Ants Attacking Earthworms in Compost Heap

by Maldi Smit
(Mpumalanga, South Africa)

Good day - thank you for your very valuable channel!!

I have neglected my compost pile for a while :(- just adding material and not stirring the contents enough.

Now that we are tending to the aeration process I have noticed really aggressive ants in the pile that seem to be attacking the earthworms...

What should I do?
Regards Maldi Smit

Shake Things Up and Add Water

Hi Maldi and thank you for your question.

It's unusual for ants to attack live earthworms but not totally unheard of. They will for sure feast on dead worms.

Here in Canada when I have an ant infestation I start by disrupting the compost by rocking my bin back and forth. Generally the ants leave within about 24 hours. It sounds like you have a pile so for you you might turn the pile.

Ants move in to compost when conditions get dry. And worms prefer moist conditions. So I would recommend wetting the material in your compost heap as you turn it. This should shift the conditions in the compost in favor of the worms and against the ants.

I'm hoping you are not in the midst of a drought right now and have access to water. And hope this helps.

That said ants are generally allies in the garden but you don't want to have them killing your worms. They just need to relocate and do their thing in other parts of the garden. Their tunnels help get air and water into your soil and they will pull compost you might spread on your plot down to plant roots saving you the work of digging.

Hope this helps.
Happy Composting

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