Yesterday was too cold for me to go outside and check the bins! Seriously the morning temp was 30, and I didn’t want to disturb the worms! So today, Wednesday, I headed out there excited to see their progress. They were busy eating away at all the waste. You can see 2 worms above.
Red Wigglers are hermaphrodites. Which means, they have both male and female reproductive organs. Although they have both organs, they still need each other to mate. Being around these magnificent creatures, I have witnessed this amazing procedure. They actually form a knot, a “love knot”. While knotted up, a mucus forms around the band, the clitellum. The mucus contains sperm, and the sperm is deposited in the microscopic sac located underneath the clitellum. As days past, the mucus will harden and form a cocoon. The Red Wiggler will then back it’s head out of the clitellum and the cocoon will be deposited into the bedding.
Now that the weather is warmer in Bend, I have been noticing many egg cocoons. The worms are becoming more active and therefore mating a bunch more. They leave behind a golden tear shaped cocoon. It almost looks like a seed (see photo). The color of the cocoon will change as the baby worms develop. Right before they hatch, the cocoon will be a deep red almost maroon color. Inside, there are about 5-10 babies ready to feed on the kitchen scraps. It takes about 3 weeks for the babies to emerge. Once they have hatched, it takes about 8 weeks for them to be an adult worm and the mating process will begin again.