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Handy Tips for raising worms

Red wiggler wormsRaising worms is easy, and you can even make a hobby out of it. Other than that, several worm breeders also get to make a profit out of selling these as well. There is a big demand for this in organic farming, as earthworm composts have been continuously used as a natural fertilizer for plants and soil. Either used for personal use or for business means, here are a few handy tips when raising these slimy but wonderful creatures.

To get you started on your worm breeding project, you must first prepare the following things: a vermicomposting bin, some organic materials (as food supply to your worms), as well as some soil, or sand. Now after you’ve prepared all these, you may now get on with your project.

So the first step to this project is deciding what earthworm type to raise. There are a lot of earthworms to choose from, and some of the most well-liked earthworms are the Red Wiggler worms, and the African Night Crawlers. The red wrigglers are usually the worms that are small in size, and is typically the easiest type to breed. The African Night Crawlers on the other hand, are the largest in size; and are usually the ones that are used for catching fish on bait.

Moving forward, you can either find these worms on your own or purchase them at a local store near you (you’ll also be able to find some online). You’ll be able to find these being sold in local shops as baby worms, or as eggs. But if you’re really just into looking for some, then the Night Crawlers for example, can be found squeezed into lawn edges, unlike red worms. Look for these Night Crawlers at night, or start looking for them right after a heavy downpour, as these can be found plenty in these conditions.

So, as soon as you’ve picked what earthworm type to use, you may then prepare their habitat, which is in a form of a worm composting bin. Make sure that your worm bin has drainage and aeration holes as well. It’ll also be better to keep your worms moist and kept in a dark environment, to allow them to thrive better. So the best thing that you can do to keep them away from these is to cover the worm bin with a lid. Covering the worm bin will help keep in that much needed moisture, as well as that necessary darkness. Also make sure that the temperature is between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will be the best temperature for the worms.

Now, feeding your worms inside a worm composting bin should only happen once a week (about one pound of food for each cubic foot of space, for each month). But if you decide to feed them weekly, then you should take note that the best way to do so is by dividing their food into fourths. Their food should always be kept moist, and not too soggy or wet, as adding too much water will cause the worms to drown. Besides that, you can also put in organic materials inside the bin as part of their food supply like dried leaves, grass clippings, food scraps from the kitchen, and other compost materials. Place these organics on top of the worms bedding, and wait for the worms to appear and consume these. They will surely resurface when its time to eat, and will go back to burrowing when they’re done with it. But also make sure that you don’t overfeed them.

Raising worms is simple. You’ll just have to know what to start with. Composting with red worms for example, is an efficient process when it comes to recycling your regular organic wastes.

You can learn more about this from our article: Worm composting with red wiggler worms.

6 comments on “Handy Tips for raising worms

  • I made a habitat as you said, bought some red crawlers for it and things were going great. A few days later, red ants had invaded it and driven the worms out of the ground. Most were dead or hurt. Was I unlucky enough to place the habitat over an ant colony? Or do the ants seek out worms? I now have them in 5-gal food-grade plastic buckets full of compost (with holes in the bottom for drainage), sitting in the shade on concrete. I keep it moist. Your thoughts? Have you run into ant problems before?

    • Uncle Jim says:

      Hi Andy,

      We’re so sorry to hear about the ant invasion in your worm bin! While we don’t generally deal with ants with our worms, they can be a problem with worm bins. The ants are attracted to the composting food.

      For the ants that are already established inside the bin, soak the section they are in with water and they will usually go away. Then let the worm bin dry out so there isn’t too much moisture. You can also use diatomaceous earth to get rid of ants, but placing a thin layer on the top of your worm bin. It won’t hurt the worms, but should kill the ants.

      One way to keep ants out of your worms is to cut off their access to the worms. First, you would need to put the worms up on a stool or something with legs. Then put a dish of water with a drop of dish soap in it under each leg. The soap will reduce the surface tension of the water, to prevents the ants from walking across it. Alternatively, most of the garden centers sell ant goo, a sticky substance that is painted around the stems of rose bushes to trap ants. It is eco friendly as it doesn’t contain any insecticide poisons.

      I hope this helps! Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-373-0555 if you have more questions. You can also email us questions at

      -Bethany, Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

  • do I need to add more dirt to my worm bin? It seems so be very mucky like mud and I have not watered it in months. Also I have some sort of small fly thousands of them in my bin, what caused this and what do I do?

  • Deb Neumayr says:

    I’ve been using Coir (coconut) bark as bedding for my red wiggler worms, but they don’t seem to be living in it or composting it. I thought it was supposed to be ideal for them. Any thoughts? Do others use it?

    • Hello Deb;

      Please contact us at by phone or email and we can help you with this. There are many reasons that the worms may not be doing well in a bin. You can check these things before contacting us and see if any of them apply.
      Temperature. Worms can easily get too hot or cold. Maintain a 55-70ºF climate in the bin by monitoring with a probe thermometer, and moving the bin to a cooler or warmer location accordingly. Insulation also helps.
      Moisture. Make sure the worm bin is not overly wet or dry. The bedding should feel like a wrung-out sponge. If too wet, soak up excess water with cloth or paper and insert small rolls of newspaper throughout the bin. Make sure your bin has working drain holes. If too dry, judiciously pour some dechlorinated water in the bin, making sure drain holes are clear. If there are still a lot of worms in the bin, don’t add too much water at once or they will suffocate.
      Light. Worms need the subterranean darkness they’re used to. Too much light can be fatal. Keeping your worm bin in a dark basement or garage is ideal to maintain healthy light levels — or keep the bin lid on. For an outdoor worm bin, keep a lid or cover closed, especially during daylight hours.
      Fresh Air. Worms need some fresh air! Make sure your bin has good holes for drainage and aeration and that the contents of your bin are not so compacted that they restrict air flow.
      Food. Worms must have enough food at all times or they will begin to eat their own castings. Sometimes worms will surprise you with how much and how quickly they eat what you put into the bin, so check and add food frequently.
      pH Level. The worm bin should not be too acidic or too alkaline. If this is a concern, monitor the bin regularly with a pH probe. Shoot for a neutral pH of 7 by adding more alkalizing or acidic food accordingly. Limestone is also a handy ingredient for balancing pH.
      Water. Be certain you are using dechlorinated water for your worm bin. City drinking water from your tap often contains chlorine, which can be harmful to your worms. Buy dechlorinated water, or dechlorinate tap water by boiling or letting it sit out for 24 hours to allow chlorine evaporation.
      Space. Worms like a nice full bin of bedding and food scraps, but even they can feel crowded. Make sure your bin isn’t overly full of food, bedding, or even worms. Harvest worms and move them to a new home when you too many new hatchlings to make sure they don’t feel crowded out.

      Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm


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