How Long Do Worm Eggs Take to Hatch?

By: Etta Smith

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One of the most advantageous qualities of the red wiggler is how readily they reproduce. In ideal conditions, a healthy red wiggler population can double in as few as three months. So let’s dig a lil deeper, pun intended, on that process.


Like many invertebrates, red wigglers are hermaphroditic meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. However, they cannot reproduce asexually. Worms need a mate to reproduce and when they connect, sperm is exchanged and later used to fertilize their eggs which are laid in a protective cocoon.


It’s important to understand the difference between the eggs and the cocoon. The cocoon is the tiny, round, firm, yellow-ish casing that you will see once your worm population has started reproducing. Within the cocoon are the eggs, as many as 20 could be contained inside. However, typically only three to six eggs will be fertilized and later emerge from the lemon-shaped casing the size of a grape seed.

The cocoons are then deposited in the soil and the ‘parent worm’ moves on. In optimal conditions, the cocoon will hatch in about three weeks. The emphasis here is on the environmental conditions within your worm bin. To encourage a growing worm population, it is important to ensure you are providing the right balance of warmth, moisture, food, and substrate. If conditions are not ideal, cocoons can remain dormant for extended periods of time- potentially up to two years.

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On average, sexually mature worms can produce up to three cocoons a week. When juvenile worms emerge about three weeks later, it will take them approximately six weeks to reach sexual maturity. At that point, the whole process begins all over again. Red wigglers in a thriving worm bin can actually live up to five years.

Now that you have learned how quickly your worm population can grow, you may start to worry that it could get out of hand. Don’t worry! As you watch your worm community multiply you can choose how to proceed. If you only want to maintain one worm bin, no intervention is needed. Red wigglers are self-regulating so when available resources become scarce and population density intensifies, they will slow down or even stop reproduction.

However, if you decide you would like to expand your worm family to a 2nd worm bin, the possibilities are endless. You have full control over how small or how large of a worm operation you want to maintain.

One final thought, why not give the gift of worms? Now that you are a bona fide worm farmer, why not share the benefits of worm farming with family and friends? As your worms reproduce you have a great opportunity to help a fellow aspiring worm farmer to start their worm bin by sharing your red wigglers with them.

The possibilities are endless.