Save yourself some money and collect your own worms for bait this summer.
There is no telling how much money I have spent buying worms and other live baits over the years. Which is really silly when you think about it because the ground is literally filled with them.
On average, a healthy acre of soil has of 50,000 worms in it. You could take the old-fashioned route by grabbing a shovel and digging them straight out, but where is the fun in that?
There are actually quite a few ways to draw them out and they are pretty effective. I have tried a few of these myself with great results. Here are five ways to lure worms out to collect for bait.
1. Mustard Power
Next time you are at the grocery store pick yourself up a box of dry mustard. Fill up a watering can with water and add the mustard. Find a few cool areas like under bushes in your flower bed and sprinkle it over the area.
The mustard is very irritating to worms and will have them headed straight for the surface to get away. Just have your bucket handy to collect them as they pop up.
2. Worm Whispering
Worm grunting is an age-old traditional way to gather earth worms. There are even competitions held in the U.S. and U.K. for people who love to worm grunt. The person with the most worms at the end of a set time limit wins.
The concept is to drive a wooden stake into the ground and then drag a steel "rooping iron" across the top of the stake to make it vibrate. The theory is this makes the worms think a mole is coming for them so they come to the surface to escape.
Sounds crazy, I know, but it really does work. Check out this video of Mike Rowe from "Dirty Jobs" giving it a shot.
3. Shock'em Out
This is a very unorthodox way to collect worms, but it is very effective. You will need metal rods, at least a six-volt battery, and two pieces of wire.
Remember, you are dealing with electricity here so be careful where you are standing and what you touch.
Start by driving your rods into the ground and attaching one of the wires to each. Hook the other ends up to the battery and wait for worms to start popping up.
This works well but can harm the worms and cause them to die if exposed to electricity for too long.
4. Try to Clean Them
Apparently, worms like to stay dirty so trying to clean them with soap upsets them into coming out of the ground.
Get yourself a bucket of water and add some mild dish soap to it. Mix it around and pour it over a given area.
This works much like the mustard mixture from above. Apparently, the soap irritates them and makes the soil hard to breath in so they burst forth to the surface to be hauled off by you.
5. Make it Rain
This is probably the simplest way out of all of them to collect worms. Just grab your hose and start wetting down an area while watching for worms to come up. It's just that simple and can be done sitting in a lawn chair with a cool drink in your hand.
This is a great activity to get your kids outside. They will have a blast picking up worms while you bait them out of the ground.
Store the worms you capture in containers with lids that have holes poked in them for the worms to breath. Fill the container with loose, moist soil and drop them in one by one to allow them a chance to bury themselves before the next is added.
Don't forget to sprinkle some coffee grounds in to give them something to munch on if you don't plan to use them right away.
Worms can be stored in the refrigerator for short periods of time, but the cold will kill them. It is best to store them in a dark, cool area out of direct sunlight.