How to Raise Red Worms: Breeding Red Wigglers

by Sam Richards | Last Updated: January 11, 2021

If you are thinking of finally getting into composting, one of the most important is your choice of worms. They will feed through organic scraps and will excrete castings, which will be beneficial in increasing nutrients in the soil. While the process is pretty straightforward, the success will depend on a couple of things. One of the most important is your choice of worms.

While there are many types of worms, not all of them are the same. If you are looking for the best, consider red wiggler worms. Keep on reading and we’ll let you know how you can raise these worms.

What are Red Wigglers?

While there are more than 7,000 species of earthworms, if your goal is composting, then it is hard to go wrong with red wigglers. They thrive on the upper layer of soil and feed on decaying matter or microorganisms. One thing that makes them different from other types of earthworms is that they do not burrow or create tunnels. They also reproduce quickly, making them great if you want to produce more worms in a short time, especially if you will be using worms as fishing bait.

Raising Redworms

The thought of starting a worm farm at home can be intimidating. Nonetheless, it is a lot easier than what you might have imagined. It is important to do your research to be sure that you are doing the right thing. This section will walk you through some of the most important steps for breeding red wigglers. Even if it is your first time raising red worms, things don’t have to be complicated.

1. Prepare the Composting Bin

The first thing that you need to do is to get the composting bin ready. You can choose almost any container for this, including those made of plastic. Choose the right size depending on the number of worms that you would like to add in the compost. Drill holes about three inches apart. The holes should be big enough for water to pass through. This will help in draining the soil. Otherwise, water will accumulate on the soil and will make it a breeding ground of bacteria. This will make it an unhealthy environment for red worms.

After preparing the composting bin, now is the time to add the bedding. It is composed of different materials that will provide an environment where the worms will thrive. Soil, peat moss, and aged manure are some of the must-haves. Add a few drops of water, preventing the soil from being too soggy.

2. Add the Worms

Now that the bedding is ready, add two pounds of red wigglers. This is not an absolute number. You can add more or less than that depending on the size of the composting bin. Make sure that they are not cramped into the bin. There should be enough room for them to move around. Otherwise, they will die, and hence, you will not succeed in raising red worms.

Population density is one of the most important things that you need to understand in raising red worms. If there are too many worms in a small space, then this will slow down breeding. When they are over-crowded, the available food supply also depletes quickly.

3. Position the Bin

With the worms added in the bin, make sure that it is in the right position. It can be placed indoors or outdoors, and the choice of which will depend on the climate at where you are from. Red wigglers will thrive best when the temperature is anywhere from 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. When the environment is outside this range, they will slow down and stop reproduction. Worse, the worms will die. It is best to invest in a soil thermometer for checking the temperature. During winter or summer, you might also need to reposition the bin.

4. Feed the Worms

Aside from providing an ideal environment, it is also important to feed the worms properly. They eat almost the same things as other earthworms. Feed the worms only once a week. The food should be moist and never soggy. Add garden waste and kitchen scraps. Tear them down into pieces so that they will be easier for the worms to consume. Fruit peels, dry leaves, coffee grounds, and crushed eggshells are some of the best foods. You also have to avoid certain items, including those that are acidic, citrusy, and oily.

5. Get Ready for Harvest

Eventually, you will have to harvest the red worms out of the bin and add them to your compost or use them as bait on your next fishing trip. After four to six weeks, you can start collecting the red worms on the top of the soil. Harvest those that are only two to four inches from the top. This is where you will find most of the adult worms in the bin. You can move them to other composting bins or use the worms as bait. Do not harvest worms that are too small. Leave them in the compost and take them out once they have fully-grown, especially if your goal is to use red wigglers as bait. Tiny worms can be difficult to hold and hook, so it is best to let them grow before taking out of the bin.

Conclusion

In sum, raising red wigglers can be intimidating at first, but if you are aware of how to do it right, the process is a lot easier. Choose healthy worms to start with. Look for the right bin and fill it with good bedding. Do not over-crowd the worms. Over-density can kill the red worms in the bin. Position properly and feed the worms as needed. Once ready, make sure that you harvest them properly out of the bin. Whether it is for composting or fishing, among other things, raising red worms at home is a good idea. Lucky for you, it does not take a lot to successfully do so.