Are Red Wigglers The Same As Earthworms

James Lee
• Tuesday, 22 December, 2020
• 8 min read

While you may plant a few seeds and occasionally water, it’s the worms that are putting in the long hours and sleepless nights to ensure you have a fruitful crop. Worms are great at composting too and can reduce the amount of work needed to turn your kitchen scraps into valuable fertilizer.

pumpkin wigglers vs compost worms worm vermicomposting timelapse insteading
(Source: www.youtube.com)


Between red wrigglers and earthworms, you have a complete team of willing laborers that will help you get many of the more unpleasant garden tasks done without you having to lift a finger. They tunnel ceaselessly through your garden bed, aerating the soil, its beneficial microorganisms, and all your plant’s roots.

It can eat half of its weight in food each day and transmute it into organic fertilizer in a process known as vermicomposting. Also known as nightcrawlers, this species of reddish-brown worms (Luxurious terrestrial) is well-known for being able diggers and eating dirt as they go along.

Not only can you collect them from your yard after the rain, but due to their large size, these are also the type of worm that is4h’ most commonly available from bait shops. Earthworms get oxygen through their skin, and when their tunnels fill up with rainwater they need to come to the surface to be able to breathe.

The moist surface allows them to move much faster, giving them the opportunity to travel greater distances during the rain. The diet and behavior of red wigglers (Eugenia fetid) make them a great addition to a compost pile.

Red wigglers can tolerate higher temperatures and tend to live closer to the surface in larger groups. What this means for you is that if you stock a compost bid with red wigglers, you can simply put all your kitchen scraps and other plant matter right on the surface and the worms will come up to eat it.

nightcrawlers earthworms difference between scientific wigglers terminology
(Source: www.alenagarden.com)

You also don’t have to worry about turning your compost, since these worms will eat from the top and spread their castings throughout the bin. All those organisms working together to break down your kitchen scraps can produce a lot of heat, which in turn keeps the process going.

Measuring how much food waste your family is producing daily will give you a rough idea as to how many worms you’ll need. If you notice the food isn’t being eaten quickly enough, cut back on how much you’re giving them or add more worms.

If they’re devouring your food faster than you can produce scraps, take some worms out and share with friends. Generally, “earthworm” is a term used to refer to any worm whose body is segmented, burrows into the soil and belong to the class Oligochaeta.

Red wigglers are a group of earthworms renowned for use in compost bins and as fishing baits. Without keen observation, these two types of worms may be easily confused.

Red wiggler worms measure between 2 and 3 inches long and are slightly reddish-purple in color, with singular yellowish blemishes at the tips of their tails. Another fact about red wigglers is that they are heavy breeders who live on organic waste and the microorganisms found therein.

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(Source: www.youtube.com)

By contrast, earthworms thrive in open gardens; you will likely find them in backyards and flower beds. Given that they require moist soil for their survival, earthworms normally burrow into the ground once conditions at the surface become unbearable dry and cold.

Earthworms feed on dead organic materials that they carry with them into the underground. Red wigglers are of immense help to gardeners, as they help decompose dead organic materials to humus, which adds to the fertility of the soil.

This means the gardener would have to continuously turn the compost, since the earthworms won't be bringing material to the surface. Like all annelids, the body of the worms are divided into segments, and both earthworms and red wigglers are typically reddish.

The largest earthworm ever recorded was found in South Africa and measured 22 feet long. Red wiggler worms, in slight contrast, are typically between 2 and 3 inches long and have a reddish-purple color as well as a yellow tip at the tail.

Red wigglers aren’t typically found in your backyard, however, and aren't well-suited for garden compost piles: earthworms on the other hand, sometimes confused for the range of smaller species commonly known as the “nightcrawler worm,” are ideal for outdoor gardens and can often be found in your backyard and flower beds. Because they need moist soil to survive, however, they will burrow deep into the ground if the conditions are dry or cold.

worm composting farming tea vermicomposting worms farm compost vermiculture vermicompost same bins farms garden gardening grow
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

They will also eat up to their own weight in food daily, but red wigglers always remain near the surface of the soil where they feed on dead plant material. They speed up the composting process by eating a large quantity of dead organic material and leaving castings behind for living plants to feed on.

Because they reproduce more rapidly than earthworms and stay near the surface, red wigglers are more ideal for composting bins. Both offer their own unique advantages for garden health, so it is natural to want to have both of their benefits at hand.

Different worms do this with varying efficiency, so let’s see if the earthworm and red wiggler can work together. After a rainstorm or maybe a generous watering of your garden, you’ll notice these little buggers surfacing from seemingly nowhere.

In fact, earthworm populations have been shown to increase plant growth and health in independent studies (source). In addition to aerating the soil, their tunnels also create routes through which water can percolate through the substrate, aiding in proper hydration of all of your garden fruits, veggies, and ornamentals.

The benefits of red worms (Luxurious rubella) for gardens are, admittedly, nearly identical to those of earthworms (nightcrawlers). These worms are much slenderer than the nightcrawler, are redder in hue, and are generally smaller in overall body size.

However, even though the benefits will be largely the same when compared to the nightcrawler, red worms are better equipped to work and live in your compost bin or pile more than they are for your in-ground soil. Red wigglers are excellent consumers of organic kitchen waste and provide incredibly nutrient-rich worm castings which you can use in your garden or potted plants.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to keeping red worms and nightcrawlers together in the same living space. Although it is possible to do so, there are some details to consider before you make your final decision, including the size of the worms and the container, the type of organic matter you will be using, and whether the compost bin/pile will be open to the air or closed.

The two are adapted for different environmental conditions, so it can be quite tricky to keep them together in the same container or composting system. However, with some creativity and care, you can make the perfect setup for both worms to be comfortable and thriving.

Additionally, if you are keeping nightcrawlers in a composting system, you will need a much larger containment setup than you would with red worms. Both species would have access to conditions optimal for each of them: the nightcrawlers would be able to burrow deeply into the soil, as they can either burrow into the ground soil or deeper into the compost mix (since the openness of the container or pile allows for a large collection of compost/organic matter).

Keep in mind that, if you do mix the two species in one compost pile, you will need to add them at different depths. In fact, don’t be surprised if you find earthworms showing up on their own in the lower parts of your compost pile.

The one word of caution I would offer with this is that you should probably use the pile in a “cold” compost method, meaning not turning it very often if at all. It is possible for earthworms and red worms to live together but each would require certain conditions in order for their needs to be met.

They spend their days aerating the soil, boring tunnels that help water reach deep into the plants’ roots and speeding up the composting process by eating organic matter and leaving behind their nutrient-dense worm castings. If you need a garden worm that will burrow deep into the ground, bringing with it water, air, and vital nutrients, then an earthworm is for you.

Most of the time, a thriving garden will depend on a healthy ecosystem of multiple worm species working together. Both compost and garden worms are two very different varieties with specialized tasks and purposes.

Each worm has its own strengths and weaknesses, so they must work together to increase the productivity and health of a garden. They live near the surface of the soil, burrowing only a couple of inches and coming out whenever there’s food available.

They’re voracious eaters of kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other biodegradable organic matter and can also tolerate higher temperatures than earthworms, making them the perfect addition to any compost pile. They are usually solitary creatures that spend their days digging through the ground in search of rotting leaves and other decaying matter.

They live in large groups near the surface of the soil and will feast on rotting vegetation, manure and compost. They also prefer a higher carbon to nitrogen ratio, making them well suited for composting “brown” material.

Red wigglers are slightly smaller than earthworms and have a dark red to purple hue to their skin. Unlike earthworms, red wigglers are social worms that live in large groups.

Since they inhabit different areas of the soil, earthworms and red worms can live together without competing for resources. Earthworms will burrow deep underground, however, while red worms will stay near the surface of the soil.

Not only do they not consume fresh organic matter like red worms, but they also need a lot of space to burrow. European nightcrawlers (Eugenia forensic), however, make a great addition to a compost setup.

They will ensure that the bottom areas of a vermicompost bin are well composted and won’t compete with the surface-dwelling red worms. Common earthworms can be purchased at most garden or fishing supply stores as well as ordered online, often labeled Nightcrawlers.

If you’re interested in purchasing European nightcrawlers, you can find them at most specialty gardening stores, as well as online. Composting worms, such as red wigglers, are somewhat harder to find but should still be available at most specialty gardening stores, even if just seasonally.

Castings, or worm compost, can be added directly to soil and garden beds. Many people make the mistake of loading their vermicomposting enclosure with earthworms they’ve dug up from their garden, only to find them all dead at the bottom of the bin a few days later.

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