A recent email from Scott:
I am scheduled to move in May. I’m going to visit the new area at the end of the month to house hunt, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll find anything that I’ll be able to move into quickly. I have a WormFactory 360 with 4 trays of Euros, and a WormInn full of red wigglers. Obviously, the best case scenario is that I find a house, and can drive straight from my current one across the US to the new one, and can take my worms in a couple of bags for a couple days during the move, and set up the new worm habitats when I arrive. However that might not happen.
My question is, what factors do I need to consider when moving, when I have worms?
If there is a significant delay, I may be able to give them to a friend who also has worms and have him mail me a pound or two of each type after I get settled in. What kind of bedding should they be shipped in? Is slightly moistened cardboard/newspaper/egg carton bedding OK?
I realize that it seems silly to worry about getting MY worms, when I can start over with $50 and get new ones, but I’ve had these systems for a long time, and they are MY worms. I look forward to hearing your advice.
Scott in Kansas
Moving with worms should be a fairly easy to manage, but yes there are some considerations. As far as the container goes, in the case of something like a plastic tub bin, or even a Worm Inn, you can probably get away with using that as the moving vessel (will talk about additional measures to take in a minute). Something like a Worm Factory might not be the ideal container – but I guess it would depend on how long the worms were going to be in transit (for a quick move – no problem).
Vibration during the trip will be one of the important considerations – especially with respect to the Euros. Worms are quite sensitive to vibration, so you should do as much as possible to buffer this during the trip. I would likely rest the container on some thick blankets to help with this.
Another important factor would be temperature during the trip. During cold and warm weather moves you will need to be very careful about not leaving the worms unattended in a vehicle for too long. Several hours in a closed car on a hot day, or overnight during sub-freezing temps, would likely be enough to kill the worms.
I would aim to keep the bin in a well lit location if at all possible – once again, especially in the case of the Euros – since they may want to start roaming once they feel the vibrations from the vehicle moving (etc). Also be sure to add a really thick layer of dry absorbent bedding over top of the main worm zone, since this can help discourage this roaming as well. If you REALLY want to go all out, you might even mix vaseline with salt and create a thick layer of the paste all around the inner perimeter of the bin (on the inner walls, up close to the lid).
As for the bedding to ship the worms in – again, in my opinion it makes the most sense to ship them in the habitat they are most familiar with. That said, my recommendation would be to mix in plenty of new, moistened bedding before the heading out. This should help to improve air flow (something like shredded corrugated cardboard is especially helpful) and will also provide the worms with a “slow” food source – something that’s not going to create the same issues that excess food waste can.
One other quick thing to mention…
If you DO want to use shipping bags instead of the worm bins, I might suggest something like a large “sand bag“, since these are durable but still breathable. The added advantage of this approach is that you will be better able to keep the worms contained (since they tie up). But it will be even more important to make sure you mix in plenty of bulky, moistened bedding materials so as to help ensure a decent amount of air flow. Also, make sure you still do as much as possible to minimize vibrations (maybe hold them in big cardboard boxes with a thick layer of scrunched up newsprint in the bottom).
Anyway – I hope this helps!