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Uncovering the Growth Stages of Red Wiggler Worms

Updated on April 10, 2017

Choosing Red Wiggler Composting Worms

Red Wiggler worms are those that farmers and gardeners alike are most likely to consider when planning to have worm composting at home. Having been packed with a lot of nutrients, this kind of worm has definitely captured people’s attention when it comes to organic gardening. For us to better appreciate the Eisenia Foetida specie, let’s dig in to their life cycle.

Let’s enter their world as we introduce you to them beginning from their cocoon stage until they reach the last stage which is Egg laying.

The First Phase: Egg Stage

This phase basically shows us the egg stage of the red wiggler composting worms. If you would look at rice grain, the eggs are even smaller and are color yellow. Normally, cocoons are incubated to approximately 23 days. With that time, you will notice that their color will slowly transform from yellow to maroon-like color. Also, it is in this stage that around 4-6 Red Wiggler worms will begin build up. After 21-28 days, the baby worms will already come out when the eggs hatch at 65-85 degrees temperature.

Emerging to Juvenile Stage

Put together around four strands of your hair (about 0.5 inch) and that will give you the thickness of the red wiggler worms.  When they reach the juvenile stage, they are already used for the process by serving as composting worms; it’s just that you cannot yet trace any sign of genitals which is called the clitellum.

Worms’ Maturity Phase

This is now the adolescence phase.  You would normally wait around 40-60 days for the juvenile worms to be matured and by that time, they already have the clitellum.  This genital marking gives you the idea on the reproductive organ of the worms.  However, you will only see this once the Red Wigglers are prepared for reproduction and you the signal is when the clitellum changes to color orange.

Reproduction Stage: Mating

You may say, “but red wigglers are hermaphrodite so how does mating happens?”  Well, this is actually interesting.  Of course, they can never mate with themselves since they have both the female and male organs because they still need partners.  Worms begin to sexually ready during warm temperatures.  They let their clitellums meet while allowing their heads to point in a separate direction in order to share each one’s sperms.  After this mating, each clitellum will then release the eggs.  When the eggs are released, the worms would leave the cocoons to allow fertilization. Quite interesting, right?  So the next time you see two worms entangled with each other, you already have a clue.

Knowing more about Red Wiggler Worms

Red Wiggler worms are very unique in creature.  They can be very good in worm composting and they can also reproduce that easy.  As said earlier, they are sexually active during warm temperatures making it easy for them to double their population.  During winter season however, they become slow in terms of mating and even their metabolism is not an exemption.  Eisenia Foetida are never comfortable in places that are too hot, acidic and saline.  Also, during rainy seasons, these worms come out simply because they are overwhelmed by too much water inside the soil.  During these times, they release a slick and acrid element which is believed to be as their way of protecting themselves.

    Visit Uncle Jim's worm farm for everything about Red Wigglers and Worm Composting.We sell worms for composting: Red Wigglers, African Night Crawlers, Canadian Night Crawlers and Gray Night Crawlers. We also provide products for organic gardening.
    Your number one online resource for composting or for organic gardening supplies. We offer a variety of quality vermicomposting equipment including red worms, compost bins, organic fertilizer, organic weed control and organic pest control. Go Green!

Uncle Jim's Worm Farm

Uncle Jim is an expert on Eisenia Foetida or Red Wigglers. Raising them for more than 20 years now, he has been promoting the importance of the roles that the worms play in our environment. That's why he chose raising Red Wigglers in a farm to share and promote the benefits of these nature's little wonders!

Uncle Jim's seasoned knowledge about worms and gardening has developed many tools for worm composting and gardening that are based on 20 years of experience.


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    • frankwiggler profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spring Grove, PA

      yes, they are! :) you can go to for recipes too! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i love to eat worms ! they taste really good i can eat them all day and night! i wus just wondering if they were healthy?


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