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So, my two kids are old enough to go fishing and have fun, but they get bored after an hour or so. I purchased some worms from a local shop, and at our rate of fishing, it's going to take a while to use them up. I was told they were pretty fresh, and they apparently came from Canada (and boy are their arms tired...). The worms are packed in a small (6"x6"x2") Styrofoam box that seems to seal itself pretty well. They are packed in dirt, and they seem pretty happy when I open the container.

How long can I expect them to last in the fridge? Is a typical home refrigerator (33-35 degrees) too cold? They were in a cooler at the bait shop, but I have no idea how cold it was.

Is there anything I can do to make the little guys more comfortable? How do I know when they are "expiring"? I guess they just quit moving, but are there other signs that it's probably time to git rid of them?

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    depends on the type of worm, but "nightcrawlers" (as they are branded by my local wal-mart) can actually last months in the fridge. These are probably the same type of worms you have (thick, larger than regular earthworms, lots of guts inside). I will use the same box of nightcrawlers for weeks, all i need to do is remember to refrigerate them when i get home. Outside of the fridge they will last max 6-8 hours. – celeriko May 23 '16 at 17:50
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    @celeriko, that sounds like an answer. :) – Roflo May 23 '16 at 22:51
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    @celeriko concur with Roflo, make that at answer. Might also mention keeping the soil moist. – James Jenkins May 24 '16 at 13:26
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The worms that you more than likely have are what most people know as "nightcrawlers". They should be larger than regular earthworms, lively when touched, and "juicy" (lots of crud comes out when you cut them up). In my experience, nightcrawlers are VERY resilient, given that you always do the following:

  • Anytime they are not being used for fishing they should be stored in the refrigerator. I always put them on the top shelf to make sure that they don't accidentally freeze.
  • They should always be in a slightly moist environment. When storing, the fridge should be totally fine. When transporting, I usually just make sure there is ample dirt in the container which helps to hold the moisture.

As long as you do these two things I have found that most brands of nightcrawlers will last MONTHS. You may notice that after a few hours of fishing, your worms will begin to get floppy and less active. This is not a big deal as long as you can get the worms immediately back into the fridge after fishing (max of about 6 hours out of the fridge at a time), I have found they will rebound and be totally fishable after a few hours in the coolbox.

One thing I usually do is only take the amount of worms that I think I'll need for my fishing session out of the container and leave the rest in the fridge. (old Chinese food takeout containers work very well, provided you wash them out) making sure to add some dirt into my travel container as well.

It is not clear from your question, but if there are no holes in the container I would poke a few to help the worms breathe.

As far as knowing when they have died, it should be pretty obvious. They will stop moving and start to dry up and shrink. Depending on the conditions, white fungus might start to form as well.

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