It might sound weird to keep worms in the refrigerator, but it is something many people do. It is most commonly done by fishermen who want to keep bait on hand for when the fishing mood strikes. People also use worms to make compost for gardens, or even keep them for pets. Worms need conditions that emulate the outdoors. Provide worms with a proper home, bedding, food and temperature. Keeping worms in the fridge is not costly, and you can do it using household items.
Keep the worms in a box so they can't escape. Many sporting good stores sell worm boxes for this purpose. These boxes are made of polystyrene. The material will help keep the temperature cool. Any polystyrene container will work for housing worms. Just make sure it fits in the refrigerator, and has a lid. Plastic containers will work, but do not help control temperature as well as polystyrene. The worm box needs air holes, so poke small holes in the lid using a pen or pencil.
The worms need bedding inside the worm box so they can crawl around. Sporting good stores sell worm bedding, which is made of small strips of paper, and usually has food already mixed in. You can also make bedding by mixing shredded newspaper, moist soil and crushed eggshells. Only 1/3 of the mixture should be newspaper and eggshells, while the rest is the soil. Fill the worm box 3/4 full with the worm bedding. Place the worms on top, and let them burrow into the bedding. Once the worms are gone, use the bedding as compost for the garden.
Worms will eat half their weight in one day. Provide the worms with enough food to last them a few days. Double the combined weight of the worms, and place that amount of food in the worm box. That will last them 4 days. Worm food, which consists of plant and animal proteins, is available at sporting good stores. You can also give worms day-old bread, leftover pasta or rice. Give them peelings and scraps from fruits and vegetables. Worms are excellent garbage disposals. If keeping worms to make compost, use the scraps and not the worm food.
Do not keep worms in the refrigerator with your food. The box will take up too much room, and the refrigerator may not have the proper temperature. Use a white refrigerator, because black absorbs heat. Small dorm-sized refrigerators work well. The refrigerator does not have to be turned on, but can be kept in a shaded area with the door propped open about 1/4 inch. The small crack will let air inside. Keep the refrigerator in a cool place, and move it if the temperature becomes too high or low. The worm box and refrigerator will keep the worms cool. Whether the refrigerator is on or kept off, keep the temperature inside between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Worms do not like vibrations. Keep the refrigerator away from any appliances that might vibrate the worm box. Keep the bedding moist or the worms will die. Add a sprinkle of water every few days, if necessary. Fluff up the bedding when it becomes compact. This keeps air flowing through the bedding. Worms do not like direct sunlight. Keeping them in the worm box, and in the refrigerator, should keep them in the dark, but add another layer of protection by keeping the refrigerator in a shaded area. Do not give worms any foods that have growth hormones, antibiotics or that are high in acidity. It will kill them.
Marilla Mulwane has been writing professionally since 2005. She has published a fantasy novel for young adults and writes articles on literature, pets, video games and tattoos. Her poetry has been featured on the website and products for the nonprofit organization HALos. She graduated from the State University of New York, Oneonta with a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing.