Red Wigglers Make The Best Compost...
The best type of worms to use for worm composting are the Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetidaie). There are other types of worms that can be used, but they aren’t as effective and efficient as the Red Wiggler.
They don’t convert food waste into compost as quickly and don’t do well out of their natural environment, resulting in an early death.
Red Wigglers thrive in environments that are rich in rotting vegetation such as compost and manure piles.
They’re naturally found in Europe and North America. They are surface dwellers, living in the top 6” of soil (manure or compost) and they can survive in captivity for at least a year in a compost bin. Red Wigglers are hermaphrodites, meaning they are simultaneously male and female, however, they still need two worms to reproduce.
After conception, they deposit a small, lemon shaped cocoon that contains two or more babies. There’s at least a three week gestation period and the cocoon can keep the babies safe longer, if need be, until the temperature is ideal. Red Wigglers are sexually mature in 60-90 days and once they start breeding they can deposit 2-3 cocoons a week.
Due to food limitations and the amount of room to move and breed, their population won’t exceed their bin capabilities.
Climate is very important for Red Wigglers. They require a temperature between 40°-80° to survive, but they perform best at temperatures between 50°and 70°. Their bodies are made up of 75%-90% water, so moisture is critical to their survival. Their skin needs to be wet enough for them to slide and wriggle with ease but more importantly their body surface must be moist so they can breathe!
Red Wigglers can survive for up to two weeks without food. They have a tremendous appetite and while living in a bin they eat their food and their bedding. They’re capable of eating up to their own body weight in food a day!
Red Wigglers are nature’s recyclers. It’s important to remember that when we use them for worm composting, they’re doing us a service. We remove them from their natural habitat…yank them from their home. The least we can do is provide them with a healthy and stable home.