Monday, February 13, 2012

Red Wigglers Compared to European Nightcrawlers

I have been composting with worms for almost 3 years in my home. I started with 1 lb of eisenia foetida and in a two year period I grew that amount to more than 19 lbs. I supplemented my composting efforts with rabbit manure purchased locally from a rabbit farmer to help multiply my worm population faster. If you have lots of worms you also need lots of food for them :-)


Here's a comparison between eisenia foetida and eisenia hortensis worms based on my experience with both types of worms.

EF's
  • 2-3 inches long  
  • small and skinny worm  
  • eat almost anything  
  • tendancy to ball up and group together in the bedding  
  • multiply quickly, 1 lb can double in size within a couple of months  
  • will compost and reproduce well in temperatures up to 100 degrees air temperature  
  • lots of room for error in bedding, they will tolerate poor bedding conditions for short periods of time 
  • commercially viable for vermicomposting ventures

 
EH's
  • 5-6 inches long (even longer when extended)  
  • fatter worm than EF's  
  • a very active worm compared to EF's  
  • do not multiply as quickly as EF's, 1 lb can double in size in 5 or 6 months  
  • tendancy to roam and will escape if conditions do not suit them  
  • favor cooler temperatures  
  • favor lots of neutral material in their bedding  
  • do not like bedding that heats up  
  • do not like bedding that is too wet  
  • appear to do well in paper and cardboard bedding with small amounts of food material  
  • commerically viable for retail and wholesale sales as a fishing worm  
  • less desireable for vermicomposting and home composting, but acceptable

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