Worm Weight

Ok – I guess it is reader question today here on the blog (haha). Here is a good one from Anne:

I’m curious:
When companies advertise selling one, two, five, etc pounds of worms, what actually weighs one, etc pounds? How much is worm weight and how much is bedding?
Approx how many worms per pound? …..funny question…..
Thanks so much!

Hi Anne,
Every dealer is different, but I can tell you what SHOULD weigh 1 lb, 2 lb etc – it should be the worms themselves. ie actual worm biomass. It should NOT be worms and bedding, unless clearly stated on the website (I have yet to find a site that includes this info).

The bedding used for shipping – very often moistened peat moss – can weigh a fair amount on its own, so when included in the weight for pricing purposes the customer will obviously receive a lot fewer worms. In my opinion there should be at least a 1:1 ratio of bedding weight to worm weight for optimal shipping, but the bedding weight definitely should not be included in the price. In other words, if you order 1 lb of worms, the package you receive should be more than 2 lbs (obviously there is the box and packing material to consider here as well).

That being said, depending on the length of the trip and the time of year etc, there may be a reduction in weight during shipping due to water loss (worms are mostly water after all), but this typically won’t be too significant if the worms are packed well and the trip is relatively short.

The practice of including bedding weights in pricing (or just dishonest weights in general) helps to explain why worm pricing can be all over the map. My advice is to be wary of dealers with very low pricing unless you’ve dealt with them before or know someone else who has. Really when it comes down to it, the best approach is to use caution when dealing with suppliers you are unfamiliar with. I’m not saying this to slam my “competitors” by any means – all I am suggesting is that you try to get to know the dealer a little (or find reviews online) before buying from them.

If they have a website, perhaps send them an e-mail and ask them a few questions. Their response time and helpfulness can be pretty good indicators right off the bat. If they don’t bother replying or they seem abrasive in any way, it probably just isn’t worth it. Some dealers aren’t all that comfortable online, and that’s ok – in that case try giving them a call if they have a number posted somewhere.

As far as how many worms there are in 1 lb, a fairly good estimate is 1000 (of various sizes) for Red Worms. I’ve had large Red Worms that seemed to be in the 800/lb range, but I’ve also had populations of smaller worms that would have been closer to 2000/lb. Maturity and the overall health of the worms can obviously play a pretty important role. For European Nightcrawlers, the counts are generally somewhere between 300 and 400 per pound (gives you an idea of how much bigger these worms are).

Hope this helps!

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    • Amy
    • January 30, 2009

    Thanks for the informative video on composting with bins! It helped a lot. Now I am probably the least ideal candidate to start composting, but the benefits out weigh my concerns. First, how big do the red worms get? It is just me and my toddler and we are on a semi vegetarian diet. Since our bin will be inside, I’m more concerned about odor and other pests my composting bins may attract. I have gloves, so I’ve gotten over having to handle them with my bare hands. I must sound awful, but your expertise and enthusiasm gives me motivation to start composting. I think I can do this 🙂 I can add the castings to my container gardening project. Again, how big do the red wigglers get?

    • Jim Stacy
    • January 10, 2011

    Good morning, Thanks for this article I found the answers I was lookinf for, on this topic. I will be putting my energy into ENC for bait as this is where my interest lies. I’ve only been raising RW and ENC for perhaps three months in my basement, ambient temp. hovers at 60 degrees and my herd has doupled

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