How to start a worm bin with nightcrawlers

by L
(United States)

Big nightcrawlers on lawn

Big nightcrawlers on lawn

Hi! Okay,
so I decided to start a compost bin with the fruit and veggie scraps and skins and older fruits like bananas and melons that had set out too long at home. I realized I could use worms to help actually turn it into the soil I wanted to use the compost on so I went out and about a little tub of earthworms and a tub of Nightcrawlers (about 15 each) in the fishing supply section of Walmart.

I put a little dirt in the fruit and veggie bin (a medium sized Rubbermaid type bin) and mushed it together using the juices from the scraps to moisten the dirt. I poked a bunch of holes in the top and put the lid on. I started reading about what different ways people actually do this composting and I am worried that my worms are not only the "wrong type" but that
I may also lose my little guys if they aren't in the right environment (I read Nightcrawlers will not survive without being able to tunnel in only dirt/soil)

I just put it all together three days ago and added the worms last night (Friday night) please give me some info on if they will be ok and steps to take now to ensure the safety and productivity of my new venture. I truly appreciate your time and help.


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Apr 27, 2017
Starting a worm farm with nightcrawlers
by: Stephan

Hello L.

Nightcrawlers are actually a very good worm species to use in worm bins. They are not the best which are in fact Red wrigglers (Eisenia fetida) worms but nightcrawlers once established are very good worms for composting organic materials.

I hope you worms are still fine, but I know that nightcrawlers can be tricky in the first week or so once established in a new bin. If they don't feel very happy they might often successfully attempt to crawl out of their bin during the night. To prevent them from doing so it is advisable to keep them under a constant light source because they fear it and will stay in the bin.

But it is important that their bedding will be pH neutral and under no circumstances be acidic which could endanger them. So I am little concerned with the type of bedding you chose. Fruit juices can be to sour for worms and could force them to crawl out of the bedding to avoid being burnt to death.

Replace the bedding you got with a mix of moist shredded or torn corrugated cardboard and old newspaper pieces which will act as both bedding and food in the beginning.

It is not true that nightcrawlers will need soil to dig tunnels to survive they will however need enough bedding to be able to hide from sunlight and from potentially dangerous predators.

I suggest you have a look at the articles in the beginners section of and read the FAQ pages as well. This should give you enough information to successfully recycle your organic waste with the help of your worms.

If you have further questions please feel free to contact me.

Kind regards and blessings to you and your family.

Stephan Kloppert

Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of

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