Worms that eat plants, also known as herbivorous worms, play an essential role in maintaining healthy soil and promoting plant growth. These worms consume dead plant material, breaking it down and returning vital nutrients to the soil.

5 Worms That Eat Plants

This article will discuss five common plant-eating worms and their unique characteristics. So read on to find which ones you can adopt for your garden and which you need to eliminate.

A List of Plant-eating Worms

1. Nightcrawlers

Nightcrawlers in Compost Piles

  • Moist soils
  • Compost piles
  • Gardens and lawns
  • Burrowing
  • Migrating
  • Contracting
  • Active Reproduction
  • Copulation
  • Elongated
  • Cylindrical
  • Brown or grey

Nightcrawlers, also known as earthworms, are a type of annelid worm that can be found in soil and compost. They are known for their ability to burrow through the earth and their role in aerating and enriching the soil. This is done by their excretion of casting, a nutrient-rich material created as they burrow through the soil.

Nightcrawlers are a common bait for fishing and a food source for many animals, including birds and small mammals.

European night crawlers are giant, reddish-brown worms that can reach up to 8.5 inches in length. They are decomposers, active at night, and prefer moist, well-drained soil with high organic matter content.

They are hermaphrodites, reproduce by cocooning fertilized eggs, and are mostly used as bait for fishing. They do not harm plants or animals. They are essential for maintaining the health of ecosystems and are commonly used in vermiculture.

Nightcrawlers are also known for their ability to survive in various environmental conditions. They can burrow through a variety of soil types and can survive in temperatures ranging from freezing to hot.

Nightcrawlers can also survive in areas with low oxygen levels and tolerate various pH levels. This makes them a hardy and versatile species that can thrive in many environments.

2. Red Wigglers

Reddish Brown Red Wigglers Worms

  • Damp
  • Dark environments
  • Compost piles, manure, or leaf litter
  • Active
  • Nocturnal
  • Have both male and female individuals
  • Reproduce sexually
  • Small
  • Reddish-brown worms

Red wigglers, can be referred to as Eisenia fetida, are worms commonly used for vermicomposting or using worms to break down organic waste and produce nutrient-rich compost.

They also thrive in diatomaceous earth. These worms are particularly well suited for this purpose due to their voracious appetite for plant material and their ability to process it through their digestive systems.

Red wigglers are native to Europe and North America. They are typically between 2-4 inches long, red in color, and have a cylindrical body. They can live in various conditions and eat organic produce, including scraps of vegetables and fruits, coffee grounds, and even newspapers. They are known to consume half of their body weight in food per day.

Vermicomposting is an efficient and eco-friendly way to deal with organic waste, as it lessens the waste sent to landfills and makes a valuable soil amendment. The process involves adding red wigglers to a bin filled with organic material, such as food scraps and yard waste.

The worms consume the material and produce nutrient-rich castings, which can be used as a fertilizer for plants. Vermicomposting can be carried out on a small scale in a home or apartment or on a larger scale for commercial operations.

3. European Nightcrawlers

European Nightcrawlers in Soil

  • Gardens
  • Lawns
  • Fields, and areas with high organic matter
  • They are active at night and during damp conditions
  • Burrow deep into the soil during dry or hot weather
  • Cocooning fertilized eggs
  • Inside soil
  • Large
  • Reddish-brown worms
  • Segmented

European Nightcrawlers, also known as Eisenia hortensis, is a type of earthworm commonly used as a food source for animals and as a soil conditioner in gardens and farms. The cutworm host plants can get damaged if not fertilized.

These worms are native to Europe and can be found in various soil types, including clay, sand, and loam. They also slightly resemble the Japanese beetle. They are typically more extensive and active than other earthworms, making them popular for vermiculture and vermicomposting.

As plant eaters, European Nightcrawlers consume organic matter such as leaves, grass, and other plant material to prevent cutworm damage. They can break down this material and convert it into nutrient-rich organic compost that can be used to improve soil quality and fertility.

Additionally, the caves they create in the soil can help improve aeration and drainage, leading to healthier plant growth.

In vermiculture systems, these worms are often fed a diet of pre-composted materials such as food scraps and other organic matter, just like Japanese beetles. They can process this material quickly and efficiently, making it a valuable asset in any composting operation.

Overall, European Nightcrawlers are beneficial insects and versatile species that can be used for various purposes, from improving soil quality to providing food for other animals. They are fairly easy to maintain and valuable to any garden or farm.

4. Cutworms

Grey Black Cutworms

  • Fields
  • Gardens
  • Lawns
  • Considered a major pest due to their feeding and reproducing habits
  • Ability to migrate
  • Has defense mechanisms
  • Metamorphosis
  • Gives fertilized eggs
  • Grey
  • Black

Although not a true worm, this species makes it onto the list because of its name and the role of its “worm-stage” in nature.

Grey field worms, also known as Agrotis orthogonia, are a type of nocturnal moth that belongs to the family Noctuidae and dark sword-grass. They can also be called beneficial nematodes as they are useful to the environment.

They are typically found in North America and can be seen in various habitats, fields, gardens, and forests among owlet moths. These worms are considered plant eaters, as they primarily consume the leaves of various plant species.

They can cause lots of damage to crops and gardens, making them a pest for farmers and gardeners. So pest management is necessary.

Grey field worms go through four stages of the life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adult moths typically emerge in the late summer and lay eggs on the leaves of plants, which then hatch into larvae and begin feeding on the foliage.

The larvae are typically green or brown and can reach up to 2.5 inches long. They are active at night and can quickly consume large amounts of foliage, causing significant damage to crops and gardens, similar to turnip moths.

You might be thinking, “how to get rid of cutworms?” or “What is the best insecticide for cutworms?”. Control measures for grey field worms include using pesticides and the introduction of natural predators such as birds and ladybugs or any integrated pest.

In addition, farmers and gardeners can also use physical barriers such as row covers to protect plants from worms. Another way is to rotate the crops, so the worms have less chance to establish themselves since a cutworm is a pest of crops – no need to call in pest control!

5. Dendrobaena worms

Smooth Glossy Dendrobaena Worms

  • Soil
  • Leaf litter
  • Compost
  • Active
  • Surface-dwelling worms
  • Consume large amounts of organic matter
  • Have both male and feminine reproductive organs
  • Reproduce sexually
  • Smooth
  • Glossy appearance
  • Distinct head and tail

Dendrobaena worms are earthworms commonly used in vermiculture for their efficient breakdown of organic matter, such as food scraps and yard waste. They look like little green caterpillars eating plants. They are hardy, easy to maintain, and can convert organic matter into nutrient-rich compost through vermicomposting.

They are also popular as fishing bait and improve soil health by aerating them. They are native to Europe and commonly used in home composting and commercial vermiculture operations.

Vermicomposting is an environmentally friendly way to reduce household waste and produce nutrient-rich compost. Dendrobaena worms reproduce quickly, and a small population can quickly consume large amounts of organic matter. They are also easy to maintain, require only a tiny space, and can be fed with food scraps and other organic matter.

In summary, Dendrobaena worms are a species of earthworm commonly used for vermiculture and vermicomposting in bacillus thuringiensis. They can help to reduce household waste while producing nutrient-rich compost.


In conclusion, worms are vital for decomposing organic matter and enriching the soil.

  • Various worms can be used to consume plant material and improve soil health, including Nightcrawlers, Red wigglers, and European Nightcrawlers.
  • These worms can help reduce waste and produce nutrient-rich compost through vermicomposting.
  • Many of them are easy to maintain and benefit home gardening and commercial vermiculture operations.

If you feel your garden is not composting well, this is the guide you need to find worms to help you!

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