Red Wigglers

by Joanna
(Central Oregon Coast)

Photo credit: Engineering for Change on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Engineering for Change on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

Our compost bin is full of red wigglers. The bin is a two piece plastic one, with a door at the bottom for scooping out the composted material. My husband does the composting... He is anxious about taking the bottom layer of composted soil out of the bin because he has heard the red wigglers do not live after after they are removed. Is this true, and if so, how do we save the little ones? Thanks!

Here's An Answer

I'm assuming that you added the worms to your compost bin and they have now kind of exploded in population.

Red Wigglers thrive in the kind of conditions you find in a compost. And they will move towards fresh food. I think most of your worms have probably moved up into the fresh material you are adding to your bin.

If you take the compost that is ready at the bottom of the bin you'll likely find most of the worms have left and migrated upwards.

Those that are still in the compost might survive for a while if there is a mulch of stuff they like to eat. As a bonus though birds will enjoy a nice little feast.

The majority will likely still be in the bin chomping away on the food scraps you've fed them.

In Oregon where you have mild winters these worms can survive in a bin provided they don't get too wet in the winter. If the weather gets cold they probably migrate towards the center of the bin. Here in Alberta where temperatures go way below freezing they won't make it, they'll freeze to death.

Red Wigglers might survive in the leaf litter in mild climates or of course in a compost bin.

Thanks for your question and good luck.

The Compost Gardener

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