If you are interested in home composting, there is no faster way to turn your food scraps into nutrient-rich compost than by using worms to do your dirty work. Composting worms can eat 50-100% of their body weight a day in scraps. Below is a list of the common types of worms for home composting.
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Common Types of Worms for Home Composting
There are 3 major types of worms for home composting.
- The Red Wigglers (most common)
- The European Nightcrawlers
- The African Nightcrawlers
Below is a detailed description of the 3 types of worms for composting.
Red Wigglers (Eisensia fetida) are the most common type of worms for home composting. They measure between 1½ and 2½ inches in length. These hungry worms 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. These worms 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.
European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis) are also known as the Belgian Worm, Super Red, Carolina Crawlers, Giant Redworm, ENC’s and Blue Worms. The European Nightcrawlers grow to be 3-8 inches long and look like very large, fat red wigglers. When these worms 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. One thing you may not know, is these worms are known to be prolific breeders so their numbers can increase rapidly. The ENC’s are quickly becoming the ideal bait worm. These worms are a very tough worm that can be used successfully in saltwater.
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 reptilian.
Eudrilus eugeniae better known as the African Nightcrawler like it warmer than other earthworms. They prefer temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or
above, but they can be slowly accustomed to lower temperatures -( no lower than 60 degrees F) They will die at temperatures under 50° and therefore are better suited to indoor heated environments (depending on where you live). This type of worm is very lively and is excellent for use as fishing bait, vermicomposting, and for producing worm castings. The African Nightcrawlers are used heavily in the fishing industry. They have the advantage of a longer shelf life than most other worms.
To learn more about feeding your worms: What to Feed Your Red Worms