Types of Worms
There are specific types of worms to use in a worm farm and they are commonly available mail order. Sometimes different worm species can be bought as a set so you can become more knowledgeable about the different species available.
Different worm species will not hybridize so can be mixed together in a farm. Mail order worm locations can be found in www.findworms.com
Or you can go to the fishing section of a large department store like Walmart, buy some bait worms and breed them in your farm. Obtaining worms from digging in your back yard will not work; they are simply not suitable for a worm farm.
Worms are nature's recyclers; changing organic waste into fertilizer and typically consume anywhere from half to their own weight in waste per day.
On average they mature sexually in 60 to 90 days and lay egg capsules every week to week and a half which hatch in a few weeks. Sexually mature worms have a red band around their body.
It is estimated a population of 1 thousand worms will reproduce into 1 million worms in a year depending on worm species and worm farm conditions.
There are up to 6 types of worms suitable for a worm farm: the Red Wiggler (pictured here), the African Nightcrawler, the Canadian nightcrawler, the Alabama Jumper, the Florida Wiggler and the European Nightcrawler. This is by no means an all inclusive list; there may be other worm species suitable for farming I do not mention.
The Red Wiggler or Tiger Worm is by far the most common worm found in a worm farm. They are large, very hardy, reproduce easily and are great for composting and bait fishing. They do not burrow deep and they thrive in a high population density. If you are starting a worm farm these are the types of worms I would recommend.
One thing to note: a few people are allergic to these worms and will develop a rash after touching them.
European Nightcrawlers or Belgian Red Worms are great composters and great for bait fishing even in saltwater. Growing larger than a red wiggler this worm thrives in room temperature. It is easy to grow but it is not yet that popular in the USA due to its newness - it was only recently introduced to worm farms.
Florida Wigglers will burrow deep but leave their castings near the top of the worm farm. They are medium sized red worms able to tolerate heat better than cold.
African Nightcrawlers breed fast and grow large but cannot tolerate cold. Once the temperature plummets to 50 degrees (10 C) these worms will stop reproducing and may even die but, indoors, they will do well in a cold climate.
They make a good fishing bait worm and are good composters but, be careful, if they are not kept happy in their environment they will crawl away in a mass exodus.
Canadian Nightcrawlers are huge, fat and make excellent fishing bait but are difficult to propogate. Their native habitat is Canada so they cannot tolerate heat. They can also burrow down to 10 feet.
Alabama Jumpers, despite their name, originated in the tropics of South Asia so cannot tolerate cold. They are a good compost producer and make good fishing bait. Unlike other worms they prefer tightly packed, sandy soil and are not very tolerant of having their environment disturbed.
This wraps up my discussion on worms. If I have left anything out please let me know...
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