Worm Food To Avoid List – BLOG Post

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September 21st, 2017

The Worm Man BLOG

Hi everyone !

One thing that people always ask, is “what food shouldn’t I feed to the worms”.


Well – in my mind there’s a gap between “can I feed something” and “SHOULD I feed something”.

My preference is to always feed the “best stuff” and leave the stuff out that may give you problems.

After all – you have to have a LOT of worms to eat the food waste from one family, so you can choose to be picky.


A commercial client asked me to make up an “avoid list” – of foods to avoid feeding – and asked that it include pictures.

Everyone is so busy, it’s easier to just have pictures.


So I went ahead last night and designed this basic one.

You can just go ahead and download yourself a copy. Here’s how:

On a PC, – first click on the image so the image becomes full screen.

Then right click the image and select save a copy or save as (depends on your version of windows).

On an android, hold your finger on the picture until you see the option to copy or save it. Sorry, I don’t know about apple stuff.

I’ve got a mountain of stuff to finish up today, so i better go – but I wanted to share this neat chart right away with you all.


Foods To Avoid – Or Understanding Relative Amounts


Things To Avoid And Why

This list is contentious; people have many different ideas.


Understanding Relative Amounts Of A Food:

You can put a little of them in – if you consider relative amounts.

So, for instance, I use canola oil to oil my shredder – but 2 teaspoons of oil in 100 gallons of bedding is ok.


While it is POSSIBLE to put many of these in worm farms, it may  be hard for your staff or your supplier to monitor relative volumes, so my advice is to exclude materials on this list from your inputs as far as possible, unless you have absolute control over relative amounts.

Some people, who are more experienced, will tell people to put all this in, but not offer the needed advice on cautions or relative amounts.

In the right circumstances, and especially the right relative volumes, all of these CAN be fed to the worms.

It’s just best to avoid them until you learn more; or can control these items relative to the rest of your inputs.


I always say choosing worm food is a calculation of risk vs reward. If there is risk, and the reward is low, or the risky item can be easily left out, it is generally best to leave it out.

The age old saying comes to mind:
“If In Doubt – Leave It Out”

– it smells as it breaks down, creates heat and draws vermin like rodents to the area of the worm bin.

– the rodents will eat the worms too.

– rodents may attract snakes.


Dairy – Cheese And Milk Products
– Cheese and other dairy products like milk will smell as they break down

– They may draw in vermin

But in small amounts, the worms will consume them easily. Relative amounts and risk vs reward.


Onions, garlic and others of the allium family
– are acidic.

– smell terrible when breaking down.

Worms will eat them after a time in the bin.

There is little harm in putting some onion skins in as long as they don’t make up a large proportion of the input.


– are acidic.

– seeds seem to survive well and become volunteers in your garden.

Worms will eat them and people report that they seem to enjoy them.


– is acidic.

– contains c-limonene which inhibits it’s breakdown and is toxic to worms, but is broken down in time.

Worms will eventually eat it once it starts to be attacked by mold and break down.


Pineapple & Papaya (Pawpaw)
– Pineapple is acidic.

– Pineapple and pawpaw contain meat tenderising enzymes that may kill worms.

Someone told me they fed a whole pineapple before going on holidays and returned to find all their worms slimy and dead.


Grease And Oils (from cooking, meats, or salad dressings etc)
– as worms breathe through their skin, excessive oils could have an effect on them.

– BUT natural oils in, for example, avocado are fine.

A SMALL amount of oil on a salad dressing may be fine in a large amount of other foods (relative volumes, remember).


– Salt is bad for the worms as too much of it will burn their skin.


Vinegar (like in salad dressings)
– Vinegar is acidic and too much of it at one time may make the worm farm acidic.


– bread tends to go hard and dry in a worm farm and may not break down easily or quickly.

– if it is mixed into some wetter waste it would be better.

– it may also attract “pot worms” and allow them to breed up. This may not be a bad thing, as they are beneficial composters – but should be understood.

– it may also attract rodents.


– Rice may draw in rodents.

– it can heat up if a lot is used at one time (relative amounts).

– people report different levels of success with it.


– pasta may draw in rodents.

– it can heat up if a lot is used.

– people report different levels of success with it.


It may be easier to exclude the above inputs altogether, rather than your kitchen staff or supplier trying to work out relative amounts etc.


I hope you like the avoid list,

thanks very much for reading my blog – and remember to subscribe if you haven’t done so already  🙂

Brian Donaldson



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