Worm Breeding

Worms are not complicated creatures: they eat, poop and reproduce. Worm Breeding of the red wiggler worm (eisenia foetida) will be discussed in this article.

Worms are asexual, meaning they are both male and female or neither male or female whichever. All it takes for worms to breed, is a two breeder size worms to match up at their clitteliums (band or ring), exchange fluids, form an egg then deposit it in the bin. That is it. An average e.foetida breeder worm makes 1-3 eggs per week. Those eggs contain an average of 4 worms. It takes 45-90 days for the eggs to hatch (moisture and temperature dependent).

Let's have some fun. Compounding. If you have 1,000 worms: and all goes well with breeding and bin environment, then you can easily double your population in 3 months and double that population in 3 months and so on. If all goes perfectly, 1 pound can be 6-8 pounds of worms in a year. It would be a safer guess to say 3 pounds for most farmers though.

If your composting is going well, you are noticing a lot more worms and your food is disappearing quickly then it is time to harvest your bin contents and worms.
Often we think of harvesting to gather the castings for our garden but harvesting is also a very important time to assess if your bin is sufficient for the amount of worms you have. Most farmers say one pound per square foot, I say up to 2 pounds per square foot. So an 18 gallon tote bin will hold up to 4-5 pounds of worms in my opinion. Don't have a scale? A 20 ounce drinking cup (we call them tea cup here in texas 'cause that is what we drink iced tea in) when full to the very top of pure worms (no castings) is usually about a pound. Or you could count them, a pound is usually around 1000 worms. Have fun counting!

Try counting these buggers!

squirmin worms

Want to read more about worm composting?

From Worm Breeding page to Raising Red Worms page

From Worm Breeding page to wormbincomposting.com