160,000 Reasons Why Worms Are NOT PestsBack to Diaries
Marijuana smokers and granola-children are probably the last people who’d call worms disgusting pests. That’s because they know how incredibly helpful worms are to our ecosystems. Without worms, society wouldn’t exist as we know it today. Soil quality would be horrible all over the world—with the exception of soil very proximal to water sources, maybe. For the most part, worms and their excrements are the fertilizer of the entire food chain.
Dirt Dynasty has approximately 160,000 African Night Crawlers tunneling around in our bins. Each one consumes and expels more than their body weight in dirt every day. They eat the fallen leaves, fungus, and bacteria decomposing on forest and garden floors (this natural compost is known as humus), and excrete castings (essentially, fertilizer).
We pass this organic fertilizer on to you, the next-level consumers.
Earthworm Poop and Plant Roots
One of the biggest problems with our soil quality is compaction. Compaction is when the soil’s pores get crushed. It makes the dirt denser, too dense for plants’ roots to grow through, sometimes. Dense dirt is a problem for many reasons:
- Lower infiltration rate (germinating seeds have a hard time establishing their roots)
- Changes in microorganism activity
- Less earthworm activity
- Reduced soil drainage
- Reduced air content
Plants’ roots need fresh water and air to be able to grow. Earthworms create the tunnels needed to facilitate the passage of fresh water and air to the roots of the trees. As the worms eat, they tunnel in all directions. The dirt and humus they take into their digestive systems is exposed to bacteria and other microorganisms, and comes out their back ends with even more bacteria and microorganisms inoculated into it. These bacteria and microorganisms help to release the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium inherent in the humus.
The tunnels earthworms create also give the roots the ability to push aside the soil in the way of their growth. Of course, the worms don’t mind having their tunnels collapsed—their humus dinner depends on the trees being healthy enough to grow and lose leaves. Think of it as synergy. The worms just dig a new tunnel to the surface, where they will dine on a whole new crop of humus that night.
Vermiculture: the Future of Fertilizer
Yes, worms can be slimy. Yes, worms wiggle in your hand. Yes, worms make great fishing bait. Yes, worms are part of the reason the air smells different after a rain storm. No, worms are not pests. Worms create worm castings fertilizer, which is the reason you exist and have every luxury you have.
Thank Worm for your meal tonight.