Fired Up: 4 Ways to Ignite a Red Wiggler Breeding Frenzy

fired-up-4-ways-to-ignite-a-red-wiggler-breeding-frenzy

Imagine your worm population exploding exponentially.

A rapidly growing worm population is a beautiful thing! Dancing happily, the worms multiply over and over again.

The worm bin is going wild. It’s one heck-of-a party in there! Every time you take a peek inside, you see more and more baby worms wiggling around. Every time you take a peek inside, you become more and more excited. It may sound crazy, but this vision can easily become a reality in your worm bin. It is easy to do.

With the 4 easy tips in this post, your worm population is sure to skyrocket!

Whether you need a few handfuls of worms for your upcoming fishing trip, or you want to split your colony into multiple worm bins to increase your composting capacity, this article will help get you there. First we will teach you about red wigglers’ favorite sensual aphrodisiacs and provocative bedding materials. Read on to learn about the “forgotten secret” to switching on your worms’ sex drive en masse.

Here are the surefire tips to help your worm population erupt in an amazing breeding frenzy!

How Fast Can Red Worms Reproduce?

It is easy to cultivate a massive worm population in a very short time period. An adult red wiggler worm can produce 2 to 3 cocoons every week, and each cocoon can hatch up to 20 baby worms! Now multiply this by the number of mature worms in your worm bin…that’s a lot of worms in a little time.

One worm farmer buddy of mine calculated that, over the course of three months, a worm colony could see a 28-fold increase in population! Now, it is important to bear in mind that most worm bins will not see this kind of reproduction. The conditions in your bin would have to be almost perfect to achieve numbers like these.

Long story short, red wiggler worms can reproduce very quickly. Simply follow our tips below!

Aphrodisiacs Red Wigglers Crave

Want to encourage more worm sex? Try adding some of these sensual aphrodisiacs to your worm bin. Worms are attracted to the sweet flavors of these foods, and their soft, fleshy consistencies allow the worms to really dig in. Like they say, “If you build it they will come.” – No pun intended.

You will see loads and loads of your worms gathering all over these foods. And when lots of worms gather together in a small space, nature takes over and things can get a little freaky!

  • Watermelon rinds and remnants can create some serious lust, but be sure to balance out the high moisture content of this fruit by adding some dry bedding material at the same time as you feed them the melon.
  • Pumpkin is a good aphrodisiac you might just have around towards the end of the growing season. Leave the pumpkin out for a bit to soften before adding it to your bin so, like I said above, your worms can really dig into the flesh of the fruit in high numbers.
  • Mango skins are one of those foods that seem to bring out worms from every corner of the bin.
  • Avocado peels tend to have a similar effect.
  • Old, mushy bananas. Need I say more?
  • Cantaloupe rinds and scraps are great for the same reasons as the watermelon mentioned above. As with the watermelon, you should make sure to balance out this fruit’s high moisture content by throwing it in your bin with some extra bedding material.
  • This last one might surprise you… Corn cobs! I’ve noticed that my worms love to congregate on the fleshy corn scraps leftover around the outside of the cob. The many little nooks and crannies in the corn allow lots of worms access to the feast, as well as to the debauchery that is sure to follow.

To rev things up even more, you can opt to give your worms a smoothie instead of a solid meal. You will be surprised at the difference blending your food can make! Toss those aphrodisiac foods you just learned about in your blender. This will maximize the surface area of the food, giving more worms access to the party. More worms in an area means more reproduction!

You may be surprised at the difference blending your food can make.

Ground up corn cobs, for example, are the number one favored delicacy in my worm bin at home. However, whole corn cobs tend to sit for a very long time after the soft tissues have been eaten by my worms. Simply running the corn cobs through a blender allows you to turn a hard-to-digest snack into a decadent delicacy for your red wiggler buddies.

Bedding Isn’t Just for Sleeping

The food your feed to your worms is not the only important factor at play here. Much like with us humans, red wigglers reproductive decisions can be affected by the bedding material they have available.

Unlike humans, however, worms like to do it in paper. Yup, you read that right! Worms’ number one favorite bedding material for reproducing is paper. Well, paper and cardboard to be more precise.

The reason for this is up for debate. Some people say that carbon-rich foods stimulate cocoon production. Others say that paper and cardboard pieces simply provide a rough surface that helps the worms to “rub off” cocoons that are ready to be released.

I say, “Does it even matter? More cardboard, more paper, more worms!

You can also add a moistened burlap “sheet” on top of the bedding. Burlap appears to have the same effect on red wigglers’ reproductive habits as paper and cardboard (probably for the same reasons). My worms seem to flock to this stuff when it comes time to multiply.

Whether it is the carbon content of the burlap or its physical structure, you will find a plethora of worm cocoons hiding away inside. Think of it like the maternity ward of your worm bin!

While your compost bin is a fantastic 5-star hotel…when living in the wild, the red wiggler worm lives a life of constant peril. As you can imagine, in the wild, environmental conditions are rapidly changing. In the summer, the ground could dry up at any time. In the winter, the ground may be frozen at nighttime and thaw during the day.

Like any living animal, red wigglers possess an internal drive to reproduce and carry forth their species. Therefore, they are very sensitive to the environment around them.

Their reproductive behavior is strongly influenced by environmental cues.

The “Forgotten Secret”

This brings us to the “forgotten secret” of worm production: Population Density.

  • When there are too many worms in a particular space, red wigglers tend to slow down their breeding so that their home does not become overcrowded. This help them to avoid depleting the available food supply.
  • If there are too few worms in an area, the mature breeders will have difficulty locating each other, and reproduction will be hampered.
  • If your worms detect that they have plenty of space and food available to grow their population, they will reproduce as much as possible!

Our experts suggest a half pound of worms for every square foot of surface area in your worm bin. A bin that is two feet long by one foot wide would have a surface area of 2 x 1 = 2 square feet. One pound of worms would be the perfect amount of worms to stock in this bin if you are trying to promote as much erotic activity as possible.

You will never know for sure how many worms are in your worm bin, but if you notice that the herd has significantly increased in size, you can go ahead and split your population into two bins and do it all over again.

Maintain A Hypnotic Lair for Lust & Debauchery

The most important factor of all is the environment your red wigglers have surrounding them. Aphrodisiacs, bedding materials, population density…none of this matters if the environment isn’t right. As you read earlier in this post, worms’ reproductive behaviors are very strongly influenced by cues from the environment around them. When they sense their environment is becoming more hazardous, they will rev up their reproductive engines and focus much of their energy on producing cocoons.

Worm cocoons have the ability to survive in conditions that would kill off the rest of their colony. By focusing their efforts on cocoon production when death may be near, the worms ensure that the colony will carry on into the next generation even if none of your living worms are able to make it through the dangerous conditions.

You are able to harness this natural instinct by allowing your bin to become “slightly” dangerous for a short time. That means you can let it dry out a bit more than you normally would, or you could temporarily move the bin to a less insulated location. Your worms will sense the change in their environment and things will begin to steam up immediately.

Once you see the surge in worm cocoons you have been waiting for, you now need to focus on creating an environment that will promote the hatching of your new cocoons and the success of your new baby worms. This means you just need to maintain the bin like you normally would when you aren’t trying to stimulate the reproduction of your red wigglers.

To do this, you will create an environment that is no longer “slightly” dangerous so that your rapidly growing worm population can prosper. If done right, you will soon find yourself with loads of teeny, tiny red wiggler hatchlings squiggling around in your worm bin!

  • The temperature inside the bin should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Check out this blog post to learn the specifics about controlling the temperature in your worm bin.
  • The bedding in a properly maintained worm bin should have a pH (acidity) reading between 6.0 and 7.0. You can use ground up egg shells to correct acidity issues and neutralize the pH in your worm bin. Click here to learn more about pH in your worm bin.
  • Moisture levels are very important in your worm bin. Too much moisture will impede the flow of oxygen into your worm bin, but too little moisture will cause your worms to dry out! Keep your worm friends’ bed moist like a damp sponge – damp but not dripping. This helpful post will teach you about maintaining proper moisture levels in your worm composting bin.

Regardless of your reason, growing your red wiggler worm population is simple, now that you know how to get the party started. Preparing to double your worm population (or more) is as simple as completing the actions mentioned. Introducing sensual aphrodisiacs such as watermelon, pumpkin, and corn cobs is a great way to start. Breaking it down into smoothie consistency is an added time bonus. As you learned above, choice of bedding is just as important as food. Once you’ve gotten that covered, you will simply enhance their environment to put the finishing touches on their hypnotic lair of lust and debauchery.

You are now primed and ready to spark a red wiggler breeding frenzy in a short period of time. Grab your blender and some soft, sweet, and fleshy party treats for your red wiggler buddies. Break out the nice sheets and set the mood. The maternity ward will be full in no time. Happy breeding!

Article by Bob Kenney

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. Wow, I had no idea I was making my worms horny. I was just feeding them the scraps I have available and using free newspaper that I run through my shredder! I have to say, the above advice works very well even if you didn’t know you were doing it.

    Reply
    • Way to work it!
      We appreciate your comment. The Squirm Firm loves to hear how successful worm farmers are making the most of what they learn here.
      Have your worms reproduced to the point that they are ready to populate a new bin? Starting a new bin with a handful of worms and finished compost is a great way to reignite that breeding frenzy!

      Reply

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