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Does anyone know if you can use night crawlers instead of red worms for your media bed?

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I would have to say no Justin. Crawlers do what they can to escape water. This is why you see them all over the side walks after a heavy rain. They also require a lower temperature than red worms. In the summer months, crawlers go 8 feet into the ground in order to have their ideal temp, and moisture requirements.

   On the bright side, I have heard of people making vermi-compost with something calded an African Crawler. They are pretty large, and consume a lot of food. Not sure how they tolerate water though. Don't worry about importing exotic species. All of the worms in north america are from some place else. Ours were wiped out by the glaciers thousands of years ago...

Thanks for the info! I found some one with red worms and added fish today!

This is a good question. Night crawlers need soil to survive. Their natural habitat is the deeper soil horizon layers. What you want for your media beds are redworms. These do not need soil to survive, and live naturally in the top horizon of soil made up of organic matter which they consume. Redworms actually encompass a few different worms which are lumped together , having similar characterstics.

     If you have any choice in the matter, I highly recommend getting the type of redworm called Eisenia fetida (scientific name). This is because this particular redworms does not have a wandering habit (as in it will stay in your media beds) and tolerates a wide spectrum of conditions which can occur in a media bed.There are some redworms that are very finicky, and will wander/leave (and it does occur enmasse - nightmare material) if the temperature, pH, food source are not within a narrow frame of tolerance. Not so with Einesia fetida, they are the most tolerant of redworms,and  also have the reputaton of the highest reproduction and feeding rate, which is a good thing for your media beds.

    Many will tell you that Eisenia fetida are called Red Wigglers, Tiger worms, manure worms and a host of other common names.  And yes, this is true...BUT this common name is also used for other redworms as well, which is why it is always safe to go by scientific names instead.  A person who is knowledgeable about vermiculture and vermicomposting should be able to tell you the sceintific name of the redworms they have.

   If you are just getting worms from a friend who does not know what specific type of worm he has, go ahead and give it a try, as long as they are not true night crawlers..  It won't hurt to put in what is offered to you.  Just be aware that these worms may not survive or even choose to stay put.  If they do, then, count your blessings!   These mught be Eisenia fetida. I always encourage people to give the most economical option a "go".

 

   For further info....All redworm types will work in vermicomposting...The specific type of redworm gets important if you want to put them in a contained area (avoid those with wandering habits) or in an environment where the conditions  would vary outside the specifc "comfort zone" of  that particular redworm. 

     We run a commercail scale redworm farm.  The Eisenia fetida we have here do very well in bins, media beds and outdoor windrows, piles, etc... Very tolerant.  We do not baby our redworms, but we do care for them.  They live outdoors year-round at the crest of the Cascade Mtns.. They expereince life under a blanket of snow in winter and freezing temps, and heat over 100 degrees in the summer.  They also live in media beds in our AP system in a small green house here year-round too. 

 

If you run into specific questions about the redworms you have in your particular situation, or how to manage them,  go ahead and shoot me a private message.  I am always glad to help out a fellow AP-er.

 

My best to you in your AP adventure.

 - Converse

and you sell red worms?

Converse said:

This is a good question. Night crawlers need soil to survive. Their natural habitat is the deeper soil horizon layers. What you want for your media beds are redworms. These do not need soil to survive, and live naturally in the top horizon of soil made up of organic matter which they consume. Redworms actually encompass a few different worms which are lumped together , having similar characterstics.

     If you have any choice in the matter, I highly recommend getting the type of redworm called Eisenia fetida (scientific name). This is because this particular redworms does not have a wandering habit (as in it will stay in your media beds) and tolerates a wide spectrum of conditions which can occur in a media bed.There are some redworms that are very finicky, and will wander/leave (and it does occur enmasse - nightmare material) if the temperature, pH, food source are not within a narrow frame of tolerance. Not so with Einesia fetida, they are the most tolerant of redworms,and  also have the reputaton of the highest reproduction and feeding rate, which is a good thing for your media beds.

    Many will tell you that Eisenia fetida are called Red Wigglers, Tiger worms, manure worms and a host of other common names.  And yes, this is true...BUT this common name is also used for other redworms as well, which is why it is always safe to go by scientific names instead.  A person who is knowledgeable about vermiculture and vermicomposting should be able to tell you the sceintific name of the redworms they have.

   If you are just getting worms from a friend who does not know what specific type of worm he has, go ahead and give it a try, as long as they are not true night crawlers..  It won't hurt to put in what is offered to you.  Just be aware that these worms may not survive or even choose to stay put.  If they do, then, count your blessings!   These mught be Eisenia fetida. I always encourage people to give the most economical option a "go".

 

   For further info....All redworm types will work in vermicomposting...The specific type of redworm gets important if you want to put them in a contained area (avoid those with wandering habits) or in an environment where the conditions  would vary outside the specifc "comfort zone" of  that particular redworm. 

     We run a commercail scale redworm farm.  The Eisenia fetida we have here do very well in bins, media beds and outdoor windrows, piles, etc... Very tolerant.  We do not baby our redworms, but we do care for them.  They live outdoors year-round at the crest of the Cascade Mtns.. They expereince life under a blanket of snow in winter and freezing temps, and heat over 100 degrees in the summer.  They also live in media beds in our AP system in a small green house here year-round too. 

 

If you run into specific questions about the redworms you have in your particular situation, or how to manage them,  go ahead and shoot me a private message.  I am always glad to help out a fellow AP-er.

 

My best to you in your AP adventure.

 - Converse

   Yes, however it is not my place on this forum to take business away from Sylvia who owns this website (and sells redworms in her online store), or any other person here who also sells redworms. My aim here is to give people accurate information to make informed decisions with.

    Our redworm farm  puts food on our table, and we (my spouse and I) also spend a great deal of time doing educational workshops for schools, colleges, clubs and gov't. organizations, for which we have never (yet) asked for $$ to do so  . This is not a get rich proposition.  We do keep up on the latest sound research in vermiculture/vermicomposting, so our information base is current. While we do know a lot about redworms, vermicomposting and vermiculture and have a B.S. from the Univ. of WA. in Natural Sciences to back this up,  we also realize we are not the fount of all knowledge. I mention that fact the I have a comercial scale redworm farm on this forum so that people here know I am serious about redworms, and have the experience and knowledge to back up what information I post.

 

  I would be happy to sell you redworms, if this is why you asked.  We ship all over the USA, except to Hawaii.  We ship successfully year-round.  I am also happy to answer any question you might have about vermicomposting and/or how redworms work with AP systems, even if you do not purchase from me.. Send me a private message if you'd like more info..

 

- Converse

I'm now thinking redworms in my compost bins, which are open to the soil at the bottom.  Maybe I can cultivate both redworms and native earthworms in and below the compost.

Redworms in the media beds.

I really want to get better at turning the waste stream into fish food.  Black soldier flies didn't meet my expectations this year but will be trying again next year to get that going better. 

If you already have compost outside, chances are there are going to be earthworms there. In the spring I get huge nightcrawlers in mine, along with the earthworms. I keep my Esinia Fetida enclosed in tubs in my basement. Outside in the summer. I'm still working on my grow beds, so they are not ready for the worms yet.

   Black Soldier flys. From what I was told in class at Growing Power, in order to mate they need to fly up a good 30 feet into the air. This would require quite the silo structure. How come nobody ever thinks about raising crickets? They are supposed to be easy.

Re BSF needing 30 feet - it's been shown that they can breed in a fraction of that distance.  They've been bred in inclosures, rather small ones compared to 30 feet. 

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