Composting with Worms Guide - 5 Types to Consider⚓︎
The Five Species⚓︎
Red Wigglers - Eisenia Fetida⚓︎
- Thin, dark red worms, usually slimmer and flatter than your common garden earthworm, and they tend to have yellow stripes banding around the body.
- Reproduce quickly.
- Tolerant of quite a wide temperature range (55-95°F).
- They measure around 2-4 inches.
- Also known as manure worm, tiger worm, redworm, brandling worm, troutfish worm, and panfish worm.
Redworms - Lumbricus Rubellus⚓︎
- Tend to be a little flatter than earthworms, and have a distinctly reddish tint to them. They may have a somewhat yellow underside.
- They are fairly temperature hardy, and will survive cold winters without a problem.
- They generally measure between 1-4 inches.
European Nightcrawler - Eisenia Hortensis⚓︎
- Prefer slightly cooler temperatures.
- Slower reproduction, take about 20 weeks to reach sexual maturity.
- Generally live a little deeper down in the compost bin.
African Nightcrawler - Eudrilus Eugeniae⚓︎
- Can measure up to 12 inches when fully grown, and are thin.
- Fast to reproduce, reaching sexual maturity in just 35 days in optimal conditions.
- They don’t tolerate the cold making them unsuitable for outdoor composting in any cool environment, especially during the winter. They will die off at anything cooler than 60°F.
Indian Blue - Perionyx Excavatus⚓︎
- May look similar to red wigglers.
- Less common and harder to source.
- Reproduce quickly.
- They are smaller than the African Nightcrawler, but similar in color and iridescent in the light.
- Most will survive a temperature drop for a few days, but sustained periods of time in temperatures below 70°F may kill them.
- Known for relocating and escaping out of bins, especially if conditions are not ideal. Atmospheric pressure changes, like storms, can also cause them to try to relocate.
- Not ideal for indoor bins due to their tendency to escaping.
Keeping Worms Happy⚓︎
- A moist, but not wet, environment. If you squeeze a handful of compost, you should get a few drops of water. Think of a wrung-out sponge.
- If too much water comes out, you need to add dry ingredients; if no water comes out, it’s time to add some wet food scraps such as melon or cabbage.
- Air circulation. They cannot be kept in an air tight container.
- Food. Fruits and veggies. Avoid feeding citrus fruits and onion peelings. They may also struggle to deal with meat, dairy, or other fatty foods.
- Carbon. Worms require carbon in addition to other foods; provide shredded paper or cardboard along food scraps.
- Composting with Worms Guide: 5 Types to Consider -. (2021, April 30). Composthq.com. https://composthq.com/composting/five-types-of-composting-worms/