Leeches in my worm farm

by Trudie
(Brisbane, Australia)

Batch of compost worms separated from worm castings

Batch of compost worms separated from worm castings

I have no idea how they got there, what impact they are having on the health of my little worm farm or how to get rid of them.


Thanks for your help!

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Apr 10, 2020
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Re: Leeches in my worm farm
by: Stephan

Hello Trudie,

despite my experience of more than 20 years of worm farming and countless critters and invaders I found in my worm farms luckily I never had leeches in any of my worm farms.

Nevertheless life is a continuous time of learning and surprises. I can imagine that you are not happy having leeches inside your worm bin and rightfully so.

There are apparently hundreds of kinds of leeches that can be found around the world. Some live in salt water, some in fresh water and others are preferring a terrestrial environment. I guess the ones that you found inside your worm farm are most likely soil dwellers seeing that they have survived in your bin for a while.

According to my knowledge all leeches need to live in a moist or even wet environment and are either predators or prefer an parasitic lifestyle sucking blood from their hosts without killing them.

So no matter what kind of leeches you got in your worm bin it would be highly advisable to get rid of them.

I suggest the following strategy.

Empty the contents of your worm farm completely, clean all parts of the worm bin thoroughly and if possible let it dry out in the sun completely. This should kill any leech that is hiding anywhere in the worm bin including inside the tap.

Next you will have to manually separate the contents of your worm bin. This sounds like a long and tedious job but can in most cases be done in an hour or two. The following URL shows you how we typically separate the worms from the worm and worm castings inside a worm bin.

https://www.worm-composting-help.com/How-to-harvest-vermicast.html

I suggest you do this as soon as you can to limit the losses of your worm herd.

Wear rubber kitchen gloves and follow the process as described. Once you end up with a pile of worms and worm castings and remaining worm food wash the worms in a basin with chlorine free water. This should help to remove small leeches from your worms and separate the bigger leeches from the compost worms. Next carefully remove all leeches you can find and place the worms into your worm bin with fresh worm bedding.

Spread out the worm castings on your work table and see if you find any remaining compost worms and or leaches. Add the worms to your worm bin and dispose of all the leaches the way you see fit best.

You can use the castings in your garden as long as they are far away from your worm bin just in case there are a few surviving infant leeches or leech eggs in them.

Now you can add a little food to your worm farm and let your worm herd multiply again.

I trust this information will help you.

Let me know if you were successful.

Kind regards and happy worming

and blessings and health to you and your family


Stephan Kloppert

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

Editor of www.worm-composting-help.com

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