Other common names: Brandling Worm; Tiger Worm; Red Worm
Scientific name: Eisenia fetida
The Red Wiggler Worm (Eisenia fetida) is a species of earthworm which is an important composting worm and is also used as fish bait. Earthworms can consume most kinds of organic matter and they can eat their own body weight per day. The excreta (castings) of the worms are rich in nitrate, available forms of P, K, Ca and Mg.
Eisenia fetida thrive in decaying organic material such as rotting vegetation, compost, and manure. They are rarely found in soil, instead like Lumbricus rubellus they prefer conditions where other worms cannot survive. They are used for vermicomposting. They are native to Europe, but have been introduced (both intentionally and unintentionally) to every other continent except Antarctica, occasionally threatening native species.
Red Worms are widely sold by weight for use in vermiculture owing to their remarkable ability to process organic matter into fertile compost. They are also sold as bait.
Appearance / health:
Eisenia fetida is a moderate-sized earthworm which has bands of pink to purplish red pigmentation separated by unpigmented areas which have a yellowish hue.
Due to the nature of their work and habitat, Eisenia fetida are able to tolerate a temperature range of 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with an ideal range of 70-75 degrees.
Like other earthworms, Eisenia fetida are hermaphroditic (having reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes.). However, two worms are still required for reproduction. The two worms join clitellums (contains reproductive organs and only visible when ready to reproduce, large orangish band) and exchange sperms. Both worms then, rather than laying eggs directly, secrete cocoons that contain several eggs. These cocoons are lemon-shaped and begin as pale yellow when first laid, and become more brownish as four to six worms mature. These cocoons are clearly visible to the naked eye.
castings, kitchen scraps, nutrient rich compost, composting champion, chemical free fertilizer
household worm bin, hermaphroditic organisms earthworms, homemade wooden box, Tough little critters
Red Wriggler Worm
The red wriggler will become your best friend if you have a lot of animal waste, and plant waste. The red wriggler will consume nearly it’s bodyweight per day in debris making them nature’s most perfect composter. I have five bins of 100 gallons that I keep my worm colonies in. I easily have tens of thousands that I’ve bred over the years. Red wrigglers perform the miracle of making the soil even more nutrient dense. They are the only creature that comes to mind that takes in biomass from one end, and what it excretes from the other end is more ecologically safe, and beneficial than what went in. A starter colony of a 1,000 will turn into 12,000 within a year’s time. This worm is excellent as supplemental feed for birds, or fish. I also use mine for fishing. Especially if I’m catching minnows, trout, or sunfish. The compost created by these little miracle workers is so nutrient dense that you will see a significant difference in your plants if you use it with them. I have hundreds of birds, and as you can imagine they produce a lot of manure. I easily shovel forty pounds of manure per week out of their cages, coops, and runs. All of this material goes into my worm bins and after a year the worms have converted it into the perfect compost..
From Travis A. Wooten Jun 16 2014 11:21AM
hard working worms
Vermicomposting is an activity that just about anyone can do with some success and red wiggler worms are the best for a household worm bin. Their preferred environment is a blend of organic material composed of "greens" and "browns" with a little dirt thrown in to provide various microorganisms. We started worm composting with a homemade wooden box lined with window screen. Following the directions in Worms Eat My Garbage (a great book), we shredded paper, got it damp, mixed it with vegetable scraps and a little dirt, then added worms. They settled in pretty well at first but, since the box was on our deck outside, they struggled with the fluctuations of temperature and moisture. When we finally moved the box to our basement, we were sure all of the worms were dead (there was no sign of activity), but we decided to let it sit for awhile before ordering new worms. In a couple of weeks, there were hundreds of tiny little worms that must have hatched once we moved the box to a better environment. From that point on, the worms did beautifully, chomping their way through whatever kitchen waste we chose not to feed to the chickens, plus occasional additions of paper. The worms thrived in the continuously cool and dim basement.
After a few years, the box started to fall apart and we were planning to move, so we bought a real worm composting bin. We dug out ten gallons of beautiful, rich compost and had plenty of worm-filled starter mix for the new bin. Even though I tried to be careful to preserve worms by light-exposing the area I planned to dig up, there turned out to be a lot of worms still working in the buckets of compost when I added it to my planters. And that was after the buckets had been out in the sunlight and had been soaked with rain more than once. Tough little critters!
The new bin is working well (it has four stackable layers) and it currently resides in our crawlspace, close to the doorway so we can fill it and rearrange it as needed. My daughter harvests a few worms at a time to feed her box turtle, but it seems there is never a shortage in the bin and they are busy converting waste into fertile compost..
From joannemclain Jun 12 2014 12:22PM