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Redworms Basics
At one time or another everyone is a beginner at composting with redworms. Many of the questions asked are very common. There are many simple and fun facts.
Some Good Information...
In a nutshell: Redworms eat, lay egg capsules, deposit castings, and then eat more (oh, they also eventually die and decompose into compost too).

 A pound of redworms will average 1000 redworms, but can range from 500 to 15,000 depending on their size. Don't be fooled if your supplier advertises 1 lb of soil with redworms and claim to have at least 500 redworms. It's not likely, ask if they guarantee 1 lb of redworms.



 Redworms digest 1/2 their body weight every day (That means if you start with 1 lb of redworms they need 3 1/2 lbs per week), young growing redworms will eat more, just like kids.

 Redworms reach breeding age in 9 to 12 weeks. They are not large at this time, but they have matured enough to reproduce. They will have a breeding ring a third of the way down on their body.

 An adult redworm can lay one egg capsule a week. If they did???? Redworm Multiplication Chart for one year

One redworm X

One egg capsule per week X

52 wks X

Avg 3 worms per capsule =

150 offspring

75 mature second generation X

One egg capsule per week X

17 wks avg X

Avg 3 worms per capsule =

3,800 offspring

1,900 mature third generation X

One egg capsule per week X

8 wks avg X

Avg 3 worms per capsule =

45,600 offspring

= 49,550 redworms from one redworm under optimal conditions for 365 days, this does not include the unhatched egg capsules at the end of the year.

 Egg capsules hatch in approximately 21 days under optimal conditions (temp and moisture). An egg capsule may be light yellow to red depending on its age. The capsule will become dark red before the redworms emerge. One capsule will have 2-12 redworm eggs and average 2 to 4 redworms actually hatching.

 Redworms will survive in compost temperatures of 32-95 degrees. Higher or lower temps are possible in your compost, but that is not usually an even temperature through the whole bin. Redworms just need enough compost area to get away from the extreme temp. Outside temps are different see
climate zones.

 When starting your bin your redworms may wander. This is due to the new environment; it may not taste the same. Make sure there is food (fruit, vegetables or some type of green). Bedding alone (leaves, sawdust, or newspaper) has no immediate food value and they may wander. Keep a light on until they get used to their new home. This can take 30 minutes to a couple days. I encourage new composters to find some older compost that includes some working organisms so your redworms will feel at home quickly.

 Redworm bedding is shredded newspaper, shredded leaves, sawdust, cardboard, or other brown material. It is good to have some damp bedding in your compost along with your food waste. I recommend shredded leaves or aged sawdust since they do not compact like newspaper.

 Redworms do not like vibrations - If your redworms are continuously migrating out of your bin this may be the problem.


Redworm Kryptonite: Dry sawdust or peat moss. Redworms breath through their skin if they are surrounded by only dry material they will secrete their internal moisture to breath as long as they can. This information is mainly for harvesting your redworms. When you put them in a pile on a table to separate the castings, you can surround your pile with some dry peat moss and they will not wander from the pile (that is as long as you also have a light above them).

Redworms Favorite Food: Watermelon and they don't mind if you eat the good part first. Actually any kind of melon, squash (to include pumpkins), or soft garden vegetable.