close up of plant with frost on the leaves

Can worms freeze in the winter?

frozen scenery

When winter falls and the mercury drops, do the worms in your garden survive? Typically, no. Earthworms cannot live in freezing temperatures, and they perish in the cold. However, if you’re worried about your garden’s health or the health of the residents of your worm bin, you can relax.

 

 

Earthworms can’t survive freezing temps, but…their eggs can!

So, come winter, the earthworms in your garden and compost pile are likely going to perish. Some worms burrow into the ground, surround themselves in slime and hibernate throughout the winter. However, if the temps get below freezing, you can say goodbye to your lovely wiggly friends!

However, earthworms lay eggs that are encased in small cocoons which protect them from the weather. When the weather warms up, little baby earthworms emerge from these eggs and repopulate your garden.

There has been research proving that earthworms can be frozen and slowly thawed and returned to life, but it’s safe to say that trying this out in your home will lead to a messy result. We don’t recommend it. You can revive earthworms to some extent, but only if they have become dehydrated. As of right now, there is no known way to revive frozen earthworms at home.


How to protect earthworms from the cold

compost heap

The best way to protect your earthworms is to bring them indoors, if possible. Obviously, this won’t be possible if they are in your outdoor garden or compost heap. Another possible solution might be to mulch your garden beds thickly to try and insulate them from the cold. This works to some extent for plants, so there’s a chance it may help your worms too.

Apart from that, there really isn’t a whole lot that you can do for your earthworms in the winter. Just let nature run its course, and in due time, provide plenty of food so the freshly hatched worms can feed and grow. If you’re interested in reading about worm eggs and how long they take to hatch (in case you left your worm bin outdoors and found yourself left with just eggs, for instance), you can find more info here.


Keep your worm bin nice and warm indoors

If you’ve been keeping your worm bin outside, it may be something you’ll need to rethink, because in the winter your squiggly pets will likely die. Most people who use a worm bin keep it indoors for the sake of convenience, and because it isn’t messy or smelly, there are usually no obvious downsides unless you just don’t like the sight of earthworms.

We would recommend keeping the bin somewhere out of sight indoors, in that case – tucked away in a corner, where prying eyes won’t see it and you won’t be bothered by the wriggling mass in it.

Worm Bucket worm bin

If you have a large or a makeshift worm bin that you want to migrate indoors, it might be a good idea to switch to something like the Worm Bucket, which is an easy to use, transportable worm bin that you can keep anywhere inside your home.