces of paper and box, and the list goes on and on.

Worms should however not eat meats, dairy products, poison ivy, shiny paper and plastics or glass.

Parasite worms do not have a digestive system and must feed on already digested foods.  Their hosts are usually warm blooded animals and human bodies.

Organic Materials

Worms eat organic material which has already started to decompose, as this helps their bodies to absorb the micro nutrients from the organic materials. After the beneficial nutrients are absorbed by the worms the rest is pooped out and is then beneficial to the soil as there are still a lot of nutrients which enriches the soil.

Dirt

In most cases earthworms eat dirt.  In this dirt, deep underground are a lot of decomposing leaves and sticks which is rich in micro organisms and nutrients which is beneficial to the worms. Because earthworms live underground this is their most basic food source.

Rotting and Decaying Materials

Worms will eat almost everything that is in a state of rotting and decaying, even egg shells, pieces of box, and whatever is available in their habitat.  Because they do not have a proper digestive system, foods must be in a rotting and decaying state to enable them to take in the micro organisms and nutrients.

Manure

Worms’ favorite food is maure.  It is very high in nutrients and is already digested by the host.  They thrive on manure.  In places where manure is further decomposed by worms, the soil is very rich in minerals and vitamins.

Leaves

Worms will eat all kinds of decomposing materials, leaves and flowers are also on the menu for them.  Worms are also very clever and instinctively know that some leaves are bad for them.  For example they will not eat poison ivy leaves. These leaves are highly toxic and they will succumb when they eat the leaves.

Rotting Vegetables and Fruit

Rotting Vegetables and Fruit are very high in vitamins and nutrients that are much needed by worms to have a balanced diet, when you are growing a worm farm.  As they are not in their natural environment they need quite a lot of different kinds of decaying materials to have a balanced diet.

Eggshells

Worms can digest eggshells.  Eggshells contain lots of calcium and can neutralize the acidity in soil.  It is very important to add Eggshells to the worm’s diet in a worm bin or worm farm, as all the other organic materials can increase the PH levels of the soil which is dangerous to the worms.

Coffee Beans and Tea Leaves

It was recently discovered that adding coffee beans and tea to the worms diet helps to enrich the soil even faster than without it.  More and more worm farms are not adding their ingredients to the diet of their worms.

Paper and Box

Pulped paper and box can be used to make up the base of a worm bin.  They can survive on paper and box pulp for quite a long time since paper is made from wood.  Extra feeding like vegetables and fruits must be added as the pulp of paper and box do not have all the nutrients and micro organisms that worms need.

Warm Blooded animals and humans

Some worms do not have a digestive system at all and they need to feed on foods that are already fully digested to enable them to feed.  Parasite Worms like Tapeworms, Flatworms and Guinea Worms are parasites that enter the intestines of an animal or humans.  They enter the body when contaminated water or contaminated grass or food is taken in by the host. Parasite worms grow segment by segment.  These segments break down and from each segment a new worm starts to feed causing the worms to spread throughout the host’s entire body.

How to Feed Worms

It is quite easy to feed worms.  First you will need a feeding bin and it must be placed in the correct environment.  As worms feed on all kinds of decaying materials you can place an equal amount of brown and greens in the bin to ensure that they have a balanced diet.  Adding shreds of paper and box and also eggshells and all kinds of organic materials will ensure that your worm farm is healthy and thriving.  Avoid feeding your worms foods like meat, dairy products, pasta, salt and poisonous plants like poison ivy.  These human foods can harm the worms and even kill them.  Salt for instance will burn the worm’s skin and bread and pasta will attract potworms and rodents which will cause the worms to die.

How Much do Worms Eat

Worms eat about half of their own body weight each day.  If the circumstances are very favorable their numbers will increase very quickly, and the soil will be enriched very quickly.

What do Baby Worms Eat

After mating takes place a small cocoon is laid.  It is about the size of a match head and  is green in colour.  About 2 weeks after mating the baby worms emerge from the cocoon.  The baby worms immediately start to feed on any decomposed materials that are available.

What do Wild Worms Eat

In the wild worms eat any decomposed and decaying food that is available in the habitat that they live in.  They usually eat soil that also contains decomposed leaves, flowers and bark, which is very rich in micro organisms and nutrients needed for a balanced diet.

What do Worms Eat in Captivity

Worms in captivity or in worm bins or worm farms are fed a very balanced diet which consists of decaying vegetables, fruits, eggshells, pulped paper, and almost all other rotten or decaying food.

Worm farmers are very careful in feeding them a very balanced diet and keep the soil’s PH levels quite low as high acidity levels in the soil can harm or even kill the worms.  Eggshells plays a big role in keeping the soil’s PH Levels normal as it contains a huge amount of calcium.

Worms in captivity are not fed meat, dairy, salt, bread or pasta, as these foods are toxic to worms.  If worms are fed salt their skins burn and they die.

Do Worms Poop Out of Their Mouths?

The short answer to this question is no, they do not poop from their mouths.  Worms have an extension which looks like a lip, they grab the food with the extension.  The food is then mixed with saliva and moves through the segments of their body and the bloodstream.  Then the food  moves to the end of the digestive system.  As soon as the necessary nutrients are taken up in the bloodstream they poop the remaining parts out through their anus.

Do Worms Eat Flowers?

Yes, worms do eat decomposed flowers as they will eat any kind of decomposing foods.  Worms will however not eat poisonous flowers or leaves.

How Often Do You Feed Worms in a Worm Farm?

Worms are fed on a daily basis at worm farms.  Worms eat about half of their body mass per day.  To ensure they get a balanced diet they have to be fed daily.  Worm Farmers must ensure that the balance between green and brown foods are perfect. The PH Levels of soil also have to be less acidic.  By adding eggshells which contain calcium the acidity of the soil is kept low.  In good and balanced circumstances worms can produce cocoons every 30 – 60 days, therefore their feeding should be regulated on a daily basis.  Frequent feeding produces healthy worms and boosts their reproduction.

Does Cutting a Worm in Half Kill It?

By cutting a worm in half does not kill it.  The front half of the worm’s body, this is the part just in front of the reproductive segment, where all the vital organs are situated.  The worm  will live and grow back to its original state.  The anus part of the worm will also grow back.  The part of the worm that does not have any vital organs will die.