It’s not the most usual question ns get, however as winter approaches, civilization want to understand if earthworms can survive through winter in areas such as worm bins, garden beds or compost piles.

You are watching: Do worms hibernate in the winter


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These are simply a couple of of hundreds of red wiggler worms resident in my worm bin and breaking down all the inputs into nutrient-rich vermicompost.


It’s one understandable concern. Us gardeners work-related so difficult to develop an setting to entice worms and also promote your reproduction all through the year. The last thing we desire to perform is watch it all come to an finish as the weather turns frosty.

Specifically, the concern that triggered me to write this short article came native an urban gardener that was increasing earthworms in his indoor bin—specifically under the sink in his kitchen. His wife had uncovered his obsession and relegated the worms to an exterior existence. Yet through no genuine garden in which come go, he was worried that his farming collection that apartment increased wigglers would satisfy their an equipment if his bin to be relocated come the frigid outdoors.

This is one of those poor news, an excellent news answers. My answer to this newbie worm farmer’s inspection went something choose this; “No Wally, your worms won’t survive winter,” i wrote. I went on to describe that every was not lost though.

Although worms can’t survive freezing temperatures, lock lay egg that room encased and also protected by very small cocoons. They can endure through winter to arise as tiny infant worms, when temperatures warm up again. The worms Wally was worried around losing would be replaced by a contingency plan, cleverly crafted my none other than mom Nature herself. Wally would certainly have new worms once the weather warmed.

Worldwide, over there are approximately 6,000 earthworm species, when only about 30 are found in the joined States. And also the most well-known of all in the garden are generally known together red wigglers. Because they live mainly in just the upper layers of soil and amongst leaf debris, castle a acquainted sight in compost piles and also gardens. Yet, since they never burrow far sufficient into the soil to protect against freezing temperatures, lock don’t make it through those conditions.

Fortunately, the egg laid prior to their demise carry out sufficient replacements next spring.

Other earthworms, such together the usual night crawler can survive winter conditions by burrowing deep right into the soil, listed below the frost heat (the level below the soil surface in i m sorry groundwater freezes). That distance varies based upon different parts of the county, varying from zero to 6 feet in the coldest regions. However safely listed below the frost line, they live out the winter in small cavities or chambers.

Since night crawlers nothing truly hibernate, you may uncover them reemerging throughout a period of unseasonably heat weather and also returning deep below ground as soon as the weather turns cold again.

Escaping the cold is just part of what permits worms to make it through through the winter. The other problem of food is in exactly how they breathe. Worms don’t have lungs. Instead, they breathe with their skin, as lengthy as it continues to be moist. To store their skin moist with winter, they release fluid and also mucous the coats their body for whatever time needed.

Under appropriate conditions, scientists estimate the mean lifespan the earthworms that survive winters at 4 to eight year while the most common garden arrays live just one or 2 years. So whatever time our subterranean friends have on this planet (or in it), let us celebrate all they perform to boost the conditions of our soil and take comfort in learning they’ll be back to assist us in the garden, just about the time we need them most.

P.S: If you desire to see more of the worm bin whereby these red wigglers in the picture live, as well as the video clip of united state making it and also the step-by-step plans on how to make one yourself, I’ve connected to it all for you.


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AboutJoe Lamp"l

Joe Lamp"l is the Host and also Executive Producer that the compensation winning PBS television series Growing A Greener World. Turn off camera, Joe dedicates his time to cultivating sustainability with his popular books, blog, podcast series, and nationally syndicated newspaper columns. Monitor Joe ~ above Twitter


Comments

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Suzanne says

January 2, 2018 in ~ 10:20 AM


I have a variety of small compost bins situated next to my chicken coop. I use pine shavings on a shelf and also collect the bird droppings daily. This, along with a tiny amount the kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and also grass in the summer write my “compost” the I add to my organic garden. I let this was standing for 6 months, before including to my garden.

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Question… can I include red wigglers to this mix? will certainly they have enough to survive and thrive? will they help the pile break down?

Many thanks. I love her show and listen to the podcasts all the time. Continued success.


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Gladys Hutson says

December 19, 2015 at 8:54 AM


I for this reason LOVE your show and also all that you teach us. Girlfriend have had actually some really great shows about our pollinators this past year and I look front to listening about an ext of your adventures with your honey Bees.I, too, to be a Beekeeper and am constantly trying to learn an ext of what I deserve to do to help our pollinators. Largely I understand that we need to teach our children about this one of life, indigenous gardening to pollination come the arts of prepare the foods.I am helping to execute that in 2016 by involvement a regional organization referred to as “The green Teacher Network” the end of Charlotte, NC. This non-profit team is bringing these very lessons of stewardship come the children in the Mecklenburg institution System.My hope and dream is that we can reach the end to other school systems almost everywhere the state and also beyond.Thank You because that ALL that you execute to teach us to be those an excellent stewards of our mother Earth!!Respectfully,Gladys Hutson