Posted by admin in red wiggler composting worms, vermicomposting, worm castings | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Enchytraeus buchholzi are tiny white worms that often live inside a red composting worm bin, they are not baby red wigglers.  Like the fruit fly they seem to appear out of thin air.  Almost all bins eventually develop a population, the trick is keeping that population at a minimum.  While they don’t really harm the red worms they do compete for the same resources.  Apart from picking them out by hand you may want to alter the condition of your bin to discourage their growth.  White worms and red worms enjoy very similar habitats but there are small differences that you can exploit.  Temperature is one, white worms thrive in cooler temps and will die above 86 F.  Red worms can tolerate these high temperatures.  They will stop reproducing in acidic environments, anything below a ph of 5 will thin them out considerably.  That’s a bit to acidic for red worms so it can be used as a temporary treatment only.  Because both red and white worms are aerobic, anaerobic conditions will kill of both species and should be avoided in all bins.

White worms have a much shorter lifespan than the Reds, with time and a reproducing Red Wiggler population, the white worms can be pushed out of the bin.


  1. Gill says:

    What can I do to lower the ph without harming my reds?

    • admin says:

      Hi Gill, thanks for the comment. Eggs shell are made of pure Calcium Carbonate and will raise ph as they degrade in compost. You can also purchase ground carbonate (it’s a white powder) at most garden centers or sometimes at the big box stores. We’ve always just gone with the egg shells, so if you buy the prepared product please let us know how it works out for you.

  2. Tsit Olivares says:

    This is the first time I could find info about this worm and god knows I have looked for it, thanks a lot! Last time the little ones attacked my reds and it was a massacre 🙁 I saved just 15 of them, now,I’m starting again…P

    • admin says:

      Worms are sadly understudied and info can be hard to find, glad we could help and thanks for the comment. Good luck with the start up, let us know if you need anything, wink, wink.

  3. bob says:

    I have this worm bed and I don’t have a problem with the white worms because I do use egg shells, my problem is that my bed is full of worm but I think that my bed is over populated, can this be true?

    • admin says:

      Yes, a worm bin can become overpopulated. The standard “formula” is 1 lb of worms to each square foot of surface area to a minimum of 1L of food material per week. That’s a very high “worm count” each handful of bin compost would be full of worms. Once at peak operating capacity they should be able to handle much more than 1L of food per week. If you’ve reached this point you may want to begin a new bin by removing half of the compost. Glad to hear the egg shells are working for you.

  4. Dave Nuetzel says:

    Thanks for identifying these for me. I live in a cool climate so I can’t heat them out.
    Is there any problems with these worms? If they are making dirt, that is what I want.

    • admin says:

      The only possible “problem” with the worms cohabiting is that they will compete for the same food resources. The white worms have a much shorter life span so with time the reds should be able to push them out.

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