I am not sure if this will fit here or on lifehacks.SE.

I have an African night crawler escaping from my vermicompost bin and it's really hard to pick them up carefully without hurting them.

Things that I've tried so far:

  1. Pick them using my hand - This takes a lot of time, specially if they are on the wet places.
  2. Use broom and dustpan to transfer them back to my bin - it seems that I'm still hurting them.

My question is how do I quickly transfer worms to my bin without hurting them? Is there a proper way to transfer them?

  • 1
    Well I just pick 'em up between finger and thumb, in the middle of their bodies. Probably isn't massively comfortable for the worm, but its better than being left somewhere they might die or shrivel up...
    – Bamboo
    Mar 19, 2016 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


There was a study conducted by the Norwegian government that concluded that worms do not feel pain but exhibit reflex avoidance behaviour. They simply do not have the nerve density to feel pain as we do. That being said they can still learn avoidance behaviour.

The worm nervous system shows that nerves are concentrated around the head so it seems logical to avoid that region in picking them up.

worm Nervou system

That worms are leaving your bin indicates the possibility that your bin is becoming toxic due to overfeeding.

  • Thanks! So if I did everything right my worms will not leave the bin? Mar 20, 2016 at 2:29
  • 1
    Yes, there's no reason for them to leave the bin if conditions are ideal. Mar 20, 2016 at 4:41
  • I just want to add that I read they may try to escape from a bin, whether it's perfect or not, if they've just been added to it. I've read you should let light get all around the box for a couple of days to encourage them to stay in the box, then they shouldn't try to escape unless there is something wrong.
    – Dalton
    Mar 21, 2016 at 18:17

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