• The tiny red worm's voracious appetite and proclivity for reproduction make it an ideal creature for composting. Two red worms under ideal conditions could spawn hundreds of new worms in their lifetimes.


    Red worms, also called manure worms or red wrigglers, are slightly smaller than earthworms and, as their name indicates, have a reddish hue. One worm has both male and female reproductive organs, but they still mate in pairs.


    To mate, two worms join at their clitellum, a glandular section in their body wall, to exchange reproductive material. When they separate, mucus material forms on the clitellum of both worms, which forms a cocoon once the worms release it off their tails.


    A red worm's cocoon looks like a tiny lemon, about the size of a grape seed. Each cocoon can hold up to 20 worms, although most usually contain about four.

    Time Frame

    Red worms can reproduce frequently, creating new cocoons about every seven to 10 days. The cocoons usually take about a month to hatch, and new worms will be ready to create cocoons two or three months after hatching.


    Red worms will reproduce more frequently when kept at room temperature and fed well. Give the worms a variety of fruit rinds, grains, vegetables and coffee grounds, but avoid giving them meat, dairy or snack foods.


    City of Ann Arbor: Worm Wonders

    Northern Alberta Permaculture Institute: Welcome to the World of Vermiculture

    Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality: Making a Worm Farm

    More Information:

    Worm composting

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