How Long do Worms Last in the Fridge?

A pair of hands holding some earthworms

In this article we will directly answer the question ‘How long do worms last in the fridge?’.

This question is super common among fisherman ,but before you can figure out how long your worms will last in the fridge you need to know what type of worm you have.

In most fishing bait shops if you ask for worms you will be given a species of nightcrawler, which are larger than normal earthworms that tend to move a lot when you touch them. Nightcrawlers can last over a month in the fridge if you store them properly.

The other type of worm that are used for fishing are mealworms. These aren’t as common as nightcrawlers, and usually last 2 weeks at a time in a fridge but this cycle can be repeated.

What Type of Worm do you Have?

Below we will outline some of the key differences between the most common types of worms used for fishing so you can understand what type of worm you have if you are unsure.


Nightcrawlers are the most common type of worm that you’ll get at the local fishing bait shop. Nightcrawlers look like your generic earthworm but are larger in size and have more guts to them. Nightcrawlers can vary a little in appearance, but they almost always look something similar to the image below.

African Night Crawler – Credit

In the US Canadian nightcrawlers are almost always supplied in fishing shops, whereas European nightcrawlers are the most common in Europe. The key difference is that Canadian nightcrawlers are significantly larger.

Any type of nightcrawler can be stored in the fridge to last over a month in the same way.


Mealworms are great for fishing – most fish will eat them, but usually they are best for catfish, perch and bass.

In terms of appearance mealworms are super easy to tell apart from other worms. You can take a look at the image below, but mealworms are golden brown with a hard exterior – usually some of them will have turned into cocoons that are small and white.

A close up pf mealworms
Mealworms – credit

How to Store the Worms

Now you know what type of worm you have, it’s time to take a look at how exactly to store them in the fridge so that they can last as long as possible

The good thing is that most worms will last a long time in the fridge as they tend to be very hardy, so let’s jump into it.

Storing Nightcrawlers in the Fridge

Nightcrawlers are more simple to store than mealworms and tend to be a lot more hardy. All you really need is a plastic container with small holes for aeration and some dirt.

Add a small amount of dirt to the container alongside the worms and place the container into the fridge, making sure it doesn’t freeze. The only thing you have to be careful with is making sure that they stay in the fridge when not being used for fishing as they won’t survive long out of the fridge. Worms don’t like changes in temperature so be sure to only take what you need with you.

Storing Mealworms in the Fridge

Mealworms need to be stored in a plastic box capable of holding all of your worms with some space to spare.

Firstly, add a layer of mealworm bedding around 1 inch deep to the plastic container followed by the worms. Add another 1 inch layer of bedding and seal the container, making sure to pierce the top of the container to provide aeration.

Once the container is ready you can add this to the fridge and leave the worms for two weeks at a time. Every two weeks the worms will require to stay at room temperature for around 24 hours with a small amount of water added to the container. This cycle can be repeated as many times as the worms can handle, just try not to overdo it.

Long Term Worm Storage

Fridges really aren’t great for long term storage of worms. If you are looking for a longer term way of keeping them, then it’s best to look into specialist equipment such as a worm keeper.

Worm keepers are specially made to store worms long term by regulating temperature and humidity, so if you’re looking for a more permanent option then this is the way to go.

Should I Feed the Worms When Storing Them?

Giving your worms some food can help them to survive for longer.

The best food to give them is powdered worm food, that can be bought at most fishing bait supply shops. You simply put the instructed amount over the worms and it’ll keep them fed for a good while.

You can also use damp coffee grounds as well if you have any around the house.

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