Worm Composting in the Winter

Cold Can-o-Worms!

Worm Composting in the Winter

Worm-Composting-in-the-Winter6 ways to keep your worm farm warm in a cold climate. #4 is my new favorite!

Your composting worms have three jobs: eat, poop, and make babies. It’s a good life if you can get it. You’re job as the worm farmer is to make sure the conditions are right for the worms to do their thing. Regulating the temperature in your worm bin is essential to maximize the worms efficiency.

In this article, you will learn a few tips to help keep your  red wiggler worms warm while worm composting in the winter in an outdoor winter worm composting bin. If you don’t already have one, purchase a simple compost thermometer so that you can accurately monitor the temperature of your worm composting bin.

Worm Composting in the Winter: 6 Ways to keep your worm bin warm in the cold winter

Worm composting outdoors in the winter is possible, but probably not if you live in Antarctica. Before you set up a winter worm compost bin, think about your climate and average temperatures.

  1. Keep the lid on – If your winter worm bin has a lid, keep it on to trap heat in. If it doesn’t, use a tarp to cover the worm bed.

  2. Move the worm bin inside – Consider letting your worms move in with you during harsh winter months. Worm bins can be easily managed inside so that they don’t smell or attract pests. Not ready for your worm farm to be in your house? A garage or shed will be much warmer than the outdoors and make great places for worm composting bins.Worm Bin next to heater vent

  3. Provide insulation – Insulation can be as simple as surrounding your worm bin with hay bales or as complex as attaching sheets of blue board insulation foam. Any way you choose to do it, providing insulation will help keep your worms warm. I transformed a broken chest freezer into a worm bin. It works great and has built in insulation! Old coolers work well too.

  4. Put your worm bin next to the exhaust vent for your heater or dryer – My gas pack (heather and AC combined) has an exhaust vent that constantly blows warm air whenever the unit is one (which is often in the winter). Why not use this discharged heat to help keep your worm composting bin warm?? This technique will also work with your dryer vent that blows warm moist air.
  5. Build a large winter worm composting bed – I have found that larger worm composting systems are less susceptible to atmospheric changes than smaller systems. Therefore, it is easier to regulate the temperature of a larger worm composting system. This is especially true for keeping a large system warm in cold weather. You can add lots of food scraps at one time to a section without worrying about hurting your worms. Because the system is large, worms can move around and find a spot that is closer to their ideal temperature.

  6. Worm Bin Heating Mat
    Worm Bin Heater

    Use a Worm Bin Heater – A seed starting heating mat like this one that I use makes a great worm bin heater. Just lay the mat on top, plug it in and your worms will stay nice and toasty in cold weather. Read my review and test of this seedling heat mat as a worm farm heater here.

    VIVOSUN Durable Waterproof Seedling Heat Mat Warm Hydroponic Heating Pad 10″ x 20.75″ $12.99

WARNING: composting worms can freeze! I have had success worm composting in the winter outdoors North Carolina but it doesn’t get that cold and doesn’t stay cold for very long. The above tips will help but only up to a point. If you get extremely cold temperatures for a long period of time you need to move your worms inside to keep them alive.

If this article helped you keep your worm herd warm while worm composting in the winter, please share it with your friends. Thanks. Happy warm worm composting!

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Comments ( 6 )

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  • Tom Cahill

    Great article about winter care of worms. I am in my first year raising worms here in south central PA. Bin doing great. Just want to make sure I am doing the right thing for winter care. The temps can get down to near zero for a while, so I am not sure if leaving them outside, even with straw is a good thing. I have a garage which is attached to the house. I have a freezer in it, so I know it stays in the 30’s. I have a crawl space under the house which remains in the 40’s even during the coldest weather. Big question on this is, If I bring them into the crawl space, will ants be attracted as well, or will they be gone for the winter months?

    • Henry Owen

      My hunch is that ants will not be attracted into the crawl space with the worm bin. Ants are usually a sign that your worm bin bedding is too dry. Try increasing the moisture level of the bedding. Good luck

      • Tom Cahill

        Too dry? Never thought of that. Come to think of it I have no worms now and my bin is really damp and healthy.

          • Tom Cahill

            Sorry about that typo. No ants now. Tons of worms!!!!!

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