Worms in my Dog poop worm bin have disapeared

by Paul L
(Berkeley, CA, USA)

After finding this website, and being tired of throwing dog poop in the trash, I decided to make a dog poop composter with 2 5-gallon buckets. About 1 month in and it looks as if all my red wigglers (started with ~500 sourced from Uncle Jim's here in the U.S.) have died off.

I drilled plenty of 5mm holes about 5cm apart in the top bucket; used plenty of bedding (newspaper and cardboard), and dumped the red wigglers in with the peat moss they came in. I live in the San Francisco bay area where the weather is pretty temperate, so I don't think temperature extremes is an issue.

Any thoughts? Throughout the month, I never captured much tea in the bottom bucket (so was it not wet enough?). I would sprinkle the bedding from time to time with rainwater. One thought my wife and I had was that we give our lab monthly oral medication for heartworm and flea/tick. Could this cause issues? (But what good is the medicine doing if it's going right through the GI system!?!). The odor was never offensive until about the last week where it is certainly stronger (but then there are no worms doing any composting).

Thanks for your help!

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Feb 09, 2018
Re: worms disappeared from my dog poop worm bin
by: Stephan

Hi Paul,

sorry to hear that your worms have disappeared. Your setup of your dog poop worm bin sounded quite good and I don't think that that was the problem that led to the loss of the worms.

A well running worm farm never produces any bad odors so the time it really smelled awful you know that something is not right.

It is very difficult to analyse the exact reason for the loss of your worms without having seen the condition it was in once you noticed that the worms had died or left.

Was the contents of the worm bin really wet and soggy when you inspected it?

Did you by any chance see any strange looking maggots (BSF) on or near the surface of the worm bedding?

Rain water is usually.good to use in worm bins however from time to time we are getting sour / acidic rain which could have made the worm bedding to acidic for the worms. But as you only lightly sprinkled the bedding from time to time I don't think that this was the cause for the worms to die.

I would guess that the heartworm and flea/tick medication would the most likely cause of the worm death if you added the poop that your lab produced after he had been treated with the meds.
This poop will probably still had parts of the poison in it as well as any dead worms that had been killed by the medication.

I made it a rule to never add any dog poop or horse manure to my worm bins for about 2 days after deworm medications have been given to the animals.

For the future I would rather use the traditional way to get rid of the dog poop in question and resume feeding the worms more dog poop once the danger of poisoning them is over.

I am sure you will get it right and your labs waste will produce some great worm castings for you.

Kind regards and all the best


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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