What Are Bloodworms & What Are Their Uses?

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Explaining What Are Bloodworms

Have you ever gone fishing with your friends or your family? There are a few things that are a part of the fishing checklist, and a fishing trip without either one of them is nearly impossible. Bait is one such item. You can’t catch a fish without offering any bait to attract it to your hook.

Now tell me, do you remember what you used to take as bait? I’m pretty sure that you either had some earthworms or maybe some bloodworms or something similar. But have you ever wondered what these bloodworms are and where they come from?

If your answer is yes, then my friend, you are in luck, as today I will be talking about what bloodworms are, where they come from, and what their uses are.

So stay with me till the end as we go on this adventure and explore everything there is to know about bloodworms. Read till the end and find answers to all the questions you have about bloodworms.

What Are Bloodworms?

Bloodworms are a very important part of the aquatic ecosystem. These worms have a bad reputation as they are perceived as bloodsucking parasites that feast on the blood of your fish and cause different health issues.

image of bloodworms saltwater

The name “bloodworms” can easily tell you what they look like. These worms get this name because of their blood-red color. Bloodworms get their red color because of an excess of hemoglobin in their blood.

These are the larvae of aquatic midge flies. These can be found in shallow freshwater but can also survive in dirty water because of their high hemoglobin.

These worms are equally loved by all fish and can be used as bait while fishing. These worms are a great source of protein for any kind of fish. Although most fish love to eat bloodworms, it is important to give them a varied diet.

There Are Different Types Of Bloodworms

Because of their name, “bloodworms,” you might think that there is only one type of bloodworm that is red in color. But you would be surprised to know that there are actually two types of bloodworms: one that is black and one that is red.

The black bloodworms are easy to find and have a higher nutritional value as well as higher protein content. While the red bloodworms only have about 19 percent of protein in them, the black bloodworms offer around 27 percent protein.

The black variant of bloodworms can be easily found in freshwater bodies such as ponds or lakes, but the red variant is a little harder to find. Although you will mostly find them near freshwater, at times, these worms can also grow in salt water.

Both varieties of bloodworm can be found at any pet store with ease, are very cheap, and often cost less than regular fish food.

When you feed your fish these bloodworms, you give them an essence of the wild, which can trigger their natural instincts, such as hunting. That is why including these in your fish’s diet during breeding season is a very good choice.

Lifespan Of Bloodworms

I often get asked how long these worms live in the wild. Well, from the day they are born to the day they die, they go through different stages and can have a life span of 10 days to almost a month.

The first stage of their life cycles is the egg stage. This starts from the day they are laid. After this, they transition into a larvae stage. This is the stage where they are called bloodworms and are used as fish feed and fishing bait.

The third stage is when they turn into pupals. After that comes the fourth stage, where they turn into midge flies. This is the last stage of their lifecycle.

Uses Of Bloodworms

These worms can be used for a number of things. Today I will tell you some major uses of bloodworms.

The first and most common use of bloodworms is as fish bait. The worms are loved by the fish and can be used to lure them towards your hook. If you ever go shopping for fishing supplies, always, I repeat, always pick up a pack of these worms to use as bait.

image of fish caught using bloodworm

Another major use of these worms is as fish food. These worms are a very high source of protein for your omnivorous fish. Fish absolutely love eating them. They also prove to be very good laxatives for your fish.

If your fish are blocked up due to an excess of dry food, giving them bloodworms can help them with their constipation. These are also very good dietary options during the breeding season.

There Are Several Types Of Fish That Eat Bloodworms

Do you know why bloodworms are such a good bait for fishing? Because every omnivorous or carnivorous fish loves them. No matter if it is a freshwater fish or a saltwater fish, you can feed bloodworms to any fish.

I will list some of the names of the fish that absolutely love eating these worms.

Although these fish have a special liking for bloodworms, making them their sole diet will not be a very good idea.

There are a few reasons for this. The first one being that these worms act as a laxative, and giving too much of them to your fish can disturb their digestive systems.

Another reason to not solely depend on these worms for a fish diet is that they may have high protein and iron content, but they lack various important minerals and vitamins.

A lack of those minerals, vitamins and amino acids can cause health issues for your fish. For these reasons, I recommend that you only feed bloodworms to your fish only twice a week.

How To Breed Your Own Bloodworms?

You might think that breeding bloodworms will be just as easy as breeding fish. But let me tell you that it is not as easy as it may seem.

Breeding these on your own means you need to have all the perfect conditions for these worms to grow and transition from one phase to another.

image of some bloodworms in white box

But if you still want to breed your own bloodworms, I would suggest you start by getting yourself some chironomid eggs. Keep them in a container with some manure and soil. Keep it moist and keep it in a cold and dark place.

Top up the manure after each week and wait for your eggs to hatch. After some weeks, your egg will hatch, and there you will have your bloodworms.

Collect them, and then you can feed them to your fish. Although breeding your own worms may seem cheap, it definitely is not.

What Do Bloodworms Eat?

As I have mentioned before as well, bloodworms are very simple creatures and survive off of anything. When it comes to food, they do not have any special needs that need to be taken care of.

image of bloodworms in box for fishing

These worms are detritivores in nature. Due to this reason, they can feed over any decaying organic materials such as rotten food, dead plants, household disposals, or rotting leaves. These worms can survive on garden soils that contain some amount of manure in them.

Do Bloodworms Bite?

Bloodworms do not have any teeth and, thus, can not bite. Although they do sting, that is their defense mechanism. These stings carry venom that can kill a small crustation but is not at all harmful to a human.

Although the sting may not be strong enough to kill you, it can cause some allergic reactions. These reactions may cause itching, swelling, or redness of the skin. But don’t worry; these reactions usually go away once you thoroughly wash your hands.

Where Do Bloodworms Live?

Bloodworms are aquatic creatures and can be found in both freshwater and saltwater. It is said that their first signs of existence date back almost 200 million years ago, to the Jurassic era. This was when their first larvae appeared.

image of bloodworms in a bucket with dirt

These can be found all around the world in ponds, lakes, rivers, and even garden soil. These are very common and easily found in North America and Europe.

Although these are very abundant, can be found easily, and are very cheap, many people still prefer to breed them on their own.

How Long Do Bloodworms Live?

If we talk about their entire lifecycle, starting from the day they are laid as eggs to the day they die, their lifespan is about 1 month. But if we specifically focus on the bloodworm or larvae stage, then their average life in this stage is about 2 weeks.

But you can keep them in fresh pond water to extend their lifespan a little. You can also freeze live worms or dry them and then freeze these worms for feeding your fish later.

Here Are Some Interesting Bloodworm Facts

Although I have already told you a lot of things about bloodworms, wouldn’t my blog be a little incomplete if I didn’t include any fun facts about these worms? So here are some things that you might find interesting.

  • The way that these worms capture their prey is by extending a toothed proboscis from their mouths. Although these worms can live off of any decaying organic material, they also love to eat other invertebrates and insects that are smaller than them.
  • The venom these worms release on their victims’ bodies or while protecting themselves from danger has copper in it.
  • Bloodworms undergo a metamorphosis during reproduction: their bodies change to allow them to swim rapidly to the water’s surface, where they release their gametes in the form of broadcast spawning and then die.

Final Verdict:

So I believe that everything that I have told you today will give you a great understanding of what bloodworms are. Where they live, how they grow, and where they can be found.

To conclude today’s discussion, it would be safe to say that bloodworms aren’t as bad as the reputation they have earned for themselves.

These worms are a great source of protein and iron for your fish and are an important part of the aquatic ecosystem. I would personally suggest that you add these worms to your aquariums as well.

This will not only trigger the natural hunting instincts of your fish, but since these worms feed on decaying material, they can also act as a natural filter for your aquarium and reduce the production of ammonia in your tanks.

These worms are easy to grow and cheap to buy. So be sure to feed your fish these delicious delights and make your fish happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Are Bloodworms Harmful To Humans?

Bloodworms do release venom to protect themselves from any danger that they may encounter. Although this venom can be poisonous enough to kill a small crustacean, it will never be strong enough to harm a human. The most harm it can cause is a slight allergic reaction.

#2 – What Do Bloodworms Turn Into?

Bloodworms are the larvae of midge flies. These worms go through 4 stages in their entire lifecycle, starting from an egg and all the way to evolving into midge flies.

#3 – What Happens If You Touch A Bloodworm?

You may think that touching a bloodworm might cause some sort of poisoning, but that is not the case. Their venom is not strong enough to cause any harm to a human being. The most that will happen is a slight allergic reaction.

#4 – Why Are Bloodworms So Expensive?

Contrary to popular belief that bloodworms are very expensive fish food, they are about the same price as any other commercially available dry fish food. In fact, you can breed these in your backyard as well.

#5 – Do Bloodworms Carry Parasites?

Although these are a great source of protein and iron for your fish, unfortunately, they are also a great source of parasites and may sometimes cause your fish to get sick, especially if you are using frozen or dried worms as feed.

#6 – Can Fish Eat Bloodworms Every Day?

You can feed your fish these worms every day, but it is not a very good idea. This is because these worms are rich in protein and iron but lack other vital minerals and vitamins.

And these worms are natural laxatives, which means, in excess, they can disturb your fish’s digestive system.

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  • Since 2009 I've been writing on different media portals about fishing. Here on this website, it's time to share those experiences I've witnessed in my entire life so far. Let me help you get the best stuff you need while fishing.