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Earthworms, Why Redworms Are Best

Updated on December 10, 2012
I love Earthworms Logo
I love Earthworms Logo | Source

The Reasons Redworms Rule!

Redworms are best suited for recycle bin and commercial culture because they have unique characteristics. A full grown redworm will measure from 2" to 4" in length, making it the perfect size for hook fishing and they are just about the best bait for sunfish (bream) around! Earthworms come in literally thousands of types, with only a few making up the species that is good for commercial culture. Redworms comprise the majority of the commercial market. Depending on where you live on this big beautiful planet can determine what you may recognize worms being referred to as. Such names as; English Reds, Manure Worms, Red Wigglers, Hybrid Reds, Ozark Tigers, and the list goes on. For the sake of this article, we will be referring to them as simply redworms or earthworms. For the most part they are the same worm, (Esinia fetida, or Lumbricus rubellus). These wonderful creatures are lively, make the best fish bait worms, and millions of gardens and composting systems around the globe can't do without them. They can be grown in just about every climate, with only a few extreme exceptions. As mentioned before, these redworms make fishing for sunfish a blast as well as fishing for catfish and those tasty trout!

The reasons the redworm is the top pick for bin and commercial culture are due to some unusual yet highly desired features. I will be going over these features one by one for you.


Redworm up close
Redworm up close


  1. Each redworm can form an egg capsule after mating with another worm, because they are hermaphrodites. This means every worm is both male and female. An exchange of sperm occurs when two worms mate. the egg capsules are formed from the mucus tube secreted by the clitellum (the thick band or girdle you see near the head of the body of mature worms). When they mate, the eggs are fertilized by sperm when it is deposited within this mucus tube. The tube then slips off the end of the worm forming an egg capsule. As stated above, each worm can form an egg capsule after mating with another worm, not just the female (because these worms are both male and female) thus, doubling the production of new worms.
  2. Redworms multiply very quickly. They reproduce at a remarkably high rate. If your worms are allowed to reside within the proper conditions, a redworm is capable of producing an an egg capsule every 7 to 15 days. After three to five weeks it is likely to hatch out about 2 to 4 newborn worms.
  3. These new baby worms are going to be ready to reproduce their own egg capsules in about 2 to 3 months. You will be able to see the clitellum (thick band) behind the head when they are ready to breed.
  4. As a product, redworms ship very well in damp peat moss or other packaging materials. The worms are also hearty and can tolerate a wide perameter of temperatures.
  5. Redworms are a very good choice for bait because they can stay alive under water for more than an hour, remaining very lively for most of this time.
  6. You want to talk about a productive product? Then lets talk redworms. These composting giants can eat one half or more of their own body weight in food or bedding every 24 hours. This organic food waste is then processed into deep dark nutrient rich organic compost for gardens and farmers around the world.
  7. If you sell your worms in cups, unlike most live bait, they don't require refrigeration. Redworms will keep just fine for a week or so on a shelf at regular store temperature.
  8. Keeping your redworm beds full of food and at a good moisture level will keep your worms at home. If all is well within the wormbed, the redworm is content to stay put and not crawl or migrate away.



BAITING A HOOK WITH A WORM (49 sec. video)

A look at another way to bait your hook with worms






The commercial market for live bait is not limited to redworms by any means. You will run across crickets and minnows(shiners), which can be found seasonally. In the warmer climates you will find a ready supply of another worm, "Black Wiggler", "Swamp Wiggler" or "Jumper". The Canadian Nightcrawler (Flattail) is also sold as fish bait. But the nightcrawler is a big fat worm, making them quite sensitive to heat so they must be refrigerated for storage of just about any length of time.

The Southeastern United States offers a popular bait worm called the "Pink" or "Grunt" worm. This rascal is wild natural worm and has not been successfully raised in commercial worm farming. Pickers actually go out and hunt these worms up by hand by vibrating metal rods that have been hammered into the ground. The vibrations cause the worms to surface. The sound is referred to as a grunt because it resembles that of a grunting noise, hence the name "Grunt Worm". This worm cannot tolerate heat or cold and does not do well in containers at all.

Many different and popular live baits are not worms by any means, they are larval stages of insects. "Spikes" and "Maggies" i am told are blue bottle fly larvae. "Mousees" are crane fly larvae. "Waxworms" are bee moth larvae. "Mealworms" are a beetle larvae. The majority of these are shipped in wheat bran and have to be kept refrigerated so they don't mature into their adult stage.


How to distingush insect larvae

Distinguishing Insect Larvae from one another
Distinguishing Insect Larvae from one another


The measure of information on the earthworm farming industry is rather small when compared to most others. So, you have to take it upon yourself to gather as much information on redworms that you possibly can find. If you can locate a worm farm near you, see if they are willing to allow you access. If so, ask questions and find out what works and what doesn't work in your neck-of-the-woods.

One of the main advantages of starting a worm farm is that you can get rolling with just a little experience and hardly any out of pocket money! You have to be prepared to work, but honestly, the work is just not that hard, your product virtually grows while you watch TV. Worms can be a great hobby or a home-business. Whatever you decide to do in terms of raising worms, it can be a profitable situation! Just make certain to have a tape measure and a calculator on hand when you are planning out your worm beds, leaving room for expansion should things really take off for you. You can get started with a little effort and a very-very small investment into what could be your wiggly future fortune! Good-luck, now go get started!



Be sure to vote up EARTHWORMS-WHY ARE REDWORMS BETTER? after making your Comments!

Submit a Comment
  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    livelonger~Always humbled when you stop by to read my little hubs. I am hoping that worm composting will become a daily routine for everyone! It's a way to give back som much of what we take from the earth.

    Thanks for the comments!


  • livelonger profile image

    Jason Menayan 

    9 years ago from San Francisco

    Fascinating - very cool. I've always been interested in how worms can be used to create quality topsoil, especially now that composting has "gone mainstream" and most are used to separating their trash. Thank you for a really informative series of hubs on the subject!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Greenhousewife~ Thanks for the comment. You make a very good point regarding the extreme weather in PA. If you have the room, putting the bins in a shed or out building would be best. Hay Bails make super good insulation for your worms, but can be difficult to move as you tend to your stock. Keeping new "hot" organic waste on the top of the bed helps because when it begins to decay, this causes a thermogenic temperature rise which warms your worms yet allows them room to move away if it gets too hot.

    In very extreme conditions, you may need to resort to small heaters, keeping a close eye on moisture conditions (use a soil moisture meter, they are cheap and well worth the money). It is also good to know that the really cold weather can cause the beds to dry out some, and again temperature is a concern here. So, be sure to give the bed a good soaking (with proper drainage) before the heavy duty cold stops by.

    A very good way to protect your worms from the cold is to make a blanket (of sorts) out of the organic "hot" material and cover that with a layer of straw or hay after making certain a good moisture content is available. your worms should be okay throughout the chilly months. But, you need to do this before the really freezy months arrive! It is important to not remove this blanket before the freeze threat is gone. After the freezing weather has gone and spring pops around, add some new bedding, a good feeding of fresh commercial feed, compost or manure and your worms will be very happy and active wigglers in no time.

    In any event, if you use a non-organic heat source, be certain good ventilation is provided, because fumes from gas heaters or wood stoves can kill your worms. A good rule of thumb is; If it can kill humans, it can probably kill worms!

    I wish you the best of luck in keeping your redworms warm in PA, I am confident you and your worms will do just fine!

    Thanks for stopping by I appreciate your comments.


  • Greenhousewife profile image


    9 years ago

    I know you said you can insulate the bins you keep the worms in but I live in PA, wouldn't I need to bring them all inside when the weather turns cold?

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Minnetonka~Thanks for the read. I absolutely understand the baiting your hook situation. Not my favorite part either. You should go out and catch a few, nothing calms the inner soul as much a sweet childhood memory. I appreciate the comment.

    Wishing you all that good-


  • Minnetonka Twin profile image

    Linda Rogers 

    9 years ago from Minnesota

    Wow K9-You are the Goddess of the worm world. I didn't know much about worms but this is such great information. I use to fish as a kid living on the lake but havn't fished in years. Your hub has me re-thinking this. I refuse to bait a hook though. YUCK. Hope all is well in your life friend:)


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