Red Wiggler worms start their lives as cocoons, which are lemon-shaped eggs shed from the worm’s clitellum (the swollen band closer to the worm’s mouth). When they’re first produced, the cocoons are a light golden color, and they turn a deep amber color as they mature. After 30 days, and when conditions are right (temperatures of 65℉ to 85℉), the baby worms hatch. Each cocoon contains from 1-20 baby worms, but the average is 4-6.
When the baby worms emerge from the cocoon, they are barely visible. They look like tiny, transparent threads. They may be small, but they go to work eating organic matter right away – little eating machines! As they grow, they darken in color and develop clear segments. After 40-60 days, they are mature adults and are ready to reproduce.
Adult red wigglers are super eaters, consuming up to half their body weight in organic matter each day. They love fruits, vegetables, leaf litter, and shredded cardboard and paper. If temperatures are optimal (65℉ to 85℉) and they have a steady food source, they will double their population every 90 days. Worms are hermaphrodites (possessing both male and female reproductive organs), but to reproduce two worms must join at the clitellum – after which both worms generate a cocoon. In a happy worm bin, this process occurs continually, ensuring an ever-growing population of worms ready to eat your food scraps!