Tag Archives: temperature guide for red worms

Help your worms beat the heat.

11 Jul

We have had a high number of 100+ degree days this Summer in Texas.  When temperatures get into the 90s worms get stressed.

One way to avoid overheating and losing worms is to keep them indoors.  Avoid overfeeding and smell will not be an issue.  Overfeeding can also attract fruit flies.  Eliminating fruit flies is as easy as covering your bin with cheese cloth, or other breathable fabric.

Find a full shade location if your worms are outside.  Add ample bedding and keep moist.  80%- 90% moisture is recommended, and in hotter temps lean towards more moisture to keep worms cool.  Keep lids cracked to increase airflow.  A closed bin can bake even in the shade with high temperatures.  Garage kept worms still need to be monitored in the heat.

Another trick I’ve employed is freezing plastic bottles full of water and adding them to bins on hot afternoons.  My worms have been appreciative in these “dog days” of summer.

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Cold Hardiness of Worms

21 Feb

WIth temperatures dipping into the mid-20’s and a wind chill well below, I transported several pounds of red worms and european nightcrawlers in the back of a pick up from San Antonio through Houston to southeast Texas.  I knew it was going to get cold, but the forecast for San Antonio was way off.  When planning our trip, the most recent weather reports called for morning temperatures in the mid-50’s.  Thank God for the cold hardiness of these worms.  We finally reached our destination and the 6 hours the worms spent in small bins exposed to these temperatures I feared I would have lost many of the worms.  Temps. in bins dipped well below freezing.

Fortunately, both species (europeans and red wigglers) recovered just fine.  Even the smaller juvenile worms were actively working the next day, as I checked the bins and got them to 50F.

God bless these little guys who prove over and over their resilience in some less than ideal conditions.  I don’t recommend testing the limits, as I typically keep them fairly protected (indoors when possible, the garage, and worm beds several inches underground).

Keys to worm farming success.

14 Feb

A proper set up, and a little planning is all you need to be a successful worm farmer.  In no time you’ll be making more bins, and harvesting valuable castings for your soil and plants from garbage that your family produces.  Red worms are rapid breeders, and can lay an egg every 7 days.  Because they breed so fast in good conditions, focus on their environment, and you will have more worms than you know what to do with.  I started 4 years ago with a medium sized drink cup worth of worms that wasn’t even full.  I sputtered for a bit until I dialed in the right conditions for their bin.  Soon after I got it right and 1 bin became 2 and there is no telling how many worm beds and bins I have started.  So how many worms you start with is not important, but how you start is critical for success.

On another note, I harvested the castings from one of my starter (shoebox size) farms this weekend that I started on 11/28/10 with 10 eggs.  This experiment proved that a healthy bin will produce great results.

For first time worm farmers I recommend my starter farm $40 that will give you a headstart on producing castings and more worms than just purchasing a pound of worms. An established environment with reproducing worms from egg to adult, and will out produce a worm purchase alone.  Worm farming is easy, but you must get a few things right.  The right kind and amount of food, the right temperature, the right moisture, and the right amount of room.  BIns should mimic their natural environment, a cool, dark, moist space with decaying organic matter.

The TexasRedWorms.com starter farm in most cases,will need to be split in about a month.  Splitting bins when they grow out of their current one is important, because when conditions are right the only limit to the worms reproduction is space and available food.

I recommend keeping the starter bin as a breeding bin, and starting new bins from your harvest.  When you have a bin that is producing, you can then experiment with other set ups (larger bins, worm beds, pits, trenches, worm towers,and more) .

Have fun, and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Baby Texas Red Worm

4 Jan

It’s January in Texas and temperatures are right for red worm cocoons to hatch.  Temperatures will dip just below freezing at night on occasion, but right now it’s 60F.  Red worms will do fine from 40F-80F.  Mine are kept at a pretty constant 60F this time of year, and they are doing wonderful. I snapped this picture early this morning as I peeked under the lid of one of my starter farms.

Why are all my worms at the top of the bin?

10 Aug

I had someone ask the other day about why there worms were lined up at the top of their bin?

Worms should be dispersed throughout your bin when conditions are right.  So chances are there might be an issue with your bin if you see this.  Red worms like it moist, but don’t drown them.  If the bin is outdoors make sure the soil is well draining, and that rain will not collect.  Temperature is the other big factor in my experience.  See The right temperature for worms for more info.

For an in depth look at the 3 rights of worm farming check out this link.

The right temperature for red worms.

13 Jul

Is it too hot or too cold to raise worms where you live?  Red wigglers are hearty critters, but do need the right temperature, moisture, and food.

Red worms (Eisenia Fetida) do best in temperatures between 55-77 degrees Fahrenheit, but can survive from 40-80 degrees F.  Outside worm bins are subject to the elements and sometimes much more extreme temperatures in Summer and Winter.  To remedy this a worm pit is an effective way to combat these extreme temperatures.  The underground temperature holds a more constant temperature.  Thermal inertia means that below ground temps. stay cooler that air temps. in Summer and warmer in the Winter.

I have built worm pits outdoors in South and East Texas, and they have done very well.  A worm pit can be a simple worm bed that is dug several inches underground in a shady spot with a protective cover, or by placing a plastic pot or bucket halfway or more into the ground to keep out of the elements.

I keep several smaller bins indoors.  Plastic containers make terrific worm bins, and can be kept odor free, and bug free indoors.  You can purchase starter farms that are set up w/ bedding, food, castings, and hundreds of worms from TexasRedWorms.com.