Can I use normal earthworms for my worm farm?

by Melinda
(Werribee, Victoria, Australia)



I would like to know if it is fine to use the normal everyday earthworms for my worm farm?

How much do they cost for 500 or 1000 please?


Hello Melinda,

you raised there an interesting question about earthworms. There are several thousand of different kinds of earthworms that can be found all around the world. Most of them can not be used to recycle organic waste with the help of earthworms in worm farms. They are either slow eating worms or slow breeding ones and are therefore not commercially viable.

There are however a few select worm species that will do a great job turning kitchen waste into nutrient rich plant foods.

You can find some more information about the different kinds of earthworms and the specific compost worms at


The most widely used worm in worm farms that recycles large amounts of organic waste is called "Eisenia fetida" It goes by many different common names, Red wriggler, compost worm and tiger worm are amongst the most common ones used.

It would be best if you would locate a commercial worm farmer in Australia that can supply you with compost worms.

If you go to our "worm-business-directory-Australia"

you will find a list of worm suppliers in Australia that would most probably gladly sell you a batch of worms.

Kind regards and all the best for your worm composting project.

Stephan Kloppert

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Oct 15, 2018
Re: Can I use normal earthworms in my worm farm? Question not answered
by: Stephan

Hello Anonymous, thank you for your valuable contribution.

Generally speaking most kinds of worms that you usually find in the soil should not be used for worm composting as they are not suited for the job. However depending in what kind of soil you try to get your worms, what time of day you try to get them and what part of the world you attempting to catch the worms you might be lucky to get some of the right worms for worm composting as all 3 types of earthworms

1. Epigeic, Epigean - (above the soil surface)
2 Endogeic (in the soil) and
3. Anecic (deep vertical burrows)

can be found at certain times near the surface of the soil. However the only type of worms that have been used successfully in worm farms are "Epigeic worms". So just grabbing some worms from your garden soil without identifying them it is more often than not, not going to work as you might have found Epigeic or Anecic woms.

In the article

that I mentioned in my previous comment you can find examples of the 3 different kinds of earthworms their habitats and which ones to use in worm farms. So if you can find common Epigeic worms like for example Eisenia fetida worms you can use them for your worm bin but if you find another common earthworm like the dew worm "Lumbricus terrestris" this is not useful in worm bins. Having said this in different parts of the world there are different kinds of earthworms regarded as "Common earthworm"

So you see this is not an easy to answer question as there are quite a few variables that can influence what kind of worms you might find commonly in your soil.

If in doubt try to pick up worms in an area with lots of rich organic matter or even better have a look if you can find earthworms in a well managed compost heap. Worms found there are very often compost worms and can be used for worm composting.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert

Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of

Oct 14, 2018
Can I use normal earthworms in my worm farm? Question not answered
by: Anonymous

The question is not are they financially viable. The question is. Can i take worms from the ground and use them in a worm farm? What problems will i incur. I don't have money to spend on worms when i have plenty of time to farm them from the ground
Simple question, so hard to answer

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