Packing Earthworms for Sale and Shipment
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 new found 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!
The most traditional way to measuring 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 growers 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.
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 a 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 you will be shipping your worms to. 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!
MAKE A WORM BIN IN MINUTES! (cute little worm bin instructors show you how!)
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 68ºF and 73ºF makes for a perfect pre-cooling area for both packaging and packaged worms. They recommend staging the product at least twenty-four hours in the cool room so the worms and packaging material can reach the 68ºF to 73ºF temperature.
Save Money on Package Labeling
As an inexpensive way to manage labeling and still maintain a professional 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.
Read The Entire Worm Farming Series!
Buying Shipping Containers as Your Worm Business Grows
As your business grows, you may want to buy the 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 8oz. (50+ worms), 12 oz (more than 100 worms), or
16 oz. (well over 100 worms)
What You Think Really Does Matter!
Will you be trying the worm business?
Shopping for the Best Worm Container Deals
In any case, you will want to make a few calls to paper product factories near by. 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:
- "OUTSIDE MAIL" (so the postal service doesn't put the containers into mail sacks where they could be crushed)
- "LIVE EARTHWORMS"
- "DO NOT EXPOSE TO EXTREME HEAT OR COLD"
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.