What Do Red Worms Eat? -The Red Worm Diet

Last Updated on April 24, 2021 by Jeffery Jago

Red worms sure love to eat a lot of crap. To be fair we like to feed them! But it’s important that you are feeding your red worms the right thing, in order to maintain a healthy stable happy population. Certain things have to be taken into account like red worms don’t have teeth, Not that it slows them down any! So what do red worms eat exactly?

Did you mean to look for blood worms instead of red worms? Check here
It’s a common mistake, this article pertains too the redworm, aka, brandling worm, panfish worm, trout worm, tiger worm, red wiggler worm

First, let’s look at what they shouldn’t eat. Dairy, Fish, and meat, or any byproducts of those products. (Please look at the infographic below for more) On its own it’s no big deal but if it’s not all consumed, any traces left will start to rot and poison the soil. This will drastically reduce the lifespan of your red worms, or just outright kill them all.

So what do red worms eat that’s safe?

To keep your worms healthy they need a balanced diet from various sources. Their core diet is leaves that have begun to decompose, which should be shredded slightly. One of the interesting things about decomposing leaves is they do 2 things, They can act as a good partial food source while also being incredible bedding for your worms to live in.

Some other stuff they like to eat:


In moderation, bread is a wonderful treat for your worms, especially if it’s just a little moldy. But don’t overdo it. Too many starchy foods will be a bad thing for your worms, Just like it is for humans. So overall, when you are asking yourself, “what do red worms eat”, make sure bread and grains aren’t on the top of that list you think of. In moderation, they are great but overindulgence is bad.


Recycled cardboard like coffee holders, egg cartons etc are great for red worms. It gives them a little place to play about and stay out of the light, as well as a delicious snack.

Coffee Grounds and Coffee Filters

Just like us, Worms love a good kick in the ass when it comes to their morning cup of joe. Of course, I’m just kidding. But they do love the occasional set of coffee grounds! Same with the filter, So don’t go throwing those out anymore, Mr red worm would love to eat it instead.

Dog and Cat Food

If you intend to give your worms fresh or stale dog or cat food (dry), make sure it’s been soaked first. The food is far too hard for your teeth-less worms to chow down on it, so you need to really get it soggy. It makes a nice nutrition dense treat.

Fruit rinds, Fruit peels, Cores, fresh or decomposing

First and foremost, avoid acidic fruits. These are terrible for your worms. Fruits you should give to your worms include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Mangoes
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon

This is a list of safe fruit to feed your red worms.

Vegetable Scraps

Vegetable scraps generally include any leftovers from dinner, or just the throw away’s like peels or the end pieces of cucumbers for example. You can also, of course, Prepare fresh veggies for your worms. But it’s best you leave them to decompose for a couple of days before adding them into the enclosure. This makes it easier for your worms to eat and digest, Remember no teeth.

Safe vegetables you can give you worms include:

  • Corn on a COB (including the cob)
  • Celery stock and leaves
  • Cabbage (this is a favorite)
  • Cucumbers
  • Spinach
  • Carrot shredding. Definitely let carrots start to decompose first, else they are too hard.
  • Beans
  • Pumpkins innards/rinds

Avoid things that aren’t on this list, Like garlic and onions and other similar foods. A good rule of thumb is, can it grow locally? Do worms tend to like or avoid it? And when all else fails, google it.

Tea Bags (dampened)

If you’ve got leftover tea, it does wonders for your worms. They get a hit of caffeine and delicious nutritious snack. Just remember to keep it damp or else they won’t be able to eat it. Also, avoid fruit teas and other acidic types of tea leaves.


You can do this if you intend on just raising your worms for fish bait and stuff, But I highly recommend you don’t use it if your worms are for composting, animal feed, or any other type of consumption. If you must, Avoid anything that eats meat.

Egg shells

The occasionally crushed eggshell is a great treat for your worms, But don’t overdo it. Also, make sure they are clean and all the egg has been removed. Eggs will poison your soil. It also causes a terrible smell that will bring all sorts of other pests to bother your worms, including worm predators.

Food’s to avoid

I know i already went into this briefly at the top but I really want to over-emphasize it. DO NOT feed your worms anything with meat or fish, Dairy, Fatty greasy foods, processed foods, or citrus fruit (lemons, oranges, etc).

Preparing the food for your worms

Now that you’ve chosen what you wish to feed your worms, It’s time to prepare it. Once again, Worms have no teeth! So they eat better when things are cut up real small, moist, and partially decomposed. Even if you aren’t composting specifically, anywhere worms and rotting food is, Bacteria and mold will start to grow. And that’s a good thing.

These special molds and bacteria help pre-digest the food for your worms and are very necessary step in the process. Another form of pre-digests are grubs, mites and sow bugs. These will show up on their own eventually, or you can buy them online to add to your worms enclosure.

With out these things, Your worms will starve to death surrounded by food. I can’t think of a more terrible depressing death than that. So do the right thing and make sure your set up is ready to go for your little red worm buddies. When you asking yourself what to red-worms eat, I recommend you take a look at, and print out, the phonographic bellow! (Edit: Sorry the info-graphic has been removed for edits, it will be back soon!)