May 15, 2020

Although many small landowners may be familiar with earthworms, many find it difficult and challenging to determine the exact figure of red wigglers that would be ideal for their composting bin. Ideally, an operation with about 1-2 worm beds requires only minimal labor, setup costs, and maintenance. Family labor would also be enough for this kind of operation so long as there are sufficient materials for building the worm beds and feeding the worms.

How Many Red Wigglers Do I Need?

The number of worms needed to start a worm composting bin is dependent on the size of the worm bin, and the amount of food waste to which a person has access. Reports from Academia-Research show that compost worms consume about 25%-35% of their weight every day. Other sources suggest that compost worms can eat much higher amounts up to 100% of their body weight. With such statistics, it would be fair to assume that about 11b of red wigglers are sufficient for a person who wants to start a composting bin. This figure is based on the size of food waste that these worms would eat every day.

What About the Bin Size?

The healthy number of worms should be at least 1 pound per square feet of bin surface area (1:1). Since an ordinary storage bin is 1.5ft by 2 feet in size, its surface area would be 3 sq ft (1.5 x 2). This also means the most ideal size of red wigglers per cubic foot a person should purchase should be at least 31bs. In addition, a person would also need between 5.25-7.35 lbs of food waste every week to maintain the earthworms.


It is okay to start a bin that is smaller in size than what is mentioned in this guide. However, it is important to make sure the earthworms have adequate food every time and the bin is big enough. Once the composting worms grow to an optimal size, they will eventually start to regulate their overall population. In the end, a person would find it easier to expand to a larger bin with more convenience as they see fit anytime.

About the author 

Gwen Freeman

Gwen Freeman is a keen gardener and blogger. She has a passion for organic gardening and teaching others how to live a healthier lifestyle.
Gwen has been involved with vermiculture for over 10 years.