How do I Farm European Nightcrawlers?

European nightcrawler farming can be a profitable business.
European nightcrawler farming can be a profitable business. (Image: worm image by Ksenija Djurica from

You can European nightcrawlers in small spaces and with little expense. Their farming can be profitable for a fishing worm business or for a home composting project. European nightcrawlers are also easier to raise than some other nightcrawler varieties because you keep them at room temperature, rather than cold like Canadian nightcrawlers or warm like African nightcrawlers.

Things You'll Need

  • Worm container (sized to number )
  • Peat moss
  • Worm food source (manure, organic food scraps, chicken egg laying mash)
  • pH meter or chemical pH test
  • Pulverized limestone
  • Bright light
  • Styrofoam containers with lids


Prepare the nightcrawler bed by placing peat moss in the container. Peat moss should be damp but not too wet. Water should not run out of the peat moss when squeezed. Peat moss should be about 8 inches deep in the container.

Place nightcrawlers into the worm container. Make sure not to overload the container with too many worms for the space. A small Rubbermaid container, popular with small worm farmers, can hold up to 500 breeders.

Feed nightcrawlers with vegetable food scraps, manure, or chicken egg laying mash. Nightcrawlers will compost all food, and produce worm castings that can be harvested and used as planting soil.

Turn the bedding at least every three weeks. This will allow you to see your nightcrawlers and ensure they are healthy. Test bedding pH to ensure that the level is between 6.0 and 7.0. If the soil becomes too acidic, mix in some of the pulverized limestone.


Harvest worms according to purpose. Fishing worms should be older worms, nearing the end of their productive lives. Breeding worms should be young worms, half grown. Industry standards also dictate that a 10 percent overage be included with any order to cover any worms that may die in shipping.

Dump the peat moss bedding out on a hard surface, under a bright light. Systematically remove the bedding from the top, and the nightcrawlers will dig deeper toward the hard surface. When all the bedding is removed, the nightcrawlers will be piled together in the middle of the hard surface.

Count out nightcrawlers according to age. Place nightcrawlers into Styrofoam containers for sales or shipping.

Tips & Warnings

  • Feed nightcrawlers on only half of the container in case the soil sours so that the nightcrawlers can escape to the other side of the bin.

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