The Tale of a Ridiculously Badly Neglected Worm Bin

It’s been ages since I last uploaded a video, and even quite some time since my last blog post, so when I recently checked on a very badly neglected worm bin and marveled at the resilience of these worms (for what seems like the “millionth” time – lol) it made me want to share this with you.

I have a couple of fun new projects planned for these poor worms (hopefully it will be like “Club Med” in comparison to what they have dealt with). I will tell you about those in a minute, but first I should provide you with a little backstory.

Back in October of 2015 after developing a renewed interest in the article “How To Breed, Raise, and Maintain A 100-Pound Stock of Worms in a Single Room” – and writing a report summarizing said article (for WFA members) – I decided to start up my own Paley-esque system. Well, actually two of them, but the second one was a more extreme approach (an attempt to raise worms on nothing but corrugated cardboard) and didn’t end up panning out (long story – lol).

The basic idea behind what I refer to as the “Paley 100 Method” (since it is such a pain in the butt to constantly write out the full title of the article – haha!) is that you are raising the worms in a way that makes them shrink in size (a LOT) yet still (hopefully) continue to breed. Since they are much smaller, it takes a lot longer for them to become “overcrowded” (i.e. you can get countless more worms in a single bin).

In other words, Brian Paley wasn’t claiming that you could literally raise 100 lb of worms in a small room – he was suggesting you could easily raise the equivalent of (actually more than, according to the article) 100 lb. For it to work out, there needs to be a grow out period as well – Paley claimed he could get the worms back to full size within a couple of weeks.

Anyway – this certainly won’t be the last time I write about (or test out) ‘Paley 100’ methods, but the bottom-line here is that these are badly neglected worms in need of being rescued, SO it’s time to do exactly that. I have decided to start a couple of new systems using these worms.

The first one will use ONLY tea bags as food – my wife and I have recently begun drinking a lot more tea (mostly herbal and green tea), so I am finding myself with a LOT more tea bags than I have ever had before (have always been a “coffee guy”). I am really interested to see what happens in a system that literally only has this as a food source (just to be nice, I may give them a bit of other regular food materials when I first start it up, though). I don’t even think I will need to add any bedding.

The second bin will just be a regular home system set up with food wastes and bedding. The main purpose of this one, apart from rescuing the worms, is to see how they respond to favorable conditions. How quickly will they reach full size (or will they stay small)? How quickly will they started breeding and producing cocoons?

Should be lots of fun.

Do stay tuned!

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  1. You must drink a lot of tea to feef a 100 lbs. of worms.

    The conference sign up page does not work.

    • Steve
    • September 27, 2017

    I am doing something similar with redworms (I was thinking of the Paley project and how worms respond to stress). But I only went 3 months. In that time the worms shrink considerably, but still looked healthy. The weight of the worms was originally 3 pounds but probably was close to one pound at the end of this period. I’m in the process of bringing them back with regular feedings and they are three weeks in the recovery mode

    • Caroline Sue Raybin
    • September 28, 2017

    1. Does the SPCA get involved with cruelty to compost worms?

    2. We use coffee grounds with great success.

    • Gwen
    • October 1, 2017

    Tea bags only — sounds interesting. Looking forward to the results!

    • joule
    • October 5, 2017

    Someone better call the worm police. :/
    On another note, what about the metal staples on the tea?

    • Bentley
    • October 6, 2017

    LoL – that’s an interesting question! I’m certainly not worried about it, but I guess over time you really could end up with a lot of them in there!

    • Bentley
    • October 7, 2017

    Sorry I missed some of the comments added earlier!

    RONALD – lol, not even remotely close to 100 lb equivalent in that bin (especially once split into two different bins). But I do now drink quite a bit of tea so it should be a good supply for the worms.
    STEVE – very interesting. Keep us posted on that!
    CAROLINE – Ha! I think a LOT of people would be in a LOT of trouble if that was the case. As for coffee grounds, they are excellent for sure (although can be tricky to work with when using a lot at once).


    • Barbara Miller
    • March 18, 2018

    Did you give them water during the time of neglect?

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