Ants can often find their way into your worm bin as they can be attracted to the food scraps. They love sweet foods, particularly fruit so can gather in your worm bin to collect food. Ants will not cause any harm in your worm bin but there are some natural ways to get rid of them.
Cover the food scraps in the worm bin with sugar cane mulch, garden soil or dig them into the worm castings. The ants will be less likely to detect them and climb in to eat.
Should you get rid of ants in your worm bin?
You don’t have to get rid of ants from your worm bin if they are not bothering you. Ants will be collecting food to break it down and feed their colony. They will dig through the soil and worm castings and create holes that will aerate the worm bin.
Ants will naturally exist in most gardens so placing your worm bin out of the way is a great idea. Ants will find their way into most small spaces. A worm bin in the corner of the garden can have ants and you may not even notice.
If ants are bothering you, if there are getting too many or if you are worried about getting bit then you may wish to get rid of them. There are some natural ways to prevent ants from coming into your bin in the first place.
How to get rid of ants in your worm bin
There are some easy ways to deal with an ant infestation in your worm bin that don’t involve chemicals or pesticides. Here are my easy tips to prevents ants from finding their way in with your worms.
1. Stir the worm bin gently
The first step to getting rid of ant in your worm bin is to stir the existing food scraps through underneath the worm castings. Do this gently so you don’t hurt the worms.
I like to use a small spade and gently scrape the bedding and worm castings around so the scraps are covered. This will make it less appealing for the ants to come and eat.
2. Cover the foods scraps with soil or mulch
The next step is to cover the top of the worm bin and any exposed food scraps with some garden soil or mulch. You could use bark mulch, straw or sugar cane mulch. This will cover the last pieces of food and form a layer to block the ants.
I have always layered sugar cane mulch over the top of scraps in my worm bin. This works to deter the ants even without stirring the scraps through the rest of the bin.
3. Stop feeding the worms for 1 week
Reducing the amount of food that the ants have access to is also a great tip. If your worms are well fed, allow them 1 week without any more food. The worms will feed on the existing worm bedding and any leftover food scraps in the bin.
4. Keep the worm bin covered and moist
Water the warm bin gently with a watering can or hose. Ants won’t appreciate getting wet, so keep the area moist for the next week.
Cover the worm bin with a layering of newspaper, cardboard and then a worm blanket if you have one. Worm blankets are a soft, fibrous covering that will help to form a barrier to ants.
I have used a worm blanket on top of newspaper and this help to keep ants and other bugs out of the worm bin.
5. Put on the lid
The final step to prevent ants is to put the worm farm lid on. If you have a purpose made worm tower or bin then they will come with lids. These lids will seal well around the outside and have air holes for aeration allowing the worms and soil to breathe.
All of these steps combined will help to keep ants out of your worm farm and leave the food scraps for the worms (instead of the ants).
Will ants eat my worms?
Ants may eat a dead worm if they find one in your worm farm. Worms will die and be replaced quite frequently and omnivorous (meaning they eat plant matter and meat) ants can break them down.
This is a natural process and is quite common in large worm bins. If this bothers you, follow the steps above to keep the ants out.
Foods that will attract ants to a worm bin
Avoid putting foods in your worm bin that ants love if you want to keep them out. Sweet foods like fruit, cookies, chocolate or cakes will attract ants and can attract vermin such as mice.
Avoiding placing baked goods, meat, cheese and other dairy products is also important if you want to keep ants out.
Stick to adding vegetable scraps to your worm farm and they will be less likely to attract ants. I usually fill my worm farm with vegetable peelings, weeds, and old vegetables that have been found in the bottom of my fridge. These are less attractive to ants and delicious for worms.
Ants in my worm bin! | Summary
Ants can often find their way into home worm bins. I have found ants travelling into my Styrofoam worm farm and have decided to add sugar cane mulch each time to deter them.
This was all I needed to do to discourage them from eating the food scraps. The ants are more common in the warmer weather so you may find that during winter they are not a problem.
During the summer time be aware of what foods you are putting in your worm bin and avoid putting fruit scrap in there if you are noticing lots of ants. For worm farms that are placed in the corner of the yard out of the way a few ants shouldn’t be a problem.
For more on worm farming check out the articles below.