When you plant seeds in your garden, you want them to stand the best chance of growing into healthy plants.

It’s not nice to think about them being gobbled up before they even have a chance to germinate.

And it’s not just birds that take a fancy to them.

For many years, scientists believed that worms only ate dead plants, but it seems that they eat more than that.

Do Worms Eat Seeds?

a gardener holding soil containing worms

Yes, worms do eat seeds. Scientists have found that worms, especially earthworms, eat seedlings and seeds, making them seedling predators.

Earthworms seem to like nitrogen and they will eat slow germinating seeds that are rich in it.

They like to eat nitrogen-rich seeds, such as legume seeds and they tend to avoid seeds from grass and other plants that are not rich in nitrogen.

Not only do worms eat seeds but they have been found to collect them and bury them deeper underground in their burrows.

Different types of worms eat seeds too, but earthworms are the most common to eat seeds in our gardens.

Let’s explore a bit more and learn about worms that may be eating seeds in your garden.

This article tells you what worms may go after your seedlings and seeds, what kind of seeds they eat, and what you can do about it.

What Type Of Worms Eat Seeds?

For the most part, worms eat decaying matter, but earthworms have recently been discovered to also eat seeds and seedlings.

This discovery is very recent, as recent as 2010.

Earthworms now classify as seedling predators as a result.

What this means is that they eat seedlings, which aren’t necessarily the most appetizing of things for all creatures to munch on.

What makes earthworms so unique when it comes to seeds is that they don’t just eat them.

Studies have shown that earthworms eat seeds, collect seeds, and bury them in their burrows.

Some believe the earthworms are collecting them so that they can decompose for eating later.

Something else that researchers found about the earthworms is that they intentionally feed on seeds that are slow germinating and rich in nitrogen, suggesting that this nutrient is vital for their survival.

This kills the plant material if they get ahold of one at the seedling stage.

Because of this new information about earthworms, more studies are being conducted on other worm types, but it is still too early to say whether or not earthworms are the only common worm species to eat seeds and seedlings.

Related Article: Will Grass Hurt My Vegetable Garden? (Explained)

What Types Of Seeds Do Earthworms Eat?

Although considered seedling predators, earthworms do not eat all seedlings.

They specifically target plants that classify as slow germinating and nitrogen-rich.

This means that they particularly look for seedlings that have a lot of nitrogen and take a long time to germinate fully.

As a result, earthworms prefer legume seeds and seedlings to other types of seeds.

Comparatively, they do not eat a lot of seeds and seedlings from grasses and other plants that are not nitrogen-rich.

Can I Stop Worms From Eating My Seeds?

Unfortunately, there is little that you can do to prevent worms from eating seeds in your garden.

Luckily, there’s not much reason why you would want to in the first place.

Although earthworms do eat seeds and seedlings, the majority of their diet still comes from decomposed organic matter, meaning they shouldn’t eat enough seeds to make a huge difference in your garden.

More so, earthworms help to keep the soil healthy and ready for your plants.

Attempting to get rid of worms completely would be a very bad thing for your garden.

In fact, some gardeners spread seeds that earthworms like to attract them to their gardens.

If you are still not sold on keeping earthworms in your garden where they can eat your seedlings, think about this.

Worms play a fundamental role in the nutrient cycle in your garden.

Thus, they should not be regarded as pests to the seeds and seedlings, even though they sometimes eat them.

You shouldn’t be all that upset that you can’t stop worms from eating your seeds.

In fact, you should encourage it!

Because of these worms getting the munchies, they can help add nutrients back to the soil and help your garden to grow much more lusciously.

What Are The Little White Worms Eating My Seeds?

The little white worms eating your seeds are most likely fungus gnat fly larva, root maggots, or plant-parasitic nematode.

All of these like to eat seeds and will devour them in no time at all.

To protect your seeds, water the soil with worm killer and plant directly into the soil when it’s moist but not wet.

Then use a layer of mulch or sand on top to interrupt the gnats’ breeding cycle.

Final Thoughts

Even though scientists formerly believed that earthworms only ate decomposed organic matter, we now know that earthworms also eat seeds and seedlings.

They specifically prefer legume seeds and seedlings because of the slow germination time and nitrogen-rich nutrients.

Although you might be a bit upset that worms may steal a seedling or two, you should probably be excited that you have earthworms in your soil.

Worms will not spoil your harvest.

They will make your yard rich and fertile.

Earthworms help add many more nutrients back to the soil, helping your garden grow dramatically.

With this in mind, you should be ecstatic that earthworms are coming to munch on your little seedlings.