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Packing Earthworms for Sale and Shipment

India has lots of experience with DIY projects and is here to share tips with you.

Learn how to professionally pack and ship earthworms.

Learn how to professionally pack and ship earthworms.

The Weight of Worms

While your garden and compost efforts will be rewarding as you grow earthworms, another source of income may well be at hand. Selling these dreamy diggers is quite a lucrative and easy way to make some extra money or even a full-time living. Knowing how to gather, weigh, and ship your worms can increase your newfound windfall by a large margin. This article is going to discuss just that! So let's get rolling with packing earthworms for sale and shipment!

Hand-Counting Worms

The most traditional way to measure worms for shipping to your customers is by weight. Hand-counting worms is very time-consuming, so the majority of worm growers weigh the worms. But if you do count worms, add a few extra for luck, and you are serving your customer well.

Weighing Worms for Sale

You must establish an average weight to determine how many worms you want to put in each container. Make as many as four counts when making this determination. Depending on where you are shipping to or what your location is, the number of worms in a cup can vary from as few as twelve to as many as one hundred. Knowing what your customer expects and what the norm is for the area is a must! Nothing hurts a worm grower's reputation more than when a fisherman opens a cup of worms to find fewer worms than he accounted for (this is where tossing in a few extra worms at the weigh-in can really boost your reputation). Besides, a minor overcount is somewhat normal for the industry.

Moisture Counts

After you have cleaned, weighed, and placed the worms into their containers, you will need to put pre-cooled damp packing material over the containers. Peat moss or any other material has to be moistened with water for a minimum of 24 hours prior to shipping, or the fibers won't expand and retain enough liquid. If you use peat moss, don't soak it, but rather spray water on it and stir it up, and then allow the material time to absorb the water.


How to Ship Earthworms to Withstand Extreme Weather Changes

If you ship your earthworms in a wide range of temperature differences, keep this in mind; in extreme hot or cold weather, the worms are regularly shipped in slightly drier peat moss. This reduced liquid content in the material packing will provide better insulation from the harsh changes in temperature. When the peat moss is a little drier, it takes longer for it to pre-cool, and it warms more slowly during the shipment. Make sure you are aware of the local weather conditions of where you will be shipping your worms. It's good for the worms, and your customers will be happy to see live active worms upon arrival.

Do Worms Need Food During Shipment?

If you are shipping in the short term, no extra feed will be required. Worms packed in retail cups will last one to two weeks before needing fresh material. If you're shipping bulk orders of worms in bags, they should survive for about a week, which should be plenty of time for them to reach your customers and then some.

Who Needs a Rusty Old Can of Worms Anyway?

Okay, here's the scene:

Plaid flannel shirts rock from side to side as father and son stroll down the tree-laden lane. Fishin' pole on their shoulders and a rusty old can full of worms in hand as they walk toward their secret fishing hole . . .

Quite the image. The difference today may be that the son is a daughter, and the rusty old can of worms is a pristine and attractive vented worm container full of active, healthy, and plump fishing bait, better known as your earthworms!

Worm Containers

The food industry manufactures live worm containers the same as they do for food content containers, so you can be assured they are safe for the worms. Many styles are available, including Styrofoam cups, rigid plastic cups, and wax-coated paper cups. It is very important that they have vented lids, so adequate air stays available for the worms while they are in transit. You can buy the earthworm cups plain, or you can have your logo or the printing of your choice imprinted on the cups: whatever falls within your budget constraints is going to be fine.

Pre-Cooling Worms for Shipping

Some very savvy worm growers found that pre-cooling the packaging material before adding your earthworms and then letting the packages of worms sit in a cool area before shipping will consistently reduce worm fatality.

Preparing a room that can be maintained between 68 ºF and 73 ºF makes for a perfect pre-cooling area for both packaging and packaged worms. They recommend staging the product for at least twenty-four hours in the cool room so the worms and packaging material can reach the 68 ºF to 73 ºF temperature.

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Save Money on Package Labeling

As an inexpensive way to manage labeling and still maintain a professionally packaged look, print sticky labels (like the labels used for addressing packages for mail) on your home computer, attaching them to the plain-bought worm cups before shipment. Comparing the cost difference for both is recommended. If you have VERY neat handwriting, you can simply label the cups by hand.

Buying Shipping Containers as Your Worm Business Grows

As your business grows, you may want to buy rigid plastic-style worm cups (they are slightly more expensive than Styrofoam worm containers). A couple of good benefits come with these rigid plastic worm containers:

  • they are made using recycled plastics
  • the lids are well vented and fit together snugly for better stacking capabilities
  • they don't crush under the weight of layers of stacked worm cups
  • you can acquire cups that accommodate 8 oz. (50+ worms), 12 oz. (more than 100 worms), or 16 oz. (well over 100 worms)

Shopping for the Best Worm Container Deals

In any case, you will want to make a few calls to paper product factories nearby. Get an estimate for the cups with and without the imprinting. Then see what it will cost if you buy labels, print them (ink costs), and apply them yourself. Compare the two costs, and determine which path will best serve your budget and time. Keep in mind that because your worm business is still new, the first order you place with the manufacturer will be smaller and will cost a little more per item. This price will drop significantly as you are able to buy larger quantity orders, costing you as little as a few pennies per cup.

Exterior Labeling should have four clearly visible markings:

  1. "OUTSIDE MAIL" (so the postal service doesn't put the containers into mail sacks where they could be crushed)

How To Label The Exterior Of Earthworm Shipping Boxes

Every package you mail containing live worms must be labeled for the safety of the worms.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments for "Packing Earthworms for Sale and Shipment"

Earthwormjim on March 30, 2012:

What stires and companies are buying, and can you give me some names too look intoo.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on October 29, 2010:

Eiddwen~Thank for the comments. I know, I was surprised to find I had an interest in the subject of earthworms! My partner is now an official worm fanatic as well! HubPages offers so many unexpected subjects one just never knows!

Thanks for stopping by!


Eiddwen from Wales on October 29, 2010:

well we certainly have variety here on HP. I never thought I would be reading an article on packaging ready for shipment of earthworms and more than that it was also interesting.

I may read some more of your earthworm hubs , I think my partner will be very interested.

Thanks for sharing and take care.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on October 28, 2010:

Gus~Ahhh, so your the one with the secret to those big nightcrawlers, a big leaf pile! We can learn a lot from a naturally raised worm! I bet they were very appealing to your fishing targets. You make me want to go fishing and toss a couple of cornmeal dipped catfish in a hot castiron skillet over a campfire! Thanks so much for the comment!


Gustave Kilthau from USA on October 28, 2010:

K9 - "My" worms were all from a great big pile of leaves that sat out there and composted (and grew great big worms like crazy).

Gus :-)))

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on October 28, 2010:

Hey GUS~ So cool to think back on those fun fishing years! I remember tahose big fat nightcrawlersnd! they are a hard worm to grow. They tend to set-up house in a dedicated location and so far, commercial growers haven't found a lot of success with the breed. But plenty of folks in Canada go out to the worm fields and dig up earthworms with old cans taped to their legs. It has been said that many a worm hunter have been punched in the nose for getting on someone elses worm claim! For me, I'm sticking to earthworms, not as big of a risk for a sock in the snout!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting my friend! We must go fishing sometime,I'll bring the worms!


Gustave Kilthau from USA on October 28, 2010:

K9 - This was another useful article in your fine earthworm article series. I would never have guessed that 1 pound of worms contained 1,000 of the critters. I guess it depends on their size. The worms I used to use for fishing were big, fat, and, to the fish, I suppose quite tasty, but they were "heavy."

Gus :-)))

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on October 27, 2010:

Schoolgirlforreal~ Nice to see you stopped by. I wrote another hub (EARTHWORMS - HOW TO RAISE WORMS FOR EASY MONEY) That has more of this type of information. But the worms are generally sold by weight and I have seen them go for as low as $27 and as high as $37 per pound - a pound is estimated to contain 1,000 worms as a general rule. Like anything else, the more bulk you buy, the better the price per pound becomes, and I have seen a large bulk quantity go for as little as $7 pound, but that was a lot of worms! Thanks for the comment SG!


schoolgirlforreal on October 27, 2010:

Very interesting hub. How do you get customers? How much money can you make per 50 worms?

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