Escaping worms

Question ...

I am using the Can-o-worms system of worm composting. My worm bin is indoors (Scottish winter!) and has reached two tiers now, with a mulch mat inside. I do add lime and give Worm Treats too. I never put in onion or citrus.

I have two questions:

  1. When I go away (only for a couple of weeks) I find worms have escaped and lie dried out on the floor. How and why did they get out?
  2. Also I have noticed that several worms are in the lid when I open it to load food. Why aren't they in the compost/food?

Answer ...

Worms climb out of their compost for several reasons. They can wriggle out under the lid very easily. Any one of the following could be the reason:

Compost too wet or acid; Conditions too warm; Insufficient air circulation; Air pressure (due to changing weather conditions); Not enough food; Overcrowding; Curiosity – worms like to explore.

You may have added too much lime and worm treats to the bin before going away. Only add lime if the compost needs it. Check with a pH soil testing kit. In general, the ingredients usually fed to worms, such as vegetable peelings, will not need pH adjustment.

The 'worm treat' is designed to entice the worms into new food. Only use this if you feel the worms are not working quickly enough.

If you would like further advice on your organic growing, why not become a member of Garden Organic? It costs as little as £2.75 a month, and not only gives you full access to our advisory service, but also free or discounted entrance to many gardens across the UK. Call 02476 308210 or email