Red Worms for Composting & Soil Care


About Red Worms

Eisenia fetida is a species of Epigeic worm that lives inside the top 10 inches of the soil and is found in many regions of the world. This type of worm also known as Red Worms, for their reddish color, plays a huge role in fertilizing your soil and consuming waste products. This specific species of Red Worms can consume up to ½ of their body weight of organic materials. Red Worms consume leaves, grass, decayed plants but are not limited to these. Red Worms also have another key feature. The castings that Red Worms leave behind are several times higher in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium than normal soil. Another affect that Red Worms have on the soil is aeration. While the Red Worms are searching for food they are leaving tunnels behind them turning and mixing the soil which allows the soil to drain better, reduce erosion, reduce the amount of water needed, and can help resist from the soil compacting.

Reproduction and Temperature Requirements

The Red Worm adults lay around 4 eggs per week with an 83% hatching rate. There are roughly 4 baby worms per eggs with a rough net reproduction of 11 young per week. Under ideal conditions it can take roughly 35 days for the eggs to hatch, roughly 60 days to reach sexual maturity and roughly 120 days from hatching to reach maturity. The temperature requirements should a minimum 38 degrees Fahrenheit with a maximum of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat tolerance for the worms depends on how moist the soil is.

Release Instructions for Ladybugs

Earthworms will vary in size. Packages include eggs, newborn earthworms and adults. Mature size will be reached (about three inches in length) in 6 to 12 months. Make sure your release site is moist. Worms should be scattered on the top of the soil of gardens, potted plants or lawns.Release in the evening after watering. Earthworms will then burrow into the earth and immediately begin their soil improving tasks. If placing the worms in your garden, do several release sites. For compost piles simply add the worms to your bins and the worms will seek out the food.

300 Worms 150 sq. ft.
500-600 Worms 300 sq. ft.
1,000 - 1,200 Worms 600 sq. ft.

Indoor Composting

Almost any container that keeps worms in and offers drainage and sufficient oxygen can be used. The basic worm box size is one foot high, two feet deep, three feet wide and has air holes in the bottom. However, a variety of containers will do. We recommend bedding made from shredded newspapers and compost or good garden soil. Tear regular newsprint only (no colored pages) in strips approximately 1.5” wide. The bedding should be moistened to the “firm ball” stage. When squeezed, water droplets (not streams) will fall and when released it will form a ball. You will need to either put a tight fitting vented lid on your bin or keep a light on over to prevent them from escaping. It is normal to have worms crawling up the sides and getting under the lid of a plastic bin. They like to be in the condensation that forms in these bins. *Note: Never use water from water softening systems as the salt will kill the worms.

Outdoor Composting

Redworms can also be used in an outdoor compost pile. If possible, release the worms in the morning. This will give them time to settle into their new environment before dark and help prevent crawling. Simply dig a shallow hole in the pile, spread the worms along with the bedding they came with into the hole and cover. The worms will naturally seek out an area of the pile that is the right temperature. During cold months, they will migrate into the center where the temperature is generally warmer and in warm months they will migrate to the outside.