View Full Version : raiseing night crawlers, questions.

Al, L
04-08-2002, 01:01 PM
I'd like to get a mass amount of night crawlers and raise them for my own use on Bay De Noc walleyes. My brother and I used to pick them up in the summer after a warm rain and sell them. we kept them in a styraform cooler in the folks cool damp, Michigan basement. But they were sold out fast. :D The Question is How cool do they have to be kept, (no Mich.basement now). I've looked for information on the net but just keep getting sites where they want to sell kits and the crawelers themselfs. OH! I know that they keep well in Buss Bedding, what tempture tho?

Thanks for any advice. :cool:

04-08-2002, 01:12 PM
My brother and I used to keep dozens, if not hundreds of crawlers.

Get a large storage container with a lid - size depends on the amount of crawlers you're going to keep. Poke some small holes in the top.

We used Magic Worm Bedding - just follow the instructions on the bag to prepare it (all you have to do is add water). This stuff is available in most sporting goods stores (I believe I used to get it from K-mart).

Buy a can of worm food - you should find it right by the bedding. It comes in a can similar to a Parmesan Cheese container. Sprinkle a little on the top, wait for it to disappear, then repeat.

Keep the whole setup in your fridge. It sure saves a bundle of $$$. (I believe the container was about 6" high and covered about 3/4 of the bottom shelf of the fridge).


04-08-2002, 01:15 PM
Well, during the winter they go deep to keep from freezing. The soil temp. at 6-10 ft is a constant 55 deg. Ideally if you could keep them in a huge box buried in the ground that would work(in the shade all day long).

Here's what I do: in the spring I get as many as two styro boxes will hold(from the garden when it rains) and keep in a spare fridge in the garage. If I run out late in the summer, I buy a flat from a bait wholesaler near my house. A box will be 500 crawlers for $25-30. Comes to roughly 75 cents per dozen.

I also have a 100 gal. tank that I keep minnows in. I buy in bulk from the same wholesaler. Keep water cool and fresh for best results.

04-08-2002, 02:24 PM
I raised worms for sale a few years ago and I have some experience. Domestic night crawlers are very tough critters and live well and long in a 50-60 degree place. The warmer they are, the more active they are and the more you need to feed them. You can feed worm anything that has ever lived. all organic matter in any stage of decomposition will make them happy. If you wanted them fat and large some really fine chicken mash sprinkeled on top of their dirt every day will do nicely. If you just want them alive, any garbage will do. The one problem is that they won't multiply in captivity (a little bit maybe if you are very lucky) so you'll have to keep replenishing. You have to be careful of overcrowding. Too many worms in a too small container is the next biggest killer after being too warm. The third is rodents that eat worms, and last but still a factor is parasites.

If you want to raise worms for your own use its really a snap but the type of worm and your planned use make a difference. If you wanted to raise leaf worms, they do breed in captivity, and fed right will get nearly as big as a nightcrawler. Red worms are the most attractive to most fish. Small for some, but they will draw in a big bass sometimes because of their activity. They are also the easiest to keep and breed.

Keep them cooler than 65 degrees, and colder is better for long life.
Keep them fed
keep them in large enough containers

You'll be in worms for as long as you want to be.

I got out of the business, because even though I could sell every worm I could get my hands on, its more work than its worth unless you can grow them in huge pits outside and sell by the 10,000. count.

04-08-2002, 02:32 PM
We used to keep crawlers in one of those half-sized drums w/lid (approx. 25 gallons). We poked holes in the side of the drum, dug a hole and buried it so that they top was flush with the ground. We filled it with various top soils from around the yard. Not sure exactly how many we had in there, but it was several dozen. For food, we just put wet newspaper on the top.

That's my .02


04-08-2002, 02:37 PM
What nymph said will work. better food grows better worms though. Believe it or not, a fat active worm will attract fish better than a limp skinney one.

Also when the barrel is empty of worms they will craw in through the holes in the sides to get at the food you give them if its better than they find elsewhere. As they get crowded though, they will crawl back out too. Worms take great entertainment from escaping.

04-08-2002, 03:16 PM
Mine are kept in shredded leaves from the compost pile. Why buy bedding when nature provides and excellent product and its free. Any wooded area will provide you with all you can handle.

04-08-2002, 03:45 PM
I haven't been a "bait fisherman" for a LONG TIME.

When I was a kid I used to have one of those "bait boxes" that I filled with worm bedding. I'd go outside in the evening with a big flashlight (I used to put a Kleenex over the lens held on with a rubberband, that softened the light and worked pretty well).
I could usually pick up all that I could use in an evening or two. Of course, I didn't fish NEARLY as much then as I do now.:)
Anyway, those boxes always worked fine for me.

04-08-2002, 05:37 PM
I would keep the crawlers i got in the spring in a old freezer that i kept in a shed. I layed it down &took off hinges filled with dirt-leaves-wet newspaper. Fed scraps of food. they would stay great all summer&fall.(I did get some reproduction).

04-08-2002, 06:16 PM
You've destroyed my dream of the "DeWitt Worm Farm"

04-08-2002, 07:35 PM
If you put your crawler container in the ground, ants are a real problem. But if you'r going to ,then an easy cure for ants ,is a bit of red pepper sprinkled around the outside of your container. Ants will attack an unprotected crawler colony,and leave them with welts that eventualy kill them . Just replace the pepper after every rain

04-08-2002, 11:43 PM
I've kept them in the fridge over the summer, but never a large number of them. One thing though- make sure they're somewhere that your parent/wife doesn't put a bag of shredded cheese on top of them! :eek: They get to stink rather quickly after suffocating. :)

04-08-2002, 11:44 PM
Raise crawlers? don't know, but an old bath tub filled with rotting leaves makes a handy (cheap) way to keep them, use window screen over the drain to keep them from escaping. keep them in a cool place or bury the tub to the rim in a shaded area.

Al, L
04-09-2002, 08:49 AM
Thanks guys for all the information. There isn't any dealers in bait between home and the launch in Namha or the Stonington launch. I have to go out of my way to get any bait at all. A lot of times Foxies or St. Jakes will be out so ya to go even farther out of the way. It isn't long after we start getting 70 degree temptures its all most in possiable to dig any type of worm up. I've been building an area with grass clippings and leaves and the washed up dead reeds but isn't good enough yet. Thanks again for the information. :)

04-09-2002, 11:12 AM
Get an old refrigerater (one that works) build some boxes to fit inside, about 4-6inches high. Fill these boxes with Michigan Peet Moss, and crawlers. Stack the boxes in the frig so they aren't sealing the box below it. Every week take out the boxes, and using your hands, pick up the crawlers, and the peet mix, and stir them up alittle bit. Then every six weeks, dump out every box, one at a time, take out the crawlers, throw the peet away, put the crawlers back in, and fill with peet again. If the temp in the frig is too cold, install a small wattage light bulb to take the chill off.
What happened to using leaches on Bay De Noc?

Al, L
04-09-2002, 01:41 PM
Uncle Al, nothing happened to leaches on the bays, they still work great. I just got my fill of them in Veit Nam and swore I'd never never ever touch another one or let one touch me as long as I live. Ya! I get laughed at a lot unless were in my boat. Guess they don't cotton to swimming far.:D :) I did find a good worm site finally. Thanks to my son, and wanted to share it with all of you. Every one had The correct ideas acording to that site. which is www.squirmy-worms.com which lead to others of which I liked www.dnr.state.mo.us/deq/swmp/worm1.htm. Minnows work very well on the Bays also. I get most of mine out of the Big Fish Dam River.
Thanks again

04-09-2002, 02:07 PM
Night Crawlers will reproduce when well enough fed and not overcrowded but not enough for a bait salesman such as myself to sell and probably not enough for a real avid fiserman to NOT run out before the season does.

That said, there is a breed called African Jumpers that do breed well in captivity and seem to go out and wrestle in the bass. They wiggle so fast and fierce that they actually jump. Only trouble is they do that on the hook too, so if you don't launch them near a fish they eventually wiggle off into pieces.

Not trying to encourage or discourage any wormers, just sharing stuff I went through.

If a person grows fat active worms he can't keep from selling them. The bait shops are not very loyal, they buy any good worm they can depend on getting again when they need em.

04-09-2002, 07:32 PM
Speaking of night crawlers man they were out last night after the rain. My wife and I went to have a few and I had a few to many but came home and got 7 dozen in the front yard. Got them in my frig. in the basement. At a 1.75 a dozen It,s worth to take some time and get your own.

04-09-2002, 07:47 PM
Mike, out of my garden I'll get 1 dozen per minute on a good nite.20 minutes 20 dozen but my aching back!!! I use a red lense on my light, doesn't seem to bother them they will stay put while the light is on them.

04-10-2002, 07:18 AM
Checked out the 2 web sites you posted. The dnr site was under construction (must be part of a road crew). The other site was pretty interesting, until I saw the worm receipes. Almost lost it until I clicked on them, and found out what the ingredients were.
I've always kept a few dozen in the refrigerater in the garage, covered with wet newspaper, or dirt from the compost pile. They always last along time. Minnows live along time in the frig also.
Good Luck on the bay.