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Will They Eat It?: Chocolate

With Halloween a few days away, many people have asked us if worms will eat their leftover Halloween candy. Yes, they will! Below we break down our Will They Eat It? experiments and offer feedback on how you can do this experiment at home in your mini-bin.

Background  

Kids often ask us, “Do worms like chocolate?” In an effort to answer their question back in 2014, we decided to experiment and see if worms will in fact eat chocolate. Shortly after moving into our worm factory, we received a small batch of stale Easter chocolate and decided to feed it to the worms. 

For our experiment, we used two 20-gallon buckets filled with two pounds of fully active worms and stored the bucket in a temperature range of 64 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Fun Fact

A quick fun fact before we get started: Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, or over 11 pounds per person. That's a lot! 

Chocolate: Episode 1 

We used 32 ounces of chocolate (or about two 16-ounce packages of chocolate). We wanted to not only see if the worms would eat the chocolate but also know if whole pieces or smaller pieces composted better. To find out, we did a side-by-side comparison of broken up chocolate and whole pieces: in the first bucket, we used one package and left the chocolate whole; in the second bucket we used one package and broke the chocolate into pieces.

Chocolate was rarely seen by us in the whole time we have done this. Simply put Chocolate seems to valuable to ever waste.  

Chocolate: Episode 2

In this episode, we see that, after only one month, the whole chocolate is mostly converted and has plenty of worms around it. In comparison, the broken chocolate had many worms in the area. Aother interesting observation was that the vermicompost around the chocolate appeared darker than the rest.

Conclusion

Worms can eat and compost chocolate, taking up to a month for full breakdown.

Do this Experiment at Home  

Even though Nature's Little Recyclers performed this experiment with whole chocolate bars, you can do this experiment yourself at home. This experiment is great for adults and kids alike looking to see and understand more about the compost process (and how their leftover Halloween candy gets eaten!).

  1. To test this at home, take a piece of chocolate or any candy you want to test, and make sure it is no larger than one ounce.
  2. Lift up the burlap, put the chocolate or candy on the immediate surface under the burlap, and push it down one inch so that it is fully covered.
  3. If you want to test various different types of candy, you can add one or two more pieces of candy to test in a side-by-side comparison.
  4. Once you're finish burying the candy, put the burlap back (and if dry, remoisten the burlap).  
  5. After a week or two, to check it, push the compost away gently and take a look. Does it have worms around it? Is it changing color? Is it changing in texture? How long does it take to breakdown? 

Don't have a Mini-Bin but would like to compost at home? Or maybe you're looking for a friendly and low-maintenance pet for the kids? Purchase a Mini-Bin today for $24.99. Price includes kit, starter food, and worms. 

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