Making a worm bed

Tina’s Outdoor Worm Bin Experiment

By Tina Ligon (Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado)

Our old refrigerator, we had the freon removed and stripped it of all parts

Background – This outdoor worm bin is located at ~7800’ in the foothills west of the Denver/Boulder area of Colorado (40 degrees latitude).

This experiment began in August 2009. We took our old refrigerator to a recycler and had the Freon removed and then stripped of all the mechanical parts so that we were left with a great insulated box. I did have to construct a new lid because the original doors got lost at the recyclers. I drilled several holes in the bottom for drainage. I also had to build a flat spot for the bin as is the case with all yard projects when you live on a slope. The original bedding consisted of old compost, straw, sawdust, shredded cardboard and some kitchen/garden scraps for a depth of about 4 inches. When leaves became available, I added a 4-5 inch layer as a food source and insulation.

I had to build a new lid because the door got lost at the recyclers

Once I had the bedding in place for about a week, I went to volunteer for our local worm man, John Anderson (http://www.cowormman.com) for a morning in exchange for a wealth of information as well as a five gallon bucket of worms and bedding. I can’t tell you exactly how many worms were in there, I didn’t count them. After I checked the bedding to make sure the temperature was staying pretty constant I dumped in the worms and let them settle into their new home. There is a carpet cover on top of the bedding to help maintain moisture and darkness.

After the initial break-in phase my goal was to increase the volume of the bedding before the weather cooled off for more thermal mass. So I dug into one end and added more bedding (similar to the original mix). So the total height was about 6-8”. Note on bedding: I keep an ongoing pile of cardboard egg cartons, shredded newspaper, other torn cardboard and a trashcan of leaves to add when I feed.

This is 2 inch insulation cut to fit the box

I also took some 2 inch rigid foam that I had and made an insert for the top of the bin. There are some gaps so it is not airtight. This piece of foam seems critical to keeping the inside of this bin warmer and moister. I have added some old straw bales on the non-south sides of the bin for added protection, especially on the west end to block our prevailing westerly winds.

Old carpet covering the worm bed

The temp has cooled off to about 65-70. My goal is to keep it in this range. On sunny days that I am around and can monitor, I open the lid and put a translucent cover on the bin to get some solar gain to heat the bin. You do have to watch this as it is amazing how warm it can get in there. But I am hoping this will help me with heating during the winter as we do usually get some sunny spurts of weather here for most of the winter. We have already had a few significant snowfalls (a couple of 1 footers and 1 – 3 footer) and cold spells (extended cloudy weather and temps in the teens) and so far so good. I realize this is the beginning of the winter season and have the colder weather to go yet.

Trying to warm these wigglers up a bit, solar power!

Lots of worm castings just below leaf layer

I have harvested about 4 pounds of worms out of the bin to start 2 indoor bins (the Rubbermaid type). One I gave to my neighbor and the other is my insurance of a worm supply in case of an outside disaster.

I have worms of all ages and stages going in the outdoor bin. There are lots of cocoons and babies so all seems good. The plan is to harvest the castings in March (assuming a stretch of decent weather) and put the worms back in with new bedding. If all goes well there should be extra worms by then to try some other projects. I have also started a log for temperature data and notes.

Silly lesson learned number 1 – Worms need air – As the weather started to cool I thought I should try to tighten up the bin’s air leakage some. I added a seal around the edge of the top with a few small gaps. The next morning I went out and the worms were staging a mass exodus up the walls seeking air, oops. I removed the seal from the two short ends so more air can circulate and all seems well.

Silly lesson learned number 2 – Composting creates heat – I added some food scraps (which I keep in a five gallon bucket to start decomposing before adding) and covered with about 4 inches of leaves. There was enough composting action going on to heat up the area to about 90 and some worms were again staging a revolt and trying to leave. So I had to pull the leaves back to let it cool off a bit. I now make sure I add food to only half the bin at a time and monitor the temp for a few days. I am trying to use this to my advantage now to create wanted heat.

Some More Pictures

Happy worms, they love these rotting leaves

A 3-4 in. layer of leaves for more insulation and bedding/food, east end

Kitchen meat thermometer, I fed this end over a week ago, it is about 4 degrees higher than west end

West end

West end, 78 degrees

Simple thermometer with outdoor probe near bottom of the bin, reads 66, air temp 54

Some extra insulation

Bentley here – I just want to take the opportunity to send a BIG thank you to Tina for putting together this article and letting me post her great photos. Being the winter worm composting nut that I am, I was definitely keen to learn more when she first told me about the refrigerator worm bin, and am so pleased to include this among our great guest posts here on the blog. Speaking of which, if YOU have something vermicomposting-related that you would like to share, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Here it is. As long as me, just about. For those new people who haven’t seen this before, I posted out how we made it here. It annoyed me that when this huge freezer died it was expected that it would end up in landfill. So I asked for suggestions on how I could use it. Some folk suggested ponds. Scott, ever helpful, suggested that I put it aside and use it for my coffin. “Frugal till the last” was the term he used, I think. As full of genius as that idea was, I’m not planning to shake off this mortal coil for a good 100 years or so and by that time the freezer would have rusted away.
So a worm farm it became.

Underneath the drainage hole is a bucket with “worm wee” in it. Some folk prefer to say “worm tea” but they’re dirty rotten liars. No way Twinings would have anything to do with this liquid.
I didn’t check this bucket for ages after we put the worms in and let them start doing their thing. Then a few weeks ago I thought I’d better have a gander and the bucket was full to overflowing! I was so rapt. I gave the fruit trees a drink and gave the worms some minced up veggie peelings as a reward. It works!!


Here’s how it looks inside when you lift the lid. There’s shredded newspaper and rice hulls on the top to keep them warm and contented.

Once you scrape back the topping there’s worm castings and worms. Lovely!
I only took this one blurry photo because I was getting worm castings under my nails and I didn’t want to leave it there for very long. Yuck! (I may be an urban farmer but I’m still a girl from the suburbs. Some things take a little getting used to, ok?)

So all in all I think we can class this as a success. The worm wee is already fertilising my plants for free, while the worm castings are gradually accumulating and will one day be used to improve the soil in the wicking beds. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing worm farm in the world, but as it’s artfully tucked behind the water tank you can’t see it from the house so it doesn’t matter.

Quite pleased with how this turned out.

How To Build a Worm Farm

It’s basic stuff, but the increased crop productivity, and long-term benefits of vermicompost are undeniable. Soil conditioned with this “black gold,” is what keeps many farm and garden operations from going under. It improves soil structure, increases yield and even improves the taste of fruits and vegetables, and makes them last longer in the field. And, it doesn’t require fancy chemicals or industrial packaging. It does it the old fashioned way, with millions of employees. Squirmy, red employees. Red Wigglers, or Eisenia fetida, to be exact.

Vermicompost can be produced in a tiny urban closet, or on a large ranch. In Sonoma County, California, Jack Chambers goes big. He produces 35,000 pounds a month at Sonoma Valley Worm Farm. Chambers bought the 1-acre operation in 1992, and since then, he figures he’s diverted 1.8 million tons of food from entering landfills by recycling agricultural waste, and selling worms to home composters.

It all starts with manure from a nearby organic dairy. This is subject to what Chambers calls the “pre-composting phase.” The waste is delivered to the farm and pile composted at high temperatures to kill weed seeds, and pathogens. “We also want to get some of the heat energy out so the worms aren’t cooked when they start the process,” adds Chambers.The worms are fed cooled-down compost twice a week in 12 continuous-flow composting beds. Each of the beds are 80 feet long and measure five feet across. Then the worms do the dirty work.

Chambers estimates that there are between 10 and 12 million worms working on his farm on any given day. After their work is done, a blade slices off the finished compost from the bottom of the rows. “We might slice a couple worms, but most are in the top six inches of the bed because that’s where the food is,” explains Chambers.

Every so often, worms themselves are harvested for sale. That’s when Chambers’ crew bring out the “worm separator,” a giant rotating disc that pushes both worms and compost through a long rotating screen. The heavier material goes into a wheelbarrow and the worms are screened out and fall into a waiting bucket. “They look like spaghetti,” he says, and adds “we make sure that they are clean when we sell them, so that when our customers buy two pounds of worms, they get worms and not soil.”

Lots of folks buy Chambers’ worm compost, from high-end Napa Valley wineries to celebrities with names like Oprah and Martha. Alternatively, you can grow your own “black gold” in your backyard or apartment. To be master of your own worm farm, round up some simple materials and some red, wiggly employees, and get to it.

What You Need:

Worms: Eisenia fetida, are the most common type of worm used for vermicomposting. These worms are sold by the pound at many gardening centers or bait shops. You don’t need a lot to start a home worm bin. One pound of these guys is equivalent to 1,000 worms. They reproduce like crazy and regulate their number based on the amount of food available.

Two plastic bins: We used 18 plastic storage bins with snap on lids. The box you use needs to be at least 12” deep. Make sure they’re opaque. Worms like it dark.

A drill

A small flowerpot or a brick

Some old newspapers and household food waste

Putting it all together is easy. Master Vermicomposter Meghan Elliot shows you how:

1. Mark out holes on one of the bins. Using a pencil, mark out a series of holes around all four sides of the top of the bin. Mark out about 20 holes in the bottom of the bin. Leave the other bin blank. Take one of the lids and mark out enough holes so that the bin will get some air exchange. We made our hole pattern for the lid in the shape of a worm.

2. Drill out the holes. For the lid and sides we used a 3/32” drill bit. For the bottom holes, we used a larger 3/16” bit.

3. Stack your bins. Put a brick or flowerpot in the undrilled bin and stack the drilled bin on top. This allows some space for the liquid to drain out of the top bin into the bottom one.

4. Prepare the bedding. Elliot says that the bedding materials are like “browns” in garden compost. Shredded newspapers work great, as does torn up corrugated cardboard. A few dried leaves work too. Just avoid anything with glossy color printing or leaves with a lot of volatile oil or strong scent. Once your bedding is in place, wet it down until it’s the consistency of a wet sponge. It should be moist, but fluffy.

5. Lay out some worm food. Table scraps are the best. Just don’t add any oil or animal products like bone, meat or fat, or any dairy like butter or yoghurt. Citrus is okay, and Elliot says that the blue mold that naturally occurs on citrus peels is actually good and it inoculates your bin with beneficial substances that help your worms do their work. Just go moderately with acidic substances like citrus and coffee grounds. “Diversity is the key,” she explains.

6. Add the wigglers. Once your bin is all set, bury a small amount of food scraps and let your worms loose on it. Worms naturally go for the dark, so they’ll bury themselves in your table scraps. Don’t worry, they usually can’t find their way out of the bin and escape. They don’t want that anyway, and neither do you.

7. Tuck them in. To avoid fruit fly infestation, and worm escapees, take a few sheets of wet newspaper and lay them flat on top of your bedding. Then take a few more wet sheets and roll them up. Tuck them around the corners to form a seal so that everything stays in place and your worms are protected.

8. Put them to work. Don’t expect much in the first few weeks. They are getting over the trauma of a new home. Once they’re up to it, though, they can consume up to their own weight in food a day. So, if you put in roughly 1 pound of worms, try putting in just about a pound of scraps a day. Don’t worry if you put in too much or too little, just make sure you add a variety of food scraps, so that the little guys will have something to munch on. You can feed them every few days, or as infrequently as once every two weeks. Just make sure you replace the food that is disappearing. You’ll see that some foods break down quickly (like ripe fruit) and others take forever (like root veggies and cabbage). To avoid bad smells, bury your food scraps underneath some bedding and vary the location of the food throughout the box.

9. Harvest your worm compost. Once the worms have done their work, you will see vermicompost in the bin. It’s dark brown and looks like coffee grounds. To get some, without using fancy machinery, lure the worms to another area of the bin with fresh food. In a few days most of the worms will be working the new area, so you can carefully scoop out the finished compost. It’s okay if you have a few worms hanging on. Just make sure you leave most of them in the bin to keep working. You can also detach the top bin and pour out the “juice” that accumulates in the bottom bin. This stuff is like a high-energy drink for your plants. Dilute it or aerate it and feed your houseplants. And thank your employees.

Shredded newspaper makes excellent worm bedding material

Instead of soil, composting worms live in moist bedding material. Worm bedding refers to the material that is both high in carbon and also moisture absorbent. It creates a habitat for your worms to thrive in. And if the conditions in the bin are not quite right, it also gives your worms some temporary respite. The most important step in setting up a worm farm is selecting the right bedding material. The ongoing moisture level of the worm bin bedding is also important to keep on top of.

Worm bin bedding usually consists of a mix of carbon materials and needs to be at about 80% moisture level. The bedding material should feel like a damp sponge, moist but not dripping.

Worm bedding is a long term food source for worms. In fact, up to 50% of a worms diet may consist of its bedding. Bedding also helps to keep the bin conditions balanced in general (C:N ratio, moisture level, oxygen content etc…). Some of the most common problems that arise in a worm farm are fixable by adding some fresh bedding.

Characteristics of Great Worm Bedding Material

The best bedding material:

  • absorbs and holds moisture
  • allows oxygen flow
  • is pH neutral
  • odorless
  • is free of any sharp or abrasive things that can harm the worms’ sensitive skin
  • block out light
  • free of chemicals

The Ultimate Worm Farm Guide for Beginners

Are you thinking about starting a worm farm? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to start a worm farm.

What to Use as Bedding Material

Egg cartons made from recycled paper are a good variety to add as worm bedding.

Here’s a list of common bedding materials you can add into the worm bin.

  • Brown cardboard (cut into small pieces)
  • Paper (not bleached white office paper, shredded)
  • Newspaper (not colored, shredded)
  • Aged compost
  • Aged horse or cow manure
  • Coco coir or coco fiber
  • Peat moss
  • Straw and hay
  • Fall leaves and other yard waste
  • Wood chips

The best approach is to add a variety of bedding materials in the worm bin. This will balance the strengths and weaknesses of different materials. For example, some materials hold more moisture than others such as peat moss and coco fiber (coir). Leaves usually do not hold as much moisture as cardboard or paper. While bulkier materials such as cardboard are better at creating more air pockets in the bin. Furthermore, hay and straw do provide great space for air and worm movement because of their structure.

A variety of different worm bedding materials will result in a greater mix of nutrients, improving the quality of finished worm castings.

Note that adding dry leaves could introduce some unwanted creatures into the worm bin. This may not be a problem though.

And if you’re adding compost for worm bedding, make sure that it is aged past the compost heating stage. Otherwise the head can kill your worms.

Item Image
Brown Cardboard

Shredded cardboard is essential for worm bin bedding.
Source: cvhomemag.com

Provides lots of air pockets. Absorbs moisture well. Brown cardboard has a C:N ratio of 350:1.
Shredded Newspaper

Shredded newspaper makes excellent worm farm bedding material

I always have a lot of old newspaper hanging around. If you do not own a shredder, hold a few pieces together and tear long vertical strips by hand. Shredded newspaper has a C:N ratio ~175:1.
Aged Compost

Aged Compost
Source: teedandbrown.com

Excellent bedding to help get your worm bin started. Mix it in with other food scraps and bedding materials.
Coco Coir Super water absorbent. Excellent bedding to help get your worm bin started.
Peat Moss Super water absorbent. Peat moss is slightly acidic. So do not add too much. Peat moss has a C:N of 58:1.
Straw / Hay Occasionally I add straw for some variety. Straw has a C:N ratio of 75:1. Provides lots of air space due to it’s structure.
Dry Leaves

Add dry garden leaves into your worm bin.
Source: thealternative.in

Not very water absorbent. Risk of introducing pests into the bin. Note that adding green leaves will add moisture and heat (similar to grass clippings). Dry leaves has a C:N ratio of 60:1.
Wood Chips

Source: daviddomoney.com

Wood chips has a C:N ratio of 400:1. Add some wood chips to increase the C:N ratio. Remember an ideal C:N ratio should be between 20:1 and 35:1 for worm composting. You can achieve this by adding equals amounts of greens and browns. See feeding worms.

Colored Print and Office Paper

You should avoid using colored print or glossy sections of the newspaper as bedding. These sometimes contain heavy metals which can be a problem.

Most office paper is made from wood, and in it’s natural state is actually brown in color. To change the color of paper from its natural brown color to white, it needs to be bleached. A chlorine-based bleach is typically used o make the paper white. The bleaching process creates dioxins and other toxic chemicals. These chemicals can irritate and harm your worms.

How to Add Bedding Into the Worm Bin

Brand new Worm Cafe worm farm with fresh bedding to get things started

Worm bedding material needs to be at about 80% moisture level. Hence you should dampen the bedding material before adding it into the worm bin to keep things moist. The bedding material should feel like a damp sponge, moist but not dripping.

I choose to only add materials that I always have available such as newspaper and cardboard. Don’t forget that newspaper must be shredded and cardboard cut into smaller pieces before adding in.

Make sure the worm bedding does not matt together in large chunks. This can cause anaerobic (without oxygen) decomposition and a foul odor. Once a week you should lightly lift and fluff the bedding material to create air space and to prevent it from compacting.

There should always be a higher carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N) contained in the worm bin. For worm composting, conditions are generally ideal with a carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratio of between 20:1 and 35:1. Always remember, you can never add too much worm bedding on top. When in doubt, add more paper! When adding worm food into the bin, mix some bedding in to optimize the decomposition rate. Worms live in the dark and will more happily eat food that has been covered up.

Quick Tips

  • When feeding your worms, always add some extra worm bedding.
  • Maintain a nice thick dry layer of bedding on the top. Keep topping this later up as it gets moistened and shrinks down.

Worm Bin Bedding

Overview of worm compost bedding material to be used in your vermicomposting bin

Worm composting (vermicomposting) is a composting process in which you feed your food scraps to a specific type of earthworm (red wigglers). Composting worms need moist bedding in order to survive. Almost any carbon source can be used as worm bin bedding, but some worm bedding material works better than others. This article will give you an overview of what worm bin bedding material works best and where to get it.

What to Use as Worm Bin Bedding

Almost any carbon source can be used as worm bin bedding, but some worm bedding material works better than others. Remember, your worm composting bin bedding material needs to be at about 80% moisture level. For more on that read Moisture Level of Worm Bin

  • Shredded Paper makes an excellent worm bin bedding. I prefer to use shredded newspaper but any type of shredded paper will work. Avoid the glossy section of the newspaper or the glossy junk mail. Shredded (ripped into strips about 1 inch wide) newspaper has enough bulk that it creates room for airflow and for the worms to wiggle around it but it also does a great job of absorbing and holding in moisture. Another benefit is that you can easily find a free source of paper. You may also have a home paper shredder that you use to dispose of sensitive security information. I take great pleasure in feeding my red worms my paid bills and unwanted credit card offers! Be careful that your shredded paper worm bedding doesn’t matt together in large chunks as this can cause anaerobic (without oxygen) decomposition and a foul odor. To avoid this, simply mix and fluffy the bedding so that it doesn’t stick together.
  • Shredded Corrugated Cardboard is another good source of worm composting bedding. Cardboard is thicker than paper so it takes longer for the worms to process it (eat it and poop it out!). Corrugated cardboard leaves room for air and worm movement because of the space in each piece of cardboard. You can probably find a free source of cardboard (one large box will fill a worm bin). One drawback to using corrugated cardboard as your primary source of worm bin bedding is that it is difficult to shred or tear. You will make your hands sore tearing it up.
  • Dry Dead Leaves can also be used as worm bin bedding. They are free and plentiful (especially in the Fall). One benefit is that they do not need to be shred or torn up. Leaves usually do not hold as much moisture as cardboard or paper so you may need to add water to keep the composting worms at the optimal moisture level. One drawback to using leaves is you will also be adding some other little creatures and bugs that were living in the leaves. This is not a problem for the worms but it may be for you, especially if you keep your worm bin inside. Avoid using magnolia leaves as they are too large and waxy to be used as worm bin bedding.
  • Hay or Straw works well as worm bedding material, however unless you live on a farm, you will need to purchase the hay or straw. another drawback is that hay and straw do not hold moisture as well as paper and cardboard. Hay and straw do provide great space for air and worm movement because of their structure.
  • Coir is another option for worm bin bedding. Coir is a natural material that is made from the husk of the coconut shell. You will need to purchase it if you want to use it. It holds moisture very well and is fluffy and nice to work with. You may have received a brick of it with your initial purchase of worms depending on where you ordered from. You can purchase a worm bin refill kit here.
  • Half Finished Pile Compost can also be used as worm farm bedding. If you have an outdoor hot compost pile already then this is another free option. You want to use material from your hot compost pile that is about half way finished. Once it is totally finished it is too much like dirt. Remember, red wiggler composting worms live above the soil and cannot tunnel through dirt like night crawlers can. To use it as worm bin bedding, pull some half finished compost out of your pile, add some water, and add it to your worm composting bin. It will be mostly leaves and therefore will have some extra critters in it. I choose not to use pile compost in my worm bin because I would rather wait for it to finish and then use the hot pile compost in my vegetable garden.

Worm composting is a great way to turn a waste product (food scraps) into a nutrient rich plant fertilizer (worm poop!). Composting worms need moist bedding to live in. Think of it as their furniture. Almost any carbon source can be used as worm bin bedding, but some may fit your vermicomposting system better. You will need to add more bedding to your worm bin as your feed and care for your worms.

The cost and inconvenience of buying live bait is a nuisance when fishing with worms. If you only need live worms occasionally, stopping by the bait shop is no big deal. However, frequent worm fishing requires a significant amount of live bait. You save time and money by keeping your own supply of worms on hand. As a pleasant side-effect, the worms generate compost that makes your plants grow strong. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers three varieties of fishing worms and advice on cultivating each one.

Types of Fishing Worms

The three types of fishing worms we offer are:

  • Mealworms
  • European Night Crawlers (Super Reds)
  • Red Worms (Red Wigglers)

Draw on your expertise to decide which type of worm you need. Some anglers swear by mealworms for catching panfish; others like the red worm for catching edible fish species. Most agree that the European Night Crawler is perfect for larger fish and ice fishing; panfish also love these larger worms.

Mealworms as Fishing Bait

Mealworms are quite versatile bait. You can use them as live loose feed; in pastes and mixes; on hooks, hair rigged, or glued to a cork ball; and for several styles of fishing. Opinions differ on whether the mealworm should be live or dried. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers live meal worms. Live meal worms can last up to 9 months under ideal conditions. It’s a balancing act to provide nutrients so they grow, while keeping them cold so they don’t mature. If they are kept too warm, they will mature into Darkling Beetles. See our detailed instructions on keeping mealworms alive.

You can also build your own mealworm farm. First, order live mealworms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. You will be using some for fishing before new mealworms grow to size. Therefore, order extra mealworms for immediate use. Then, look online for instructions and videos on building a mealworm farm.

European Night Crawlers as Fishing Bait

Fat and juicy, European Night Crawlers are a treat that few fish can resist! Growing 4″ to 5″ in length, these highly active worms are easy to cultivate. Cupped bait works just fine for spontaneous or infrequent fishing trips. However, avid anglers need a convenient and constant supply of live worms. If you treat your worms well, they will reproduce.You need to make a home for your worms. They must be kept at the right temperature. They will need feeding. Composting is a fun hobby the entire household can enjoy. Composting also reduces trash and odor. Here is the brief checklist:

  1. Find a suitable location for your worm bin or worm box – not too hot, not too cold.
  2. Build or buy a worm bin. For European Night Crawlers, Uncle Jim recommends making a bin from a plastic tote or ordering our Worm Ranch Kit. Make sure the bin has air holes, drainage holes, and a lid.
  3. Order Super Reds (European Night Crawlers) from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm.
  4. Set up the bedding according to instructions. Pure peat moss, for example, makes excellent bedding. You will need to moisten and stir the bedding until it feels like a wrung-out sponge.
  5. Place the worms on top of the bedding. Let them dig in.
  6. Provide feedings a few times a week. See worm feeding instructions.

Whenever you need worms for fishing, reach in and grab some! Keeping the bin dark will increase the chances that they will be closer to the surface. These worms tend to live deeper in the bedding. You can use “bait” such as food to attract them to a specific location.

Every 3 to 6 months, harvest some of the material from the bin. Leave the worms in the bin. The bedding will gradually be replaced by worm poop (humus). This organic material is filled with nutrients and soil-friendly bacteria that plants love! Dig humus into your garden and potted plants, spray it on as worm tea, or mix with other material to grow starts. If you don’t need it right away, store it in a sack or bucket, or give it to a neighbor.

Red Worms as Fishing Bait

Red Wigglers or Red Worms are useful as fishing bait. Smaller than Super Reds, Red Worms are perfect composting worms. Fishing enthusiasts use them for catching various panfish. Just follow our instructions above for setting up a worm bin. However, your best bet is to order a tray-based worm bin from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. The trays make harvesting the humus much easier. Also, most of the worms will live in the top trays. They will be easier to find when you want to get out on the water.

Conclusion

Frequent anglers appreciate having live bait on hand. Growing worms as fishing bait saves money and time. The quality of the worms will be high. Trying to find an open bait shop during the wee hours can cut into valuable fishing time. Mealworms, European Night Crawlers, and Red Wigglers are easy to keep at home. Just provide a box, bedding, and food. The worms will do the rest. Every few months, you get a bonus: free fertilizer for your garden. It’s win-win, and you can get started on the Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm website. We are the #1 supplier of composting worms in the United States.

Really simple-to-use tools, available to everyone!

In this brief video (3′ 14’’), from O’Reilly website, Chad Russell constructs a simple computer worm using one of the well known tools for malware building, “Internet Worm Maker Thing”.

Internet Worm Maker Thing is a free tool by which wich can make many kinds of malware and worms with the ability of infect victim’s drives, files, shows message, disable anti-virus software and much more.

The VBS script can be compiled into executable in order to elude antivirus.

Frightened? Consider that there are a lot of similar tools, for example:

DelMe Virus Maker

DelMe Virus Maker has more features than Internet Worm Maker Thing and a more simple UX.
The generated malware can be saved in VBS format (and after compiled with other tools).

JPS Virus Maker

Similar to previous tools, but with some additional ‘offensive’ features.

And this tools are freely available on internet, with just a simple search on google: any script kiddie (or angry employee) can download one of this application and turn into a threat.

So, update you antivirus/antimalware, always!

Chad Russell

Chad Russell is a cyber security veteran of 15 years who has held CISSP, CCNP, MCSE, and MCDBA certifications. Chad has taught Microsoft Engineering courses as a certified trainer, and has acted as a security engineering consultant for companies such as SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle. Currently, Chad conducts security risk assessments for companies throughout North America with an emphasis on cloud security, identity governances, network security, social engineering, mobile security, breach assessments, database security, and access management.

What Is a Computer Worm? Tips to Protect Your PC in 2020

There are dozens of different kinds of malware: viruses, Trojans, bots, ransomware, and plenty more. All of them can wreak absolute havoc on your computer if you’re not protected.

One of the most nefarious of the bunch is the class of malware known as computer worms.

Computer worms are special kinds of malware that replicate and spread by themselves without any human interaction, which is exactly what makes them so dangerous.

Here’s our guide to computer worms, how to tell the difference between a worm and a virus, and how to keep your computer and network protected in 2020.

What’s the Difference Between a Worm and a Virus?

The defining aspect of a worm is that it can infect your computer, replicate itself, and go on to infect another computer, all without any input from you or a human attacker.

If it sounds an awful lot like a virus, that’s because the two are similar. But there are a few key distinctions computer users should be aware of.

Purpose

Viruses are usually designed to inflict damage on a target computer. Usually, once activated, a virus will corrupt or destroy data on your machine.

Worms, often, have only one purposes: replicate and spread. Their primary intent is not usually to manipulate data, software, or systems on your computer.

However, through large-scale replication, worms can seriously disrupt computer performance and cause damage to an entire network of machines.

Execution

Viruses need human input to become active. You may download a virus, for example, thinking it’s a harmless email attachment. Then, when you open it, the malware launches.

Or you may unknowingly install and open a virus when you download and use a piece of free software from a suspicious source.

Worms don’t need any input. Once a worm has made its way into your machine, it will begin making copies of itself and spreading to even more machines using a variety of techniques.

This can all happen without you even knowing about it.

Spread

Again, viruses usually require some human interaction in order to take hold. The most common way that viruses typically spread is through a user being tricked into download and executing it.

This can happen through:

  • Clicking on malicious ads
  • Downloading harmful email attachments
  • Installing freeware
  • Participating in P2P sharing

Worms don’t need any help from you or anyone else — typically they scour your network connection for vulnerabilities or exploits in order to make their way to new machines.

However, worm variations like IM worms and email worms can force the target machine to send messages containing the worm to users in a stored contact list; blurring the line between worm and virus even more.

(If you’ve ever had your friends tell you they received a suspicious message from you that you don’t remember sending, chances are it was a worm.)

Virus / worm hybrids are also common, where the malware can spread without any human contact like a worm, but delivers a virus-like payload to inflict damage on every machine it interacts with.

Signs Your Computer Might Have a Worm

It can be difficult to detect the presence of a worm on your computer.

Unlike viruses, worms very often pass (relatively) harmlessly through your machine, quietly replicating themselves in the background.

Though they can, they usually don’t hijack your files, serve obnoxious pop-up ads, or destroy your data.

The two biggest signs your computer might have a worm are:

Performance or Speed Problems

Rapid replication and spread of a worm through your network can drain your computer’s resources in a hurry.

If you find your computer is moving slow, or your network seems to have slowed to a crawl, it’s worth investigating. There could be a malicious worm hogging network bandwidth and processing power in the background.

Unusual Computer Behavior

The general rule of thumb is to pay attention to anything weird, for lack of a better word!

If, while using your computer, you see:

  • Unusual error messages
  • Strange icons
  • Unexplained changes in appearance or layout
  • Or anything else that raises your alarms

Then you should investigate. These could be signs that a worm or other malware has infected your system.

If you start to suspect your computer might be infected, you should take action in a hurry.

How to Protect Your Device from Worms in 2020

If your computer becomes infected with a worm, it’s likely not because of anything you did or didn’t do!

Remember, worms can replicate and spread through all kinds of devious methods without any input from you.

(So it’s probably not because you clicked on a shady ad or downloaded it accidentally.)

That said, there are a few things you can do regularly to help keep your computer, and your entire network, safe from worms:

Update All Systems and Software Regularly

Worms thrive on vulnerabilities that remain unpatched.

Their primary method of spreading from machine to machine is through security loopholes in the software or systems your computer is running.

The good news is that, once known, these exploits are often patched quickly. But you have to be sure to install the updated software as soon as you’re able to stay protected.

Next time your computer bugs you to update your software or operating system, don’t procrastinate!

Practice Safe Internet Behavior

Though it’s not their preferred method of travel, certain kinds of worms (and worm/virus hybrids) can be spread through malicious downloads or email attachments.

When browsing the web or using your computer, be sure to:

  • Never download attachments unless you know exactly what they are and who they’re from
  • Avoid free software from untrusted marketplaces
  • Be extremely cautious using P2P file sharing
  • Don’t click on ads, especially ones from brands and websites you aren’t familiar with

These tips won’t stop bugs from sneaking in the backdoor of your operating system, but you can at least avoid inviting them in through the front door.

Install a Powerful Antivirus and Run Regular Scans

Worms can be a nightmare to remove once they take hold of your computer, and worse, they can sneak in without you even knowing.

But with a strong antivirus on your side, you improve your chances against them dramatically.

Choose a reputable antivirus from our hand-tested list and make sure to keep it regularly updated, as new virus and worm definitions are constantly being added to antivirus libraries.

Keep Worms Out with a Strong Defense Plan

Worms can be scary. Often, they simply replicate themselves to overload your computer and network, but some hybrid versions can cause catastrophic damage to your data.

Remember to keep all of your software and operating systems up to date. Install security patches as soon as possible!

And choose a powerful antivirus to be your first and last line of defense. The best ones will be able to keep worms out of your machine, and they’ll also be your best tool for removing them if you’re already infected.

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