3 Ways to speed up compost worm breeding

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Do you want to start a worm farm and need to speed up how fast your compost worms are breeding? This is the post for you! Get ready to turn on the Barry White and light some candles, these tips will encourage your worms to reproduce.

Without further ado, let’s turn your apartment compost bin into a home.

How do worms reproduce?

First, let’s discuss how red worms reproduce. They slither up next to one another, exchange some key fluids, and produce an egg-like cocoon.

On average, it takes 3 to 6 weeks for the cacoon to mature and for the worms to hatch. A single cocoon can birth up to 6 worms. Those six worms will reach maturity in another 60 days.

Speed up New light red wiggler egg breeding
New, light worm egg
speed mature red wiggler compost worm egg breeding
Mature, ready to hatch, dark worm egg

So- now that you know how worms reproduce and a little bit about a timeline you can expect. Let’s talk about some factors that can improve your results.

Foods worms prefer

First, worms like certain kinds of food, and many breeders have found success feeding their worms bananas. To prep the banana they mash up the banana in the peel. This method works best with overripe, black bananas.

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After you’ve mashed the bananas in its own skin. Cut a slit along the long way down the banana. Dig a small trench for the banana in your worm bin. Place a handful of dry bedding in the trench and place the cut open liquified banana. cover with more dry bedding.

I want to say it clearly here: DO NOT ADD A BUNCH OF YOUR BANANS TO YOUR BIN ALL AT ONCE. If you at a bunch of bananas you will attract a lot of bugs you do not want in your worm bin.

Instead, monitor the banana as it decomposes. Your worms will easily slurp up the mushy sweet interior. The skin of the banana makes a convenient home for hundreds or thousands of worms.

The banana peel shelter gives them plenty of opportunities to slither up to a worm they like, and produce a cocoon. Next time you have an overripe banana, smush it up and add it to your bin to speed up your worm breeding.

Temperature Worms Prefer

For many people around the world, the temperature shifts between a wide variety of temperatures. There are home vermicomposters in Alaska, worm farmers in India, and vermicompost tea makers in Argentina.

Eisenia fetida can tolerate temperatures anywhere from 0-95 °F but they prefer 75°F. In the summer you may need to find a cooler location like a basement. In the winter you may need to bring the worms into a warmer location. By maintaining a consistent temperature of around 75°F, worms want to pool together.

Maintaining a consistent 75 degrees means that they are likely to mate more often and that the worms will hatch as quickly as possible. You will quickly speed up your worm breeding as cocoons release those 6 worms faster than ever. The optimum temperature will also make those babies more than ever and produce their own eggs.

Bedding Worms Like

The final way to speed up worm breeding is through maintenance bedding and housing. First, you want to make sure your bedding is moist, but not wet. The consistency that compost worms prefer is that of a well-wrung-out sponge. As food decomposes you must add dry bedding to absorb any liquids.

The second tip is to use avocado shells to create little homes in your worm bin. After you cut your avocado in half, and scoop out the contents for your guacamole, save the shell. I like to dig half an inch in the bin and place the shell on top. On average I put 3 or 4 shells in my small bins at a time. When I open the bin it looks like a little turtle village.

red wigglers composting worms
Worms pile from under Avacado shell

Within a week you will notice worms starting to gather under the shells. The avocado shell keeps the space underneath humid and moist. As you’ve guessed from earlier points in this post – when worms pool together, they will produce more cocoons.

Speed Up Worm Breeding Summary

Now that you know how to speed up worm breeding for your worm farm, you will compost more and produce nutrient-rich castings faster than ever. Take your time introducing each change to your bin. Too many changes all at once could have the opposite effect. See how your worms react over a week or two and then try another change.

A slow and steady approach is more sustainable and will lead to better results in the long run.

What strategies have you used to improve your worm population?

Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

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