Live Fishing Worms
Few things are more enjoyable than catching a big fish, and few things are better for catching a variety of big fish than live fishing worms. If you are someone that goes fishing often like myself, then you probably know that this highly common live bait can get expensive after several trips. Even if you don't mind the price of fishing bait worms, you may have experienced the gut wrenching feeling of dread that comes over you when you realize that you are nearly out of live fishing worms while you are out in the middle of nowhere on your fishing trip. These two key annoyances led me to a spontaneous and some what eccentric decision. I decided to make a worm farm for raising fishing worms. I got my fishing worm farm started today and hopefully within a few months I will have a growing army of fishing bait and will never have to buy worms or worry about running out again.
Benefits of Worm Castings
My real purpose in creating my worm farm is for a cost free constant supply of live fishing worms. The more common reason for worm farms is the because of the benefits of worm castings. If you look online you will see article after article about the benefits of worm castings in compost for gardens, along with article after article about how to create worm farms for this purpose. I however don't have a garden, and my worm farm is strictly for the purpose of live fishing worms. So if you are someone that is interested in creating a worm farm strictly for live fishing worms you may find my article more useful than someone who is seeking the benefits of worm castings. Of course that isn't to say my method couldn't be used to both purposes.
My Fishing Worm Farm
I read several articles online and they all made different recommendations on nearly every aspect of creating a worm farm. So using what similarities were common and my own best judgment I pieced together a rather simple and crudely designed fishing worm farm for less than twenty dollars. This is the first fishing worm farm I have ever made, and I'm very interested in seeing how it will turn out. If you are reading this and are considering using my method I'm sure you are too, and that is why I will make update posts periodically in the comments section about how my worms are doing, if I make any changes etc.
Plastic Storage Containers
The first thing I bought was a large Plastic storage container. I intended this large box to do nothing but hold the worm farm inside of it, so I made sure that it wasn't clear because worms prefer the dark.
I also drilled some very small holes all over the lid so that air could get in to the worm farm.
I then bough two smaller plastic containers. The two I bought were clear, but I suppose it doesn't matter as long as the bigger box you are putting them in isn't clear. Remember, worms like the dark.
I drilled holes throughout the top of one of these lids so the worms could get air as well.
Filling the Bottom Container
I explain the purpose of having two matching containers shortly. Don't put your drill away just yet.
Before we get to that however, lets fill the first of the two matching boxes.
I am no expert on worms, but my thought was that maybe some things in nature provide nutrients they may need, so I included some random objects at the very bottom of the container. I included some green grass, dead grass, dead leaves, and a twig or two. You may not want to put these objects in yours but I'm including this info because I put them in mine. I have since read an article about large amounts of green grass being dangerous to your worm farm, so you may want to leave grass out.
The next thing I did was throw in soil until the container was about halfway full. I dug this soil out of ground. I didn't use store bought dirt. I'm not sure if that would actually be better or not, but, I was able to come up with a decent amount of moist dirt that didn't have to many rocks in. If you don't have the same luck as me or you think store bought dirt would be better, then by all means give it a shot.
The one common agreement amongst all the people who write articles about making worm farms is that simple everyday earthworms that you find in your yard simply will not do. Apparently, the common earthworm that you are used to seeing doesn't breed as fast or acclimate to captivity as well as some other breeds of worms. Most people recommend red wigglers aka red worms, and others also recommend true night-crawlers and tiger worms. Honestly, I am no worm expert but I figured if most worm farms contain one of these types of worms that are better for farms, then the stores where I buy my live fishing worms probably carry one of these breeds. So I went to both of the local stores that carry live fishing worms and bought four boxes of twelve from each. Now I am just make a guess based on a picture comparison, but I believe one store had the red wigglers and the other store had some form of night-crawlers.
I'm also not sure if it causes problems to mix breeds in the same farm, but I can assure you mine has a mix, especially after I threw a few common earth worms that I found in just for giggles.
At any rate, the next step after getting the dirt half full was to dump my worms in. I dumped them in with the dirt they came with because I figured if it was adequate for storing them it probably had some nutrients and moisture that could be helpful to getting my farm started.
With 4 dozen worms from one store, 4 dozen from another store, and app. 20 or so common earthworms I found, my worm farm started with somewhere over 100 live worms.
After the worms were in I finished filling the contained a couple inches shy of the top with dirt. I figured it would be best for the worms to start in their knew home in the center buried under loose soil and out of the daylight.
I then sat the smaller container inside of the first larger container.
Container Number Two
The purpose of the second container is to help draw out the worms easier. I'm not sure how well its going to work, but if you have ever seen a worm farm that you can buy, it is basically a set of boxes with holes so you can give the worms multiple floors. I was trying to recreate the same effect with a second container. Hopefully the worms will bring themselves up in to the second container for food and easy capture.
I simply drilled holes large enough for worms throughout the bottom of the second container.
Then I set the second container on top of the first one so that the bottom is sitting in the dirt.
I then added a small amount of dirt in to the bottom of this container along with a few small chunks of potato and bread that I intend to be food for the worms.
I then covered everything with a moist paper towel and a few moist paper plates. I read several places that moist newspaper should always cover food, but I didn't have any newspaper.
Then I put the lid with the air holes on the second small container.
Then I put the lid on the bigger container housing the farm, and stuck the whole farm in a spare bedroom.
Worm Farm Food
So what is the right worm farm food? If you look around the internet there are lots of different opinions about worm farm food, but the common thought seems to be your basic table scraps. Avoid high acidic, sweet, salty, or greasy items. Several of the items I've seen listed as good worm farm food choices include...
- Fruits... apples, pears, banana and peels, strawberries, peaches, melons
- veggies... beans, lettuce, spinach, greenbeans, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes,
- grains... rice, pasta, bread, cereals, cornmeal
- coffee grinds (limited amounts) and coffee filter papers
- tea bags
- paper... newspaper, napkins, paper towels
- dead leaves
As I mentioned doing above it is recommended to keep moist paper above whatever you feed your worms.
My Fishing Worm Farm Future
I will make updates to this hub regularly about the status of my worm farm along with its successes and failures. Wish me luck!
James Campbell on October 05, 2020:
Gonna try this. Hope it works for you and for me. Good luck
Bill Murray on March 07, 2020:
I already have my worm farm. I started mine last year and there doing great. I feel all fishermen should have their own worms and save a lot of money.
Gary Johnson on February 29, 2020:
1- I turn the soil every time I feed them, once a week I also water at this time.
2- I change the soil about every 6 months. I usually start with 250 in each container. They are clear large containers that stay in a dark place in my basement.
Any suggestions ?
Ellison Hartley from Maryland, USA on December 28, 2018:
This is cool! Bloodworms are definitely expensive in our local bait shops, might be worth giving it a try!
Fisherman on December 26, 2018:
Raise your worms in styrofoam coolers the foam breaths less death rate than plastic
JON WHITE on August 27, 2018:
Thank you for the information. This will help me make one foe me,
Brandon Johnson on August 09, 2017:
To be honest, worms are not picky. I have a worm farm outside and it does great. I simply put some dirt in a clear plastic drawer (all I had at the time), threw some food in there, wet it all down, and slid it under my deck (for shade). I didn't start with the intention of making one, but I had a bunch of worms left over from a bad day of fishing and didn't want them to go to waste. However, I also put in a ton of regular earthworms I dug up out of my yard. I didn't have any issue with slow breeding, as I have a lot more now than when I started.
A few things... you want to make sure to wet the soil every few days, and people suggest putting the worms on top and letting them go down on their own. Unfortunately I learned this tip too late, but you don't have to dig up worms out of your yard to get started. Take a piece of rebar, or a wooden stick with similar ridges, push it about six inches into the ground, then take a wooden broom handle type stick and run it up and down... the worms will come to you! The idea is to send vibrations into the ground, and thinking it is a predator (like a mole), they will flee to the top of the ground.
K Wm Sears from Rockford, MI on May 22, 2017:
Awesome idea! I spray my yard for the bugs therefore have no worms. This will be a great idea to avoid buying worms when we go fishing.
Larry on September 03, 2016:
I remember my uncle use to see worms and rabbits. Raised the rabbits in cages over his worm beds. He fed the rabbits and they fed the worms. He ad an awning over the cages for shade and rain protection. This was in Texas and he raised the worms in brick lined beds in the ground.
César on July 15, 2016:
I done one in a fish box. They love bread soaked in water.Tech: if you put the veg. scraps in the freezer for 24 hours they asimilates very much when degradation so fast, after freezing. Temperature and darkness.
James Prince on July 13, 2016:
Wow, I have a wood box (2x4) filled with dirt with a piece of tin thrown over it and it's at a different location than my home. I love the idea of an inside worm farm if I can talk my wife into letting me use the spare bedroom for my new worm farm. Thanks for the idea.
Fiona from South Africa on May 09, 2016:
My brother also built his own worm farm but used an old tire - works surprisingly well.
Hub Pages the home of the loony left from the cultural crybabies to the lefty campus snowflakes on May 08, 2016:
Great HP on worms, this is! Like this you tube video about huge Canadian night crawlers, you will https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPdUimnj7mY
Blast master on January 26, 2016:
You guys are so cool I want to be a worm farmer for real
And an ant farmer too, people in my town eat them at weddings between cousins, which grandma says is a sin
I love worms and ants
Garry on May 25, 2015:
Great read Phil an thought i might add my experience with worms. Ill make it short.
A small refridgerator buried up todoor hinges,filled with compost. Square hole cut in top a covered with screen wire. Im a old school type of guy so a piece of wood scrap was used when heavy rains were expected to cover the vent. I built a cover out of 2x2s an 1/4" plywood to cover the whole thing in winter. I used worms from a known nightcrawler population. I rang my starter worms up by the rebar vibration method. Got the kids involved and they kept them fed by putting there own table scraps in the fridge. My adult worms are about
all about 10" to 12" long and the diameter of a pencil. That worm bed was started in the spring of 1999 an is still going great today. Over the years i learned a lot about how to make them happy worms. Well that's my story on nightcrawlers. I will add one little trick, about every 3 or 4 months sprinkle an entire bottle of the cheapest vanilla extract you can find in the fridge.
bojean on April 30, 2015:
I always sprinkled some corn meal over top of dirt. They love it!
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on October 12, 2014:
I could see that! Good idea!
Vass on October 12, 2014:
I feed mine crushed rabbit pellet feed, they love it.
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on July 31, 2014:
Thank you Loreva!
Lorenzo M Vasquez III from El Paso, TX on July 30, 2014:
Very cool hub!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!
SEXY WOMEN on December 02, 2013:
Phill Carter Mildura on December 01, 2013:
Great to see about this subject ( worm farms ) I use an old Fridge on its back becose of the insilation in the fridge . I feed them butternut pumpkin and layer with newspaper .
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on November 03, 2013:
I've heard this as well but I haven't tried it myself.
John on October 08, 2013:
I read somewhere that you could place a couple of inches of shredded paper in the bottom of a tub, then about the same of compost would this work?
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on July 29, 2013:
Sure Bob. You can always try it and see how it works out. I don't imagine it would be a problem.
bob on July 29, 2013:
can you use a trash can for the big container
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on May 19, 2013:
Thanks SonQuioey10! Good luck with your new hobby!
SonQuioey10 on May 11, 2013:
This was helpful. I'm picking up a new hobby in fishing and this looks like a great idea, keeping my own supply of worms. In my town fishing is like the normal local competition. This will be good for saving money definitely. And here I was thinking that cherries and cheese would be good fish bait. Great Hub.
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on April 30, 2013:
Thank you Anthony! Hope that works out for you!
Kevin, The only problem I ran into with mine, was that I foolishly left them in a room without climate control during the middle of summer. After a few days of that it got way to hot for the little critters. So the biggest thing is make sure that you are controlling the climate. You don't want the worms to get too hot or too cold. If the temperature isn't comfortable for a person, it's probably not comfortable for a worm. Remember that and the rest will hopefully work for you!
Kevin Peter from Global Citizen on April 26, 2013:
After reading your hub I had decided to start my own farm in the way you described. But you admitted frankly that it didn’t work well for you in the beginning. Please do give me some suggestions on what I should do to start a new one with your experience in this field.
Anthony Boone from Connencticut on April 14, 2013:
As an avid fisherman, I know that it can cost you a pretty penny for a dozen of worms now a day's. This info has diffenetly given me some alternatives for future fishing trips.
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on April 12, 2013:
A good point thedraketaker! Thank you!
thedraketaker on April 12, 2013:
i saw where yall were talking about digging a hole and putting the farm underground...perhaps underneath a house would work just as well...it stays pretty cool under there, for those of us that are able to do so...
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on April 08, 2013:
Very nice jrueff!
Ryan Rafferty on April 08, 2013:
Never even thought to make my own farm very nice idea, thanks for the hub!
Joshua Rueff from Kansas City on April 08, 2013:
I hope so too, and you're welcome (: Actually just rained last night so I managed to add a substantial glob of the little buggers.
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on April 07, 2013:
Thank you! Jrueff I hope yours works out well! Thank you all for the comments! I may need to build another one of these myself this year.
sally sherif from EGYPT on March 24, 2013:
Panga Sandu Teodor from Romania on March 24, 2013:
very interesting post .thanks for share
Roaan on March 19, 2013:
Lucky for me my back yard is full off earth worms. Don't have all these special species off worms you mentioned, but the normal earth worm in my back yard is working perfectly for me since if started fishing. Do have a container similar thou, for when I'm going fishing. www.bassfishingtips101.com
Joshua Rueff from Kansas City on March 19, 2013:
Great post, I just started mine! And have caught one rainbow on a member of that little farm so far this year (catching everything else on spoons and spinners so far).
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on August 23, 2012:
A cave sounds perfect!
jamie on August 23, 2012:
I keep mine cool in a small cave
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on July 02, 2012:
Matt most of what I have heard about it indicates that using regular worms out of your back yard doesn't work very well. I through a few in mine just for giggles, but I can't say if they actually increased their own population. You can buy a large amount of red wrigglers fairly cheap off amazon though so it would probably be easier to just purchase them.
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on July 02, 2012:
Thanks ShootersCenter! I appreciate the comment!
Matt on July 01, 2012:
I was wondering if just earthworms in my back yard would work for the population?
David from Florida on June 28, 2012:
Good informative hub. I've had a worm farm in the past but wouldn't have thought about using it as a hub, great idea.
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on June 04, 2012:
Unless you are using them for something like fishing, you would have to remove some of the population at some point so it doesn't get to over populated.
holycow 92 on June 03, 2012:
Do you have to separate the new born worms into a smaller one!!!
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on May 29, 2012:
Thank you anthonyx2! I was wondering how burying the container in the ground would work. Seems like a really good way to help keep better climate control.
anthonyx2 on May 29, 2012:
I have tried a similar worm farm, but I dug a hole in the back yard and pretty much buried the large bucket up to the rim. Keep in mind that worms can crawl up several inches to get out of their "nest". I like the idea of having a smaller removable container inside the bigger one, since I had to "dig around" in an already buried bucket. Moss and sawdust help keep the soil from getting too solid. I find newspaper gets too compacted and then mush once it gets wet.
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on May 28, 2012:
Thank you missiauga!
missisauga on May 28, 2012:
Nice article and nice information also........
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on May 23, 2012:
Thank you donabhatt!
Tanuka Bhattacharjee from Cupertino on May 23, 2012:
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on May 12, 2012:
a lot of people add food daily, but you would probably be alright with every few days. The real trick is getting the amount of food correct so it doesn't just rot.
Mrsc789 on May 12, 2012:
Does anyone know how often the worm farms have to have "food" added to them?
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on May 11, 2012:
Thanks Mikey I hope it works for you!
TrahnTheMan that is a really good question. One that I was pondering over myself recently. If I was going to put another one together I would do it the same if it was in a controlled environment (I.E. I don't shut off the A.C. and let them hang in out in 120 degree room for several days). However I think I have an idea for how to make it work outside too.
If you could insulate the inside of the large container, of course leave breathing holes, or house the farm in a cooler... then you could take plastic juice bottles or 2 liters and fill them with water and freeze them. Then every few days put a new one in to keep the worms nice and cool when its hot outside.
TrahnTheMan from Asia, Oceania & between on May 10, 2012:
Bummer! Have you started another farm since? And how were they going up to the Armageddon? Did the double-box system continue working well- would you change anything from your original design or do you still recommend the same set up as you described? Thanks!
mikeydcarroll67 on May 10, 2012:
This is great! I might just be able to use these for myself!
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on May 02, 2012:
Bad I must admit. The farm worked really well, but I forgot to leave the A.C. on in the spare room I kept them and they got way way way to hot and died. It is very important to keep them in a proper climate. Thanks for the comment! I've been meaning to hop on here and update this hub for a while.
TrahnTheMan from Asia, Oceania & between on May 02, 2012:
Great article Philbert! How are the worms going now that it's several months since you started?
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on February 01, 2012:
Hello Philbert. I had to read this hub, my daddy had a worm farm when I was just a kid. I remember putting scraps and torn up newspaper in it for the worms. He and I would go dig out some worms and fo fishing together alot. I hope your worm farm does well for you. Let us know how it goes! Voted up and useful! :)
Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on December 06, 2011:
Phillbert, GREAT read. Very informative and very helpful. Thank you for sharing. And keep up the great work. Merry Christmas to you and yours.