Fishing with worms is one of the oldest practices, but keeping worm farms to supply your fishing needs is not always possible.
Buying worms from a store is a nice commodity, but often you don’t use all the worms from the packet, and instead of throwing them away, you put them in the fridge for next time.
The problem is, will your worms still be alive when this next time comes?
On average, worms will last in the fridge for 2-4 weeks under the right conditions.
The Average Life Length of Worms In the Fridge
The longevity of worms in the fridge depends on a few factors
- type of the worm,
- their age, which also means their size,
- how long they have been stored before you bought them,
- what habitat they have in their box in the fridge.
Usually, live worms come in boxes with premade substrate – moist earth, shredded paper, or a mix of both. It helps to keep the worms protected from drying and keeps them busy and fed for a while.
Not many sellers can tell you the age of worms they sell or how long they have been stored in that box, so there is a small gamble to predict how long your worms will last.
Young worms can live longer but need more food and are more prone to freezing in lower temperatures.
Another thing is the species of worms you buy. Although most of them look the same, they are distinguishable. Each species of worms can survive in different environments.
There are three types of nightcrawlers, and each species can withstand different conditions, which means some of them can last in the fridge longer than others.
- European nightcrawler (Eisenia hortensis or Dendrobaena veneta) is one of the biggest worms on the fishing bait market. They can survive temperatures as low as 50F, but it slows them down considerably and affects their longevity.
It means that in your average fridge with 40-45F, without proper bedding and protection, they can only survive for up to two weeks before they are too cold.
- African nightcrawler (Eudrilus eugeniae) comes from a tropical climate, and therefore their preferred temperature is between 75 and 86F. They thrive in warm climates and can withstand high temperatures, but put them in the fridge, and they will wither down fast.
African nightcrawlers can not survive temperatures below 60F for too long. Although there is no scientific proof to that statement, many anglers have already tested the theory: these tropical worms won’t last a week in the fridge.
- Canadian nightcrawlers (Lumbricus terrestris), which, in fact, are native to Europe and were introduced in North America, require a temperature of about 39 – 50F. It means they can survive in the fridge for quite a long time, usually well over two months.
However, they must be kept in a container with small holes poked in the lid in order to get enough air, and they have to have enough food, moisture, proper bedding, and space.
If you are lucky, you can keep red wigglers (Eisenia andrei) in a fridge for up to two weeks before they are too cold to move and starve to death or freeze.
Red worms are not overly fond of cold, and therefore they can’t last long in the fridge. Their preferred temperature is about 77F, and they like to live in about 80% of moisture to feel comfortable.
Any temperature lower than 50F will considerably slow the worms down, and although they can function for a while before freezing, they can’t feed properly, which lowers their survival.
Tiger worms (Eisenia fetida) are known as very resilient little worms.
Although they are often mistaken for Eisenia andrei because of their similar looks and the common name of the red wiggler, the Eisenia fetida thrive in a wide range of temperatures, between 55 – 90F, but can also withstand lower temperatures for a while.
It means that they can survive in your fridge for about a month before the temperature slows them down, and they eventually stop eating and starve.
Bloodworms seem to thrive in cold environments, and they can do well in the fridge for a long time, as long as they have enough air and space. They also can’t get wet with fresh water since they are marine creatures.
They can survive in the fridge for just over a month in their original environment (the seaweed they come with), providing you open the container every day to give them some fresh air.
Many people put them in bigger containers and often add an Instant Ocean saltwater mix to prolong bloodworms’ lives in the fridge.
How To Increase the Life of Worms In the Fridge?
As mentioned above, to keep bloodworms alive almost indefinitely, you can put them in a waterproof container with saltwater and seaweed or sea moss and holes on the lid for air circulation.
As they are feeding on detritus, the dead plant matter should provide enough food for the worms.
There is a little bit different story with earthworms, like nightcrawlers and tiger worms. Short of starting a worm farm, you can only do so much to increase your worms’ survival in the fridge.
The amount of space you give the worms is significant. Many stores provide live worms in little cups or small plastic containers.
Worms, especially Canadian nightcrawlers, need to move a lot and need at least a square inch of space per inch of a worm.
Moving them to a bigger container and adding a little bit more moist soil with shredded paper would definitely help extend worms’ lives in the fridge.
Food is another matter. Many people would swear that fish food is great to feed worms in the fridge, and others would claim that worms can survive on just what they have been provided with when you buy them.
The fact is that if you want to keep your worms alive in the fridge for a long time, you need to provide them with some food.
They eat decomposing matter, so tossing very small pieces of veggies will provide enough nutrition for them to thrive, even if it’s cold. Make sure you don’t overfeed them.
Storing worms in the fridge is a very well-known way of keeping them around for the next fishing trip.
However, depending on the type of worm you buy, it may not be the greatest idea to store them in a cold environment.
Some worms don’t simply go to sleep like bears until it gets warm again. Instead, they stop eating and starve to death or freeze. Worms also don’t like drastic changes in temperatures, so taking all of them out of the fridge to put them back in drastically decreases their chances of survival.
A simple check of the type of worm can tell you a lot about their longevity in the fridge and the treatment they should get to survive, so make sure you ask the seller.