How do red worms reproduce?

Knowing how red worms reproduce can help you increase the population of your worm bin. The more worms in your container, the more waste gets consumed and turned into nutrient-rich castings.

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Benefits of Worms

Why Worms Are Great

Worms are amazing creatures. They have been on this planet for 250 million years, and we still don’t know everything about them. There are more than 3,000 species of worms around the globe. They live in soil, under the ground, and even in water. In their natural habitat, worms help cycle nutrients by breaking down dead leaves and plants underground.

 

We need worms to break down waste material so that it can be used again by other organisms in the soil ecosystem. Unfortunately, many artificial factors have caused a decline in the worm population over time. Let’s look at how red worms reproduce and how you can help these fantastic little creatures thrive once more.

Worm Basics

How do red worms reproduce?

One of the most common questions I get from children and adults is, "how do worms reproduce?" Excitingly, that allows me to talk about one of the most incredible things about red worms - how they reproduce. Generally speaking, one worm will line up with another worm.

 

Both worms secrete a mucus called albumin so one can provide the other and the sperm. The mucus becomes a cocoon as each worm wriggles away from the exchange. We talk a little more about the cocoons down below.

And that's how a worm can reproduce and make baby worms.

Compost Worm Lifespan

How long do composting worms live?

According to Uncle Jim's Worm Farm, the lifespan of a common redworm is 4-5 years.

 

This lifespan estimate is likely under ideal conditions. I could not find any research that could provide age approximations of 'wild worms.' Please place a link in the comments below if you know about this research.

 

Many people worry that since their worms reproduce so often, their tiny apartment bin will become overrun with worms. There is no reason to worry. A small container can house many worms, but they will self-regulate their population.

 

If they run out of space, they will reproduce less often unless conditions change.

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Worms Lay Eggs

How baby worms are made

Redworms create a cocoon after mating. This cocoon often takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks to mature. In good conditions, you can expect cocoons to hatch every three weeks. It is common for six worms to hatch from a single cocoon! How cool is that!

 

Baby worms are often white and only half an inch long. Your worm will turn red within hours or days and start on its road to maturity. It takes 60 days for your worm to reach maturity, and it can reproduce every 60 days from that point forward.

New light red wiggler egg
mature red wiggler compost worm egg

Join the discussion

Share a fact

Be sure to leave a comment below with your best composting worm facts. Do you have more information to answer "how do worms reproduce?"

I'm always looking for new research, tips, or tricks to improve my vermicomposting.

Happy composting!

R. Redworm