How to Keep Your Worms!

Fishing Worms and Maggots. |  Advice Sheets |  How to Keep Your Worms!

Keeping Worms

The art of worm keeping and keeping worms alive is essential in order to prolong the worms life cycle. Worm care is a relatively simple procedure, which varies depending on the type of worm you keep.

Keeping Dendrobaena Worms

Dendrobaena are the easiest of worms to keep, this can be split into two parts - short tern storage or long term.

For short term,
say a week or less, the worms can be kept in the container or bag they have arrived in, they are normally sent out with sufficient bedding for the travelling and to keep for a couple of days. On arrival the worms should be opened immediately and checked, then extra bedding can be added, this can be torn up wet newspaper and/or cardboard, moss peat and dead leaves, you can fill the container or bag but don't "cram" it in, worms like to move around! Always keep the lid on the container or the bag tightly shut but do change the air in the plastic containers every other day. The container or bag should then be kept at a cool temperature, around 10degC is ideal, a cool shed or garage is fine, we do not recommend putting them in a refrigerator but if this works for you, don't change. Dendrobaena, like all worms will continually feed and the bedding should be topped up as necessary. One of the worst things to do is to take the whole container or bag to go fishing, worms hate changes in temperature so only take what you need for the days outing, on return, put any unused worms into a separate container, do not add back to the original.

Long term
As you would expect, we would recommend a Worm Keeper as supplied by us! this is what it is designed for and will be of the right size with the right bedding materials but if you insist on doing it yourself then read on.
On arrival the worms should be transferred into a larger container, a 2 gallon bucket should be considered as the smallest but it must have a tight fitting, ventilated lid. This or any other container will need to be half filled with a suitable bedding, see short term above, do not use soil. The container must be kept in cool conditions, the shed or garage is the usual place, as said before, the Dendrobaena will continually feed but in this case it would be advisable to feed "extras" from the start, many customers recommend a cupful of cooked, unsalted mashed potato placed onto the surface and this does seem to work very well, other foods to consider would be any green kitchen waste but always feed in small quantities and do not mix into the bedding, when the worms have cleared almost all the first meal, feed again, do not overload or there will be problems! The container should be left where it is and only enough worms for the days outing should be removed, if you are happy with their condition on your return then they can be added back but if you are at all unsure, start another container.


Keeping Lobworms

Lobworms are probably the most difficult, they are very particular about bedding conditions and especially temperatures so extra care has to be taken.

Short term
The bedding they are sent out in is a careful mix of moss peat, cardboard, cardboard dust and clay dust and It will be necessary to bulk this up when the worms have arrived, materials that can be used are wet paper, cardboard, moss peat and fresh moss as raked from the lawn (make sure no sprays have been used recently) and the moss that grows on logs plus any dead leaves that can be found, any or all of these should be put into larger container or breathable bag and the lobworms added, this really does need to be kept cool and on this occasion we would recommend the use of a fridge set at warmer temperatures, ideally around 6degC, if this is not possible then the coldest shed or garage floor will have to do, many customers stand the container in a bowl of water particularly in the summer and this seems to be quite effective. Containers and bags must be well ventilated but kept closed at all times, even at these lower temperatures Lobworms will continue to feed and the bedding needs to be changed as necessary. The usual rules of taking only what you need for fishing and trying to keep temperatures constant apply as does the rule of not adding returned worms back to the original stock, especially so with Lobworms.

Long term.
This really is not much different to the above short term, except with the exception of bigger containers and more bedding, in this case we would strongly recommend considering a Worm Keeper. Lobworms should not be fed on green kitchen waste or the mashed potato routine, it can cause them problems. If you are not experienced in keeping Lobworms we would suggest starting with a smaller quantity to try.


Keeping Redworms

Short term
You will have noticed that Redworms are only sold in relatively small amounts in small tubs, keeping them for a short time just involves giving them a little bit of wet paper or tiny amount of green kitchen waste per tub and ensuring the bedding does not dry out. They should be kept at room temperature or a little cooler but never put them in a refrigerator! With the small tubs only take as many as necessary for the days fishing and do not return sub standard worms back to the tub.

Long term
This can be a bit tricky, we have tried over the years to make redworms available in larger quantities, i.e. 0.25kg or 0.5kg but due to their specific growing needs they are time consuming and therefore comparatively expensive to harvest, this is done by hand picking, added to this, we have found that by transferring them to an "artificial" bedding such as moss peat as is traditionally the way, the shelf life is very short, to overcome this, we use a fine sifted material that they thrive in therefore to keep them long term they must be kept in this same material, hopefully, before too long we will have a Worm Keeper available for Redworms. If you do decide to give it a go then a larger container will be needed, into this you will need to add some old horse manure (do not use fresh), they must be kept damp at all times, kept at room temperature and the bedding replaced on a regular basis having removed any dead worms found on the surface, you may have some luck!

We appreciate that many customers will have their own successful, tried and tested ways of keeping various worms, we would always say "if it works for you - don't change"