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The Dirt on Shipping Worms!

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010


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While browsing the internet this evening, I found this unsolicited You-Tube video.   Good stuff, especially because this was a review on a completely random worm shipment.    It also represents what you should expect when you purchase Red Wigglers, regardless of if they were picked up or shipped. 

Some Background….A few months ago,  Gaia (The woman that made this video) called me to tell me she was extremely pleased about the worms she received from me.    She said she was doing a comparison among several companies, and these were the best looking and most active worms she had received.  She was surprised because she did not expect the worms to be in such great shape after traveling across the country.

I’d like to take this opportunity to clear up some common misperceptions regarding shipping of worms.  I’ve often wondered just how these misperceptions originated as most of them have no factual basis.  I’ve never spoken to a worm (Yet), but based on thousands of customer responses about how great their worms look when received, I’m pretty confident in offering my supported opinion here.

Misperception #1 – Shipping causes great stress on Worms

Here is what I know.  Poor packaging, bad shipping bedding, unhealthy worms,  all would give the impression that it’s SHIPPING that causes worms to arrive dead or next to dead.  Great product, carefully packaged results in you receiving great worms.  The random sample in the video above speaks for itself.  The reality is, I could hand you a bag of near death worms, and you would then own a bag of near death worms.  Bad worms are bad worms…shipping (done right) is just some extra time spent in bedding.

Occasionally, (we’re talking much less than 1% of the time), a box of worms can get left in a hot mail truck or a freezing cold mail truck.  In these cases, yep, poor handling killed the  worms.  These cases are so rare, they are basically a non issue.  More commonly,  worms arrive doa due to roasting in a hot mailbox all afternoon (This can easily be avoided by asking for a post office hold on your order).

Misperception #2 – Shipping great distances causes great stress on Worms

I’m one of the few companies that successfully ships worms into Canada.  How is it that we have such great success doing so?  Great product, carefully packaged results in you receiving great worms.  When shipping across borders, worms are held up in customs.  When shipping to Canada, you can expect an extra 4-6 day customs delay in addition to the 1-3 days most orders take to arrive.  I’ve  seen extreme cases where an order has been sent back due to a bad shipping address…in some cases up to 3 WEEKS in transit.  Incredibly, the worms were alive when we the bag was opened!  Why am I sharing this?  As much as we gripe and moan about the USPS, the reality is, they do a pretty darned good job most of the time.  Especially when you consider the magnitude of freight they move every day!!!  Unless something really goes haywire, a box of worms takes no more than 3 days to ship coast to coast.  If the worms are healthy and packaged properly, a 3 day trip is like a nap to a worm.  Can I prove it?  Thousands of  happy customers makes me pretty confident in my statement.

Misperception #3 – Shipping bedding (For Red Wigglers) is only good if it is nice and damp

If you hear this one, it’s either from someone that doesn’t understand the shipping process, or from someone that is about to ship you a package of doa worms!  The reality is that when shipping bagged redworms (Different process than a container of bait worms),  moisture is the enemy.  In hot temps, excess moisture will  literally steam your worms to death.  In extreme cold, excess moisture will create ice crystals in your bedding, lowering the bedding temperature needlessly.  Your shipping bedding needs very little moisture.  This has been confirmed thousands of times.   If (temporary) dry shipping bedding (Shipping bedding is not meant to be permanent, it’s only meant to support your worms to their destination) was detrimental to worms, the worms you receive would definitely not look like the ones in the video!

The reality is, shipping should not be perceived as an inconvenience.  Quite the opposite, as shipping is the ultimate convenience.  The fact that you can order worms from anywhere in North America and receive them days later (Shipped to your door happy and healthy) is a testament to modern technology.