Posts Tagged ‘red wigglers’
Question: I am worried about my red wiggler worms multiplying too fast for my bin size. What do I do if it gets over-populated?
Answer: That is not something you need to worry about with worms. Worms will regulate their population to the amount of food and space available.
Question: I was wondering if I could set up a worm bin and have it’s main function to be recycling my paper (junk mail, scrap paper, paper towels, etc). Is this a feasible plan?
Answer: Worms can survive on newspaper and other paper products. However, it would be equivalent to a person living off of bread and water. The paper products do not have much nutritional content for the worms. We have heard of year long worm experiments being done with paper only and the worms surviving. They are small skinny worms, but it can be done though not necessarily recommended. If this is your goal, you should supplement their diet with other “green” organic material or worm food.
Do you have questions about caring for red worms? Send them to us and we will post the answers.
Now that your worms are accustomed to their new home you will want to start slowly feeding them. We recommend that you start out with small amounts of food to get to know what your wigglers like to eat and also to monitor the quantity.
Red Wigglers are known to love Watermelon, Pureed Pumpkin (pie filling), and Corn Meal. Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to feeding your worms.
- glossy paper products
- meat products
- dairy products
- jalapenos and other spicy foods
- cat and dog poo – can be composted by the worms but not if castings are to be used in the garden. Poses a health risk.
- citrus – can make the bin acidic. OK in very small quantities on occasion
- small pieces, it is a good idea to chop food or soften it by freezing then thawing
- bury food under the bedding at least 3″ to deter fruit flies and gnats
- use rain water or well water if using city water let it sit in a bucket for 24hours before using on bedding to reduce the chemicals used in the water. Worms are like organics, they do not like chemicals.
- OK, this is Don’t but it is under the Do’s. Don’t worry about bacteria, mold and microbe populations. These organisms help break down the food matter to make it easier for the worms to consume. They also contribute to the castings. Great compost is full of microbial organisms. And castings are full of them!
Here is a list of a few of the foods we feed to our worms:
(note is is better to try small quantities of new items at first to see if your worm herd enjoys them first)
|Apples & Peels||Oatmeal|
|Bananas & Peels||Pancakes|
|Coffee Grounds & Filters||Strawberries|
|Corn Meal||Tea Leaves & Bags|
|Egg Shells (crushed)||Watermelon/ Cantaloupe|
|Garbanzo Beans||Wheat Bran|
By adding a pinch or two of cruched egg shells, sand, or dirt you can help your worms to digest the food in the list above. Worms have gizzards and need the grit that these items provide to help break down the food in the worms digestive system.
What do you feed your worms? Feel free to add to this list in the comments section.
Red Wigglers (Eisensia fetida) are the most common composting worm. They measure between 1½ and 2½ inches in length and can eat half of their body weight in food a day. In the compost bin, they are most active at temperatures between 59-77°F (15-25°C). They may still work their way through a bin at temperatures as low as 50°F. Below freezing temperatures will kill them off, however, their eggs will keep in the compost heap through the winter to revive the population come spring. Since red wigglers can survive colder temperatures than many of their composting cousins, they make great fish bait. They can stay alive in the water hours longer than your average earthworm. They can resist temperatures as low as 35° and as high as 95° F Red Wigglers tend to be very active on the hook and are a great choice when fishing for trout or panfish.
Red wigglers are also known as: Redworms, Manure Worms, Trout Worms, Tiger Worms, Compost Worms and I am sure you could come up with more to add to the list. Because of the versatility of these worms they are not only great for composting and fishing but also make great treats for your turtles, birds, and other worm loving pets you may have in your home. Your pets will thank you for such a tasty treat.
Although their smaller composting cousins, the Red Wigglers, are a well known composting bin worm, the European Nightcrawlers are a close competitor. They are great composters, stay put in their bins, and are about the size of a gummy worm. Perfect for people who love to fish and garden. They work great in our stacking worm bins and migrate upward just like the Red Wigglers. They like their soil a little moister than the Red Wigglers and are not quite as prolific. Red Wigglers and Europeans can also coexit peacfuly in a bin since they have the similiar characteristics.
European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis) are also known as the Belgian Worm, Super Red, Carolina Crawlers, Giant Redworm, ENC’s and Blue Worms. European Nightcrawlers grow to be 3-8 inches long, and look like very large, fat red wigglers. When they are not stretched out, they are as thick as a pencil. European Nightcrawlers can tolerate temperatures as low as 45° F., however, they are most active between 60° and 70° F. They are also known to be prolific breeders so their numbers can increase rapidly. The ENC’s are quickly becoming the ideal bait worm. They are a very tough worm that can be used successfully in salt water. They have also been used for ice fishing in the most frigid waters of Northwestern British columbia and have been found to be still active on the hook after 30 minutes in the freezing cold water. Nightcrawlers are also used in exotic pet markets as food for birds, fish, koi, turtles and other reptilians.