Worm farms can attract rats if meat, bones or bread products are added to the bin. Rodents including rats will be attracted to a worm farm with these strong smelling foods. A loose fitting lid can also allow rats to get into your worm bin. A tight fitting lid is essential for your worm bin if you have a rat problem.
This article will explore why a worm farm might attract rats to your yard and how you can keep them out of your worm bin. Rats can carry diseases so it is essential to keep your worm farm protected from a visiting rat.
Why worm farms can attract rats
The top 3 reasons why a worm farm might attract rats are food, warmth and shelter. A worm farm that can be accessed by a rat can be an appealing home as it can have all that a rat will love. Choosing the right food to feed your worms and avoiding those appealing to rats is important.
Let’s explore each of the reasons rats can try to visit your worm farm.
Adding food scraps that rats love like meats, dairy, bones or even bread and cookies can attract them to your worm bin. Rats have a good sense of smell and will detect meat products in particular.
To avoid rats and other rodents, do not put any old meat products, cooked or uncooked bones or any food scraps that include bread or cookies. This includes bread crusts from sandwiches or leftovers from the kids plates.
Stick to adding vegetable and fruit scraps to your worm bin and cover them with sugar cane mulch or straw. This will be less appealing to a passing rat who will be less likely to try to fight their way in for some vegetables.
If you are really keen on adding bread to your worm bin there are some ways you can do it to minimize the chance of attracting mice and rats.
For more on this, check out my previous article here: Feeding Worms Bread | Guide for Crusts, Moldy and Stale Bread.
A worm farm that is easy to access can be a warm place for a rat to snuggle up. The small amount of warmth created in the worm farm as the worms and natural soil bacteria break down the food scraps can attract rats.
While a healthy worm farm will create some heat as the food scraps break down, this can make it a good place for a rat to hide, particularly in cold weather.
A worm bin or farm depending on its design can provide the shelter that a rat will love. A worm farm that is out of the way, rarely opened and protected from pets can be appealing to rats or even mice that are passing through.
This is more likely to happen in a neglected worm farm as a dark, protected space can make a great rat home.
How to prevent rats from getting into your worm farm
There are some easy ways to keep rats out of your worm farm. Follow these easy suggestions to keep your worm farm free from rats and keep your worms happy.
1. A tight fitting lid
A tight fitting lid is the best way to keep rats out of your worm farm. This is easy with a pre-bought worm tower as they will come with heavy plastic lids that seal well on the sides. The gaps will be too small for a rat to squeeze their way through.
These lids will have air holes for the worms but no holes for rats. Adding a worm blanket and layers of newspaper on top can also help to protect the worms and discourage visits from a passing rat.
For home made worm farms it can be trickier to find a lid that fits well. For Styrofoam worm farms, keeping the Styrofoam lid from the box is a good way to make this easier. Make sure you drill lots of small holes in the top to allow air to follow in and out.
2. Avoid meat, dairy and bread
Rats love to eat meat and dairy products so avoid placing these in your worm farm. This will also help to avoid flies from coming to your worm farm as the meat and dairy rot and smell.
Rats also love to eat a diet of dairy products including cheese, yoghurt or custard and love a good cookie. Avoid adding these to your worm farm to make it less appealing to rats.
Stick to adding fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags and worm bedding like straw, hay and old mulch. These materials are great food for worms and won’t be as appealing to rats.
3. Take care of your worm farm
One of the biggest causes of a rat infestation in a worm farm is forgetting about it and not checking it often. A dark, warm worm farm can quickly become a rat home if it is left unattended and the lid is not lifted.
Rats wont’ find a worm farm appealing if you are visiting often, if you have a cat or dog or if there is a lot of noise and activity. Rats like quiet and privacy so keep an eye of your worm farm, lift the lid often and check on them regularly.
This will help to keep your worm farm heathy, avoid smells and therefore avoid creating a comfortable home for a rat instead of your worms.
Worm farm care
Worm farms do need some attention as you first learn to look after them. You will need to check on them every 1-2 days to make sure they are still moist, fed and are not trying to escape.
A healthy worm farm will smell sweet, will break down food scraps quickly and create worm castings perfect for your garden.
Do worm farms attract rats? | Summary
Worm farms will not attract rats if you look after them well, keep food out that rats love like meat, bread and dairy and keep a tight fitting lid on the farm. I have never had rats in my worm farms after following these steps.
Cats and dogs are also great at deterring rats as they can smell that they have been around. Neighborhood cats visit my yard often and I’m sure they are doing their part to keep rats and mice away from my yard.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.