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!

Readers Comments (62)

  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.

    • 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!

      • When you begin a new bin how many worms and what size do you reccomend?

        • “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”

        • Hi Robin, when just starting out I like to make success as likely as possible. I recommend a tray type composter like the Worm Factory 360 and a single pound of red wigglers. That’s going to be enough for a family of 5 and also perfect for a single person. The worms will grow according to the amount of food and space they have. We have all you need right here if you’d like it shipped: . Have fun getting started. We’re here with answers anytime!

        • Add 400 worms to start, full send.

        • Bruce Proffit Sr. December 29, 2021 @ 8:05 pm

          Add enough Worms so you can see that they’re having a party. That should get you started

        • 2 worms and a fishbowled size bin, feed tem 2 mango peels a day and take them out on walks with a leash. they need their exersce

  2. Been raising red wigglers for castings for roughly 5 yrs. I get all the old produce from a grocery I deliver to. I put it in a food processor & then put them in ice cube trays. Give my babies frozen smoothies a few times a week. Now I know why the sweets are their favorite!

    • Hey, Mike! I love that you have found a really sustainable way to source food for your worms! And I’ll bet the grocery store appreciates not having all that rotting waste to deal with! Way to go!

  3. im doing this for a school project i think this will really help mee in making a worm farm

  4. Thanks soo much for this text who make me happy reading for the process of mating worms thanks 🙏

  5. I have just started 3months ago. Your advice had set my beds on fire. I thought I would have to keep buying to build up my worms. I have new babies every day.

    I am so fired up with my new venture

    Thank you.

    • Louise- It’s great to hear of another new worm farmer’s success! Thank you for sharing! Keep up the great work, you have so much fun to look forward to! We’re happy to support your worm composting hobby with any answers or access to supplies you need. Cheers!

      • I just started my 10 gallon bin with 280 reds . The worms arrived two weeks ago and are settled in. They love banana peels blended and they love thinly sliced down avocado. I blend everything so that my reds can get through it and it excites them into a group orgy. Looking orward to a profitable venture here in central florida soon.


    • Congratulations on a thriving worm farming business! If your worms aren’t producing large amounts of cocoons, I would guess that they have reached their maximum population density and are just maintaining their numbers rather than trying to grow. If I understand correctly, the 8 cm legs are in each corner between trays? I think that could work as long as the trays are still basically set into each other. Keep up the great worm composting work!

    • Your main problem is reproducing them, yet you’ve been on TV and in-business for over a decade?

      Was hoping to “try” breeding these guys myself, as I love what they do to the substrates of my bonsai-trees, however they seem to love that as – in my 4th year doing bonsai seriously – as I did my annual re-pots this year about 7 or 8 of every 10 pots was just *loaded* with these guys!! At first I was saving them, to start a worm-farm, til I got through more re-pots and found virtually every container was already a worm-farm!
      I setup my first real compost-bin earlier this year, can’t wait to see what a collection I’ve got in there when the time comes 😀

  7. Hey guys! Just got started vermicomposting. I started with shredded paper and cardboard but I had house plants that died and I added the soil in those pots to my worm bin. The soil I added is heavily ammended with many organic nutrients such as bone meal, bat guano, rock dust, and much more. Trying to make tilless super soil. Anyway. Is this soil and it’s added amendments ok for the worms? I was hypothesizing it could serve as extra food or as toxin. Wanted to get another oppinion. Also It’s hard to tell now what is soil and what is castings. I have a large bin and the worms have only been in it for 2 months now but there is a lot of substrate so I don’t believe it has become toxic due to casting overload. But I am wondering when I should harvest… I’m assuming since I started with “super soil” and shredded paper, that I could harvest at any time and the longer I wait the greater the ratio of castings. I just don’t want to get to the point where it’s toxic obviously. I have been storing the bin once a week or so to distribute moisture and keep soil loose, mixed, and from clumping. Any tips or advice would be apreciated. Has anyone heard of incorporating super soil into your worm bin? Toxic or healthy for worms? Will results be super super soil? Thanks

    • Hi Eric- It sounds like the soil you used for your plants should be just fine for your compost worms. They are natures very best when it comes to reprocessing and improving soil quality. I would neither consider it food nor toxin, but just a bit more variety in the bedding. That’s great! You should consider harvesting once most of the substrate is no longer recognizable and everything looks pretty consistently like “dirt.” For you, with a new system getting going, I’d say hold off on harvesting another month or so. And yes, what you end up with will be super super soil- of a different sort, but super just the same.

      • Super Soil indeed! God’s “miracle grow” I started with a pound of red wigglers and had an active worm farm for more than a decade. I used to teach school districts, civic groups etc how to design, create and use a vermicast system in their’ schools. I also sold vermicast at farmer’s markets and craft shows. I had/have a small fully functional worm farm that can be take along to show the living process in action.

  8. You’re a great writer! You had me really laughing a handful of times, or more! Thank you for this content! May I reference this on my VermiBag Episodes on my YouTube channel? I will be sure to share the link to this article(or any other pertinent ones) in the description box.

    • Thanks for the compliment! Feel free to reference articles or pages from The Squirm Firm along with appropriate references.

  9. I just started worm farming about a month ago. I am too excited in that I check it twice a day to see what they are doing. (lol) They have lots of bananas. I may be adding too much food at once, but I am learning. I also use a frozen plastic water bottle in a plastic bag set inside to keep cool on hot summer days then remove it and refreeze for the next day. Seems to work. What do the egg casings look like, can they be seen easily?

    • Hi Cathy. I was a frequent checker too when I first began! It sounds like you are really on top of things. You are a good worm mama. The egg cocoons are about the length of a grain of rice. They start out yellow and turn into an amber brownish color. They are lemon-shaped with the smallest hole at one tip for the babies to crawl out through. The little cocoons aren’t super obvious unless you are looking really closely and have some freshly laid yellow ones. Have fun egg hunting!

  10. Hi! I lost my granny, whom I loved like a mother,at a very young age & something today brought a precious memory rushing back of she & I digging up worms from her little bed for fishing. Being that I was SO very young when she passed we didn’t have the chance to make many memories together. I’ve never done ANYTHING like this & am completely clueless about getting this started but it is so important to me to rebuild with her (even if only in spirit) the worm farm she so enjoyed with me. I believe that I have most stuff listed for the bedding as far as cardboard, paper, etc. BUT, what topsoil is best used if any? And also in reference to the bin itself, I am kinda trying to use things that I already have around the house, just normal things everyone has around, but not sure I know what I can/cannot or should/shouldn’t use. IE: Plastic containers? Does it have to be metal? Can it be an area in the ground in my yard? Etc. etc. I am SO sorry for all the questions. But as soon as I read this publishing I just knew that I was at the right place to find the answers I need. Thank you for your patience in advance.

    • Hello Gina. First of all, I’m glad to hear that you are rebuilding something that will keep a special memory alive and hopefully build new ones as well. As you get started, the soil you add from outside can be just about any garden soil that you can expect to be pesticide-free. Living bacteria in that soil will be all you need. As for a bin, plastic is great because it is non-corrosive, non-porous, and is durable yet lightweight. You can also dig an underground pit to be used as a worm bed if you like- and depending on the climate where you live. Have fun!

    • I’m new too and have the same beginner questions. Loved article. So much info from it and all the great comments.

  11. I don’t use a lot of eggs, but I do live near the beach and can often collect the hard white remains of Cuttlefish that wash up. Are these the same when ground up?
    I think they are high in calcium

    • Hi Leanne. I am no expert in bones, shells, or cuttlefish but would assume that cuttlefish remains could introduce unfamiliar pathogens to the worm bin. Plus, since it is an animal product, more like bones, I would advise against it. Glad you are trying to be resourceful though!

    • Hi Leanne. I am no expert in bones, shells, or cuttlefish but would assume that cuttlefish remains could introduce unfamiliar pathogens to the worm bin. Plus, since it is an animal product, more like bones, I would advise against it. Glad you are trying to be resourceful though!

      • Hi,
        the white, hard cuttlefish reains are called cuttlefish bone or cuttlebone.
        Often used as calcium source for pet snails or birds.
        They consist mainly of aragonite which is form of CaCO3. Chemically more or less same stuff as eggshells, mussels and … blackboard chalk.
        All perfectly suitable.

        No need to worry about pathogens. Even if they are any they would be completely safe for worms. Speaking simply – these pathogens never seen a worm and wouldn’t have a clue how to infect it 😄

  12. We have a worm farm which has been in place for approximately 2 months. Recently I noticed foam on the surface. Should I be concerned? Of late daily temperatures have been high, the farm is under some shrubbery however it may still have exceeded optimal temp?

    • Foam is not something you see much of in worm composting. The closest I’ve come to that is mold or maybe the gas of fermenting moisture in the bin. How are your worms? If you can find the source of the foam, it would be good to remove that. Then, I suggest mixing in a whole bunch of clean, moist, shredded newspaper and letting your bedding get some fresh air. Do you have a pH meter? That would be a great way to see more clearly if a chemical reaction is creating dangerous conditions for your worm herd. I hope you discover the answer to this interesting mystery soon!

  13. I sent this query to the “main office” address but never got any reply. Maybe this is a better venue for my question:

    Today I ordered a pH meter from your store and look forward to using it to confirm the fairly low pH in my bins I’ve measured with my old Kel meter. If I am correct that the pH is low, I’m considering raising it relatively quickly by using food-grade powdered calcium carbonate powder.

    I’ve been adding a small amount of crushed oyster shells in my worm-food recipe, but that’s a slow fix for low pH, at least based on what my grindings look like, not lumps but not powdery either. I would, I think, dilute the powder in water, say, one teaspoon per pint or so of water and hand spray the bedding, perhaps not directly on the worms. What would you advise?

    • “Hi B.Y., thank you for your question. I’m sorry you didn’t get a reply from our main office. Lots of inquiries usually come in and it takes a while before they’re all responded to. I assure you it wasn’t intentional. But, thank you for taking the initiative to reach out over here. I think I may be of help. Low pH is a common snag we run into while trying to maintain neutral bedding for our worms. While adding crushed eggshells is great, and oyster shells as well, there may be a faster way. Depending on the volume of bedding you are managing, it may be possible to simply incorporate fresh, moist, neutral pH bedding- enough so that the overall balance shifts toward neutral. Continue to add eggshells with feedings and be careful not to overfeed. You’ve got this!

  14. THE BEST, wittiest, funniest and very informative article I have ever read on worms!
    Laughed heartily and took heart to start my own little wriggly community.
    Thank you!

    • I recently purchased the Worm Factory 360 and half a pound of red wigglers. I am eager to grow their population and I am feeding all of these aphrodisiacs (blended/frozen, and then thawing it before placing in bin).

      I am starting out with 1 cup of food every 5 days, but I hope to increase the amount as they settle in. How much and how often can I feed a population this size without spoiling the bin?

      • Half a pound of red wigglers can be expected on average to consume half their weight each day. A quarter-pound of food each day, times 7, equals just under 2 pounds of food per week. Within a few months, your population will have doubled and your food needs also will increase. Add food any time you see hardly any food scraps remain. You are right on track! If things get too wet, slow down on feeding, if it gets too dry, but they still have food- just moisten the bedding. Keep up the great work!

  15. Best written Red Wiggler information I have seen yet! Comprehensive and to the point…and more than entertaining… your style! Thank You.

  16. I’m very pleased to have found your very informative site
    Many thanks

  17. Fantastic article on how to get the worms “in the mood”

    WormGasmic” Baby! (if “Austin Powers” where to describe it)

  18. Just got mine going. Using peat, fall oak leaves, shredded cardboard, crushed eggshells, and handful of compost…so far so good. Using a flow-thru system I built from 2x4s and hardware cloth. (3 tiers) I added 250 red wigglers and they appear to be alive and well. There already appears to be some castings in the bedding mix! wooT

  19. thanks for the facts and knowledge about worm breeding lehahahahahah

  20. I have had my worm farm for 7 months, and the worms have successfully composted the final tier of 4. They are such good little workers! I’m guessing I have a lot of worms by now!! My question is, before O empty out the black gold from the lower 3 bins , and start over with the worms in bottom tray, should I separate some out into a new bin system/ could they feel crowded at this point? If yes, how does one separate worms?
    Many thanks! Dale

  21. Hi, I started my worm farm about a week ago with 1000 worms box (most of the worms are dead). I put them into a 3 stacks of 54L handy crates. Using the top two as the bedding. I put compost as the base and put the paper on the top (there are colored ink on the paper but they not those glossy paper) – Have I done it right and is there any advise to get my worm to start bigger family?

  22. Graeme Frost May 3, 2021 @ 4:19 am

    Hi I seem to have fallen off your mailing list,I will send my details again, so will hopefully catch up on your interesting newsletter again ,

    • We are not able to release a newsletter since December 2020. But don’t worry! If you received the newsletter that we released on November 10, 2020, you can be assured that your subscription is still active.

  23. I have a red wiggler worm bin started in a plastic bin about one month ago. I am suprized how easy it has been to main good temperature and good moisture. I started out with torn up cardboard and newpaper as bedding. I have since added coconut coir as bedding. My worms are getting plump and energetic. I have two questions. Are the worms actually asexual? Also, is the coconut coir a good ingredient to add to a worm bin. Thanks so much.

    • We’re glad to know that your vermicomposting is well underway!

      Worms actually have both the male and female reproductive organs. But, they need to pair with another worm to be able to reproduce.

      On another note, coconut coir is an ideal bedding for worm bins. It has excellent moisture retention and fluff, making it the perfect consistency. Coconut coir has a neutral pH, which is ideal for a worm bin, since worms do not like acidic conditions.

  24. Hi! I’ve had my worm hotel for.6 months. I am not sure if they are reproducing. They seem to keep going to the bottom.part of the composter where the worm ladder is and the spigot is to mate. But there is no food or water down there so I move them up to the bins with the food. I try to be a good worm mama by feeding apples bananas, coffee grounds, avocado skins, egg shells. Plenty of shredded paper. It is very dry in AZ, even inside. I use a spray bottle every day to keep it moist. Anything I should change?

  25. Since you make these ingredients like a smoothie can’t I just use a can of 100% pumpkin?

    • Hi Cathy,

      In general, processed foods are not recommended to be fed to the worms. That is because they could contain additives and preservatives that may harm the worms. Anything that enhances the taste of your food or makes the shelf life longer isn’t good for the worms. Fresh fruit and vegetable scraps are still the best way to go.

  26. Hey my bin is 5 days old and my worms seem to be dieing don’t know what to do

    • if your worms keep dieing you need to feed them steak a big juicy peivce of steak.And lot of water, make sure to fill the bin with 2 inched of water

    • Hi George,
      I am sorry to hear that your worms are dying. I will advise you to check the following: Moisture level, temp, proper aeration and PH. Moisture should be such that when you take the bedding and sqeeze, drop 2 or 3 of water. PH should be neutral (7) . Soil should be fluffy and moist so that worms can burrow and makes hole for Aeration. Keep the lid open with light shooting down. this will help in aeration. Dont put too much of food,


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