Moving Worms

Here is a question from Shelly on a topic I know others are interested in as well. Just so you know, I’ve only included the first little bit of Shelly’s email for the sake of saving space here. She also provided some great info about her current set up (she has a mature Can-O-Worms) and some ideas about how she might move everything.

Dear Bentley,

Thanks to all of the wonderful information on your website, I’ve had a
successful worm bin in our basement for just over a year now (March,

My fiance and I will be moving in June/July from Maryland to Georgia.
I was trying to find some information / advice on your website about
how to successfully move a worm bin system, especially if the worms
may need to be out of their worm bin for several days. I didn’t find
anything on your website. If you have posted about this, could you
kindly point me in the right direction? If not, I would love your
advice / pointers about how to make this move successful (i.e.
successful = keeping the worms alive).

Great question, Shelly
Similar to your second idea (included in original email) my suggestion would definitely be to transfer everything from the Can-O-Worms to a large bin type of system for the move. A bin will provide a lot more stability and make for a much smoother ride for the worms in general. I would make sure this bin had LOTS of air holes in the upper walls and lid, but definitely no drainage holes of any kind. I would also make sure to add a lot of new moistened bedding before adding the contents of your other worm bin. This will provide plenty of neutral habitat and will also help to cushion the worms a bit more. Speaking of cushioning, I would definitely sit the bin on a thick blanket if possible so as to help reduce the severity of the vibrations during the ride.

I like your ideas re: using frozen food to keep the bin cool (again, mentioned in Shelly’s original email), but I would probably be more inclined to steer away from food and simply use ice packs instead. The last thing you would want on a long hot journey is lots of liquid and waste materials melting in your bin – once everything thaws you could end up with trouble.

Aside from the moistened bedding mentioned above, I would likely add a really thick layer of dry bedding up top and simply sit little ice packs (ziplocks with ice cubes or frozen water bottles) in this zone. You could keep a bunch of them in a cooler (and exchange them as needed), or simply plan to stop at gas stations and grab ice along the way.

Assuming this isn’t a REALLY long journey, I don’t think you need to be overly concerned about “food” for the trip. Unlike with little kids, you certainly don’t need to put together a special travel pack full of snacks and beverages for your wormies. As long as there are still some things to munch on from the original bin they should be totally fine. Maybe as a treat (to reward them for not saying “are we there yet?” a billion times – haha) you can cut up a piece of cantaloupe or melon and add that before you set off on the journey. Again, just be careful with the amount, since you don’t want excess microbial activity and moisture release while you are on the road.

Anyway – hope this helps!

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    • Barb V.
    • May 7, 2010

    One other suggestion would be to secure the lid of the ‘travel bin’ in some way. [bungee or duct tape?] Things get dropped and bumped and spilled on a move … … better safe than sorry, right?

    • greg hughes
    • May 18, 2010

    hi Shelly as bentley suggested about vibration that would be your up most problem worms do not like vibration have a safe trip.

    • Shelly
    • July 10, 2010

    Thanks again Bentley for your suggestions. I wanted to post an update about how the worms fared during the move. Not wanting all my eggs in one basket, or all my worms in one bin, I created 2 bins for the move. One went in the U-Haul and the other in my car. I am so glad I did this as opposed to putting them all in the U-Haul: sadly, almost all the worms in the UHaul bin died. The worms seemed to gravitate to the edges of the bins and the ice packs, and I think they just all got squished to death as the contents undoubtedly lurched around because the UHaul was a rough/bumpy ride. Although it also could have been the heat – the move took place on the 2 hottest days possible last week, 105 and 104 degrees, and it did get hot inside of the UHaul. The worms in both bins had ice packs, but the ones in my car enjoyed a bit of air conditioning during the heat of the day. I transferred the contents of the bin from my car (the living worms) back into my Can of Worms and we’re going to throw the contents of the other bin in the woods (it was pretty foul smelling and I doubt it’s healthy for the system to put that back in the COW).

    • Vanessa
    • April 23, 2018

    I’m worried about my red worms, they don’t seem to be moving. Is there something I’m doing wrong with my worm bin.


    • Bentley
    • April 23, 2018

    Hi Vanessa – what temperature is the system sitting at? Can you provide more information in general (how long ago was it set up, what have you added etc)?

    • Wes
    • September 8, 2018

    I recently moved my worm bin cross country with the advice from this site. I used two smaller plastic disposeable tuperware containers, each with holes drilled for air circulation. We were driving for 7 days, and the worms spent the majority of the time under the seats of the car. We put them in two containers just in case something happened to one of them, we wouldn’t lose the whole gang.

    Our worms made it overall pretty safe, however quite a few tried to make a break for it towards the end of our trip, and died in the floorboards of the car. I probably lost about 1/4 – 1/3 of my worms to this, which wasn’t good, but overall, a successful worm bin relocation. I shipped my bin ups to my new home, so that there would be a place for them when we got there.

    One mistake I think I made was using too much of their original compost instead of a mix with new litter.

    Since getting to the new place, they haven’t been very productive yet. I did see some new worms today, so I feel like it’s just taking some time for the bacteria to get going. I haven’t seen any worm tea yet either which has me a little worried, but no escapees. Just takes time.

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