Pot Worms Are Tiny White Worms that Are Part of the Decomposing Process in a Worm Bin.
Recently I read a post on the internet about someone being so excited to see so many baby worms in the worm bin. I am thinking that I never saw a huge group of baby redworms together. I see them here and there but not grouped together. So I think this person was actually looking at the little white worms called pot worms, also known as enchytraeids. They measure 1/4 to 1 inch long. To the right here is a picture of a baby red wiggler and you can see that it is reddish as contrasted with the picture down below where they are definitely white.
Pot worms tend to congregate together under cantaloupe rind or bread or some other kind of food. In the beginning I also thought they were baby worms but learned that they are not. Baby red wigglers are reddish even when they are tiny.
There is a discussion of whether it is a good thing to have pot worms in your worm bin. My experience is that they dwell together with the red wigglers in balance and they are not a problem. They are just part of the decomposition process. The picture to the right shows pot worms congregating. They were under a cantaloupe rind. They group together like this in relation to kitchen scraps; but most of the time they are scattered throughout the worm bin.
Worms Eat My Garbage is a Great Book to Learn All About Worm Composting
There is an excellent book that I highly recommend about worm composting: Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System
by Mary Appelhof. She worked with composting worms long before most of us even knew anything about vermicomposting. She died a few years ago. She was well equipped with two Masters degrees in biology and education to be a leader in recycling and composting. She was awarded the National Recycling Coalition’s “Composter of the Year Award”.
Mary talks about pot worms in her book, “Enchytraeids eat decomposing plant material rich in micro-organisms, but digest only part of it, just like earthworms. this partial breakdown of litter helps make food material available for other decomposers. Some worm growers incorrectly call enchytraeids “nematodes” and feel they should try to get rid of them. Nematoes, also important decomposers, are undoubtedly present in large quantities in worm bins, but you would not be likely to see them without a microscope…Some commercial worm growers are concerned the pot worms will compete with red worms for feed, and many attempt to control their numbers. Since the purpose of having a home vermicomposting system is to get rid of food waste, the presence of an organism that helps to do this job is an asset not a detriment. My position regarding enchytraeids is to “Let them be.”
These are the words of a true worm expert so I also just let them be!
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