How long will nightcrawlers live in the refrigerator?

Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by Jeffery Jago

Do you find yourself with a surplus of nightcrawlers after a day of fishing? Wondering what the heck to do with them? You’re not alone. In this article, we’ll answer all your burning questions and give you tips on how to extend their lifespan, whether it’s in your fridge or your backyard.

How to Keep Nightcrawlers Alive

Keeping nightcrawlers alive for an extended period requires some thought and preparation. Below are some guidelines to ensure your worms live a long and productive life:


Nightcrawlers are sensitive to temperature. A fridge set to its coldest setting—without reaching freezing temperatures—is ideal. The cold slows down their metabolism, reducing their need for food and oxygen, thus prolonging their life.


Worms breathe through their skin, which means they require a moist environment to survive. Saturated newspapers or a damp soil mix can help maintain the necessary moisture levels. Ensure the medium is wet but not waterlogged.


A ventilated plastic container is your best bet for housing nightcrawlers. Make sure to place this container inside a plastic bag before putting it in the fridge, as this will help maintain a stable temperature and moisture level.


Contrary to popular belief, nightcrawlers in the fridge still require nourishment. However, caution is key. A small handful of vegetable scraps or specialized worm food every two weeks should suffice. Overfeeding can cause mold and bacterial growth, which can be detrimental to your worm colony.

Lifespan in the Refrigerator

While the fridge isn’t a natural habitat for nightcrawlers, it can serve as a temporary home where they can survive up to six months if conditions are optimal. This semi-hibernative state allows them to survive but not to thrive.

Tips for Extending Their Life in the Fridge

Here are some additional tips for those who choose the refrigerator route:

  1. Regular Checks: Consistent monitoring is crucial. Check the moisture level of the soil or newspaper every few days.
  2. Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding can lead to a depletion of resources and increased waste, which can negatively affect your worms. Make sure your container is spacious enough.
  3. Storage Position: For the most stable temperature, place the worm container at the back of the fridge.

How to Start Your Own Nightcrawler Farm

If you find yourself regularly in need of nightcrawlers, starting your own worm farm might be your best long-term solution.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Container: Start with a large, dark-colored plastic container with a lid. Drill small holes for ventilation.
  2. Soil: Fill the container halfway with organic, pesticide-free soil.
  3. Food: Introduce a mixture of vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and leaf litter.
  4. Worms: Add your nightcrawler population.
  5. Maintenance: Keep the soil moist, and feed the worms every few days.
  6. Harvest: The best time to harvest is at night when the worms are most active. Use a flashlight to spot them and gently pick them out of the soil.

If you need more tips and instructions, check out this handy video by Wilderstead


In summary, keeping nightcrawlers in the fridge is a viable short-term solution, but for long-term sustainability, a nightcrawler farm is the way to go. With proper care and maintenance, your worms can not only survive but thrive, serving as a continuous source for whatever your needs may be. You should only ever need to buy worms once!