Original post made by Lori Profitt(Catch Release) on April 23, 2003 Raising worms for bait Its easy to raise red wigglers or domesticated night crawlers for fishing. Redwigglers are amazingly easy to breed. Domesticated earthworms are pit or bin bred worms, specially fed and watered and cared for to increase their natural rate of reproduction and size. They are larger then the ones you find in your yard. To raise worms first you will need a bed for them to grow and breed in. Here are a few suggestions. 1. A windrow, which is a row of bedding material 12 to 18 inches high and about 2 feet wide ,lying directly on the ground with no sides or end walls. Earthworm growers use this method. 2.Concrete block, this method is more permanent structures. Stand the blocks on end to make rectangular beds. Use gravel in the bottom for better drainage. 3.Wooden row beds. Use untreated lumber. Do not use treated lumbers, the chemicals are lethal to worms. it should be at 16 inches high .Drill aeration holes 4. Free standing above ground beds. These are large boxes on legs to keep them off the ground. Seal all joints to keep your worms from crawling off. Should be at least 16 inches high. 5.Store bought kits. You can buy Styrofoam boxes and worm bedding. Just wet the bedding and add worms. You can even buy worm chow(worm food). You can use a lot of other things can be used like half barrels of wood or plastic, Rubbermaid tubs, old bathtubs, old refrigerators which I dont suggest unless the door can be removed first. Most important thing to remember is good drainage and ventilation. A few facts about worms to better understand them. Worms are animals They are nocturnal Direct exposure to sunlight can be fatal. Three minutes in direct sunlight can kill them. Worms have a brain and are sensitive to taste, touch, light and vibration. They are bisexual. Having both male and female reproductive organs. Each worm produces egg capsules and is fertilized by contact with another worm. Healthy worms can produce an egg capsule every 7 to 10 days which incubate in 14 to 21 days, each hatching 2 to 20 young worms. It is necessary to provide a damp bedding for the worms to live in, and to bury food waste in. Suitable bedding materials are shredded newspaper and cardboard, shredded fall leaves, chopped up straw and other dead plants, seaweed, sawdust, compost and aged manure. Try to vary the bedding in the bin as much as possible, to provide more nutrients for the worms, and to create a richer compost. Add a couple of handfuls of sand or soil to provide necessary grit for the worm's digestion of food. It is very important to moisten the dry bedding materials before putting them in the bin, so that the overall moisture level is like a wrung-out sponge. The bin should be about three-quarters full of moistened bedding. Lift the bedding gently to create air spaces which help to control odors, and give freer movement to the worms. Now set your worms on the top and watch them wiggle downward, away from the light If you feel adventurous, find a horse stable or farmer with a manure pile and collect a bagful of manure with worms. Check your own or a friend's compost bin for worms. Avoid Canadian Night crawlers they cant be raised successfully and they wont reproduce. They must be kept cold to survive. What to feed your worms. You can compost food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, pulverized egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds. It is advisable not to compost meats, dairy products, oily foods, and grains because of problems with smells, flies, and rodents. No glass. plastic or tin foil, please. You can also purchase worn chow(worm food). Its best to lightly add food to your bin for the first couple of weeks. To avoid fly and smell problems, always bury the food waste by pulling aside some of the bedding, dumping the waste, and then cover it up with the bedding again. Bury successive loads in different locations in the bin. Once you have your worms thriving in your bin you will have to clean it . Remove the castings. (worm waste) If not removed the worms will not live, just like any living thing. Add the castings to your garden or plants . They will love it. A good way to do this is called divide and sort. When the bedding in the bin is so shallow that it isnt deep enough to bury food scraps. Its a good time to add more bedding. First you move all old bedding over to one side of the bin. Fill the other side with fresh moistened bedding. Bury the food scraps only in the fresh bedding. Eventually, most of the worms will move from the old bedding in to the new bedding. Harvest the castings and clean up the first side. Fill the bin will all clean bedding. This should be done at least every 3 months or so. Your bin should smell good. Now and than it helps to check for and remove excess moisture that may collect in the bottom of your bin. Stink in a worm bin is a sign of lack of oxygen or too much nitrogen rich material in one place. Youll want to mix in more dry bedding to balance the situation. When your ready to go fishing , place some of the worm and bedding in a container with some bedding. Leaving some of the worms in the bin. Dont take any with capsules on them, those are the ones that are ready to reproduce. Good luck.