Can Compost Worms Survive Winter?

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Last Updated on April 1, 2022

Do you see freezing temperatures approaching in your region? Can compost worms survive winter? Well, the cold climate won’t stop composting worms from working for you in your compost bin.

Compost worms are meant to break down food scraps. In the northern area, there’s every possibility that the vermicomposting bins built there may become frozen. You may be wondering if all the worms in the bins will die or are there any ways you can save them.

There are things you may consider doing as a way forward. And the way forward will be for you to either do nothing, heat generation through insulation, prepare a warm spot and then move the worms there or keep the worms in a place with much heat, be it indoors or the basement.

Whichever way you choose to handle the situation, let’s find out if compost worms can survive winter.

Can Compost Worms Survive Winter?

Can compost worms survive winter? The answer is yes and no and we would explain why.

Worms are resilient creatures and they have been surviving long before humans even came along.

However, when compost worms are left in the worm bin to freeze, a lot of them will not survive the winter or they may all die. But the good thing is that if the bin was already established before the chilly weather sets in, the worms will likely lay eggs.

Compost Worms Surviving Winter

Now, these eggs laid can survive as long as a year in almost any weather including winter.

So, if all your compost worms get frozen by the winter, not to worry because baby worms can hatch once the weather warms up and they will continue the process of composting.

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Things To Do To Your Compost When Chilly Weather Sets In

So, if the chilly weather sets in around your area and you’re worried about your compost, below are some things you can do and your compost should be fine.

1.    Add Scrap To Your Bin To Increase The Temperature

When you leave the worms outside, they start to become inactive as the temperature drops down making them inactive. At or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for example, the worms will become incapacitated due to the cold.

They will move to the part of the bin that is warmer which is at the middle and the bottom. Although heat is naturally generated during decomposition, it is definitely not sufficient to keep the worms thriving.

Hence, you can also add organic scraps to the bin, which will help increase the temperature a bit.

2.    Do Nothing About The Situation – Can Compost Worms Survive Winter

Another thing is that the older composting worms will begin to lay eggs as they are simultaneous hermaphrodites.

This is to say that worms have male and female types of reproductive organs. But as for the contented composting worms, what they do is produce cocoons by exchanging DNA.

So, your composting quest won’t be altered if the vermicomposting bin is left outside in the winter. This is because the cocoons that are being produced can stand the freezing winter, thereby staying preserved, and then luckily, new worms begin to hatch during spring.

Another intriguing thing about these worms is that their eggs are that no matter the weather, they can survive up to a year. So, you can decide to leave your compost and let it do its thing.

3.    Heat Generation Through Insulation – Can Compost Worms Survive Winter

Adding insulation to the vermicomposting bin on the outer part can help increase the warmth on the inside. This will help keep the worms warmer.

You can use blankets, bales of straw, Styrofoam, or bubble wrap. Remember to leave space in between the coverings in order to allow ventilation into the air holes of the bin. The drainage hole must not be covered.

Moving the bin to a sheltered location, like indoors, will be a good form of double protection. This is because insulation alone can’t give a hundred percent assurance that your compost worms can survive the winter.

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Can Compost Worms Survive Winter

4.    Prepare A Warm Spot And Move The Worms There

The bin can be kept warmer when it is not exposed to cold winter wind. This can be done by moving the bin to a shelter with warmth like a shed or garage. Insulation can also be adopted. Heat sources like an incandescent light or seed tray warming mat can be used.

The bin can also be kept from freezing by using a 7-watt night light to generate enough heat for increased warmth. You will need to cover the worm bin with newspapers or a worm bin blanket if you’re using light. This is to be able to keep the worms held in the dark.

5.    Find A Heated Location And Move The Worms There

On a realistic note, when you feel cold during the chilly weather, the worms are not exempted too.

This should make you wonder if your compost worms can survive the winter. Hence, another thing you can do to protect your composting worms is to bring your vermicomposting bin indoors when it’s freezing cold. A secluded spot will do, like the cabinet, closet, corner, or beneath a kitchen sink.

However, it’s better you build a smaller bin indoors if your outdoor bin is dirty or too big to move indoors. To be successful at it, take part in the beddings as well as the composting worms you want to keep by digging them out from the vermicomposting bin. Put them in the spot you’ve created for them indoors. Keeping them in the basement is also a great idea. So, this method will make you not worry so much about how you will get to the worms to get them fed. Worms are usually very active when they and their surrounding is warm.

Find A Heated Location And Move The Worms There

Can Compost Worms Survive Winter? Conclusion

You need not to worry that your composting program will be altered after all now that you know your composting worms can survive in the winter. You can as well leave them outdoor and not worry about anything, so long as they lay their eggs or produce cocoons.

Their eggs can survive for a year, which gives guarantees of the continuity of your compost program. This is because, after the winter, the eggs will begin to hatch and the new worms will take it up from there.

However, if you are so worried about leaving your worm bin out in the cold, you can opt for insulation, moving it indoors, or preparing a secluded heated spot for your worms.


How do you keep compost worms alive in the winter?

Compost worms can be kept alive during winter by leaving them outdoors in the bin for them to lay eggs that will hatch and continue the process of compositing. You can also relocate your compost bin to a warmer place to help them.

Will my compost worms die in the winter?

Many of your worms, if not all, may die in the winter. However, there is a huge chance for these worms to lay eggs and their eggs can survive up to a year under harsh weather conditions that includes freezing conditions.

How cold is too cold for worm bin?

When the temperature is reaching 40 degrees Fahrenheit or dips below 40 degrees, then it can become too cold for these worms that it can render them inactive.

What temperature can compost worms survive?

Ideally, compost worms can require around 59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal performance. Once the temperature drops below 40 degrees, it can prove fatal for the worms.

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