Posts Tagged ‘nightcrawlers’
We get asked this question over and over. What is the difference between worms found in the yard and garden and worms used for composting?
Believe it or not, all worms are not created equal. There are three main types of worms, each one has different characteristics that make them unique. These unique traits are why some worms take to bins better than others. You can’t just go out in your yard, dig up some worms, and expect them to go to work for you in your new worm bin. Chances are you may not end up with great composting worms, and you may even find that the worms are escaping from the bin and do not appreciate being spoiled like our little friends the red wigglers. With an understanding of the different types of worms, you will gain a better perspective into the art of vermiculture.
Each one of the 4400 + named species of worms on earth can be broken down into these three main categories:
Anecic (Greek for “out of the earth”) – these are burrowing worms that come to the surface at night to drag food down into their permanent burrows deep within the mineral layers of the soil. The common nightcrawler (also known as Canadian Nightcrawler, Dew Worm & Common Earthworm) is in this category. These worms build vertical permanent burrows that extend over six feet below the earth’s surface. Believe it or not, but these worms can actually recognize their own burrows and return to it day after day. These worms feed on decaying litter and therefore must visit the surface on a regular basis. They are solitary worms and do not like living in high worm populations.
Endogeic (Greek for “within the earth”) – these are also burrowing worms but their burrows are typically more shallow and they feed on the organic matter already in the soil. These worms are the only type of worm that will actually eat soil as well as decaying organic material. These worms rarely come to the earth’s surface and spend most of their time underground in their lateral burrow systems.
Epigeic (Greek for “upon the earth”) – these worms live in the surface litter and feed on decaying organic matter. They do not have permanent burrows. These “decomposers” are the type of worm used in vermicomposting. These are our special little garbage men that work for food. They thrive in large groups and are surface feeders, not burrowers. Red Wigglers & European Nightcrawlers are both categorized in this group of composting worms. Becuase they do not build burrows, they do well in worm bins and appreciate the constant food source and moist environments that we provide for them.
I hope this helps you to gain a little understanding of the workings of earthworms and why purchasing the right kind of worm for your bin is important to your success.
Save $20 on Alabama Jumpers during the Month of February! Alabama Jumpers are great worms that can help aerate even the thickest clay soil. Just drop them in your garden, provide them with some damp organic material, and they will be very happy to go to work for you in your yard.
This is a great price for these highly desirable after worms. Don’t miss your opportunity to get started with these blowout prices.
Red Wigglers are great composters but do not do well in soil. These are huge nightcrawlers that will JUMP out of your hand.
Worms only eat DEAD material, leaves, damp newspaper, etc. THEY DO NO HARM TO ANY LIVING PLANTS.
We get asked this question a lot. Can Red Wigglers and European Nightcrawlers cohabitate? Yes they can. In fact, these two types of worms have very similiar qualities and do very well together. Both can survive in temperatures between 40 -95 degrees. They both are the most active in temperatures ranging from 65-85 degrees. Although the Red Wiggler is the most well known composting worm around, the European Nightcrawler comes in a close second. They are great composters and will eat from the same food sources as the Red Wiggler.
You may hear people say that you cannot keep Nightcrawlers in a bin because they are not the right type of worms to use for composting. This maybe true of other varieties of Nightcrawlers and earthworms that you may find in your backyard. In fact, the European Nightcrawlers do very well in all types of worm bins. We have a few pounds that we keep in a Gusanito Worm bin and they are quite happy. They migrate up through the trays with ease.
The European Nightcrawlers are similar to appearance to the Red Wigglers. However, you will notice that they are quite a bit fatter. These worms have a nice girth to them that make them a great bait worm. I personally prefer the European Nightcrawlers over the Red Wigglers because of their size. Most kids at the schools we go to also seem to have the same opionion!
So if you have trouble deciding which worms you want to get for your compost bin this spring, why not try both. We now sell these two great worms together in mixed batches. You can find them here: MIXED WORMS