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Are Red Wigglers The Same As Jumping Worms

author
Ava Flores
• Sunday, 10 January, 2021
• 7 min read

Jumping Worms: The Creepy, Damaging Invasive You Don’t Know Skip to content Photo © Susan Day / UW Madison ArboretumDisturb a jumping worm, and it’s like a nightcrawler on steroids: It violently writhes on the forest floor, recalling a snake in a bad horror movie. But put aside the creepy factor: jumping worms may be the next big threat to northern forests.

worms eat worm wiggler farm composting wigglers compost infographic bins bin food magnet refrigerator feeding vermicompost poster garden waste vermicomposting
(Source: thesquirmfirm.com)

Contents

Jumping worms, consisting of various non-native species from multiple genera, have become established in a number of eastern and southeastern states. In 2013, species from the genus Months were confirmed for the first time in the Upper Midwest, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.

In the forests and prairies of the Upper Midwest, the jumping worm could significantly alter habitats and decrease biodiversity. Photo © Susan Day / UW Madison ArboretumOverlooked in all this earthworm love is an important fact: in a significant portion of the North American continent, no native earthworms have existed since before the Ice Age.

In short, the jumping worm could have profound effects on the overall forest ecosystem. They die in the fall, but leave tiny cocoons that spend the winter in the soil.

At this time of year, many people are raking leaves into a pile and setting them by the road to be picked up or converted into mulch. If you live in the Upper Midwest, and see a writhing, snake-like earthworm in your backyard, report it to your state natural resources department.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also has a handy identification card to help you distinguish the jumping worm from the common nightcrawler. Wisconsin DNR also suggests examining potted plants and gardening and landscaping materials for the presence of jumping worms.

fries french eat wigglers should they
(Source: thesquirmfirm.com)

I've read in other places that Red Wrigglers, however, will live in either compost or soil. I don't want to worry that my compost worms can't make the move into my garden.

Vermicomposting is a form of composting that involves the natural process of decomposition using various species. You can identify wigglers by their physical attributes, such as color and size, as well as their behavior.

Red Wigglers are two to five inches in length They are Reddish Brown In color Red Wigglers have Stripes or rings of different shades They have a bulging area on their body called the flagellum Red Wigglers can secrete a yellowish liquid with a foul smell to word off predators They often have a yellowish Tipped Tail The Red Wiggler stays close to the surface of the topsoil The Red Wiggler is one of the few earthworms that produces the exact chemical makeup that the soil needs.

The Worm Castings contain abundant amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Since people often confuse traditional nightcrawler earthworms with red wigglers, we needed a better way to identify these compost worms at all stages, which is why we created this interactive guide.

Both worms exchange sperm, which is then placed into the albumin sac, with the eggs and amniotic fluid. The red wiggler cocoon is tiny, about the size of a grape seed.

worm eggs worms egg earthworm lay reproduction capsules many wigglers farm sacks etc food composting harvester plant
(Source: www.wormsetc.com)

The cocoons start as clear, then turn white, yellow, and finally reddish-brown when ready to hatch. As long as all the conditions are correctly met, the earthworm should start to peek its head out.

Temperature between 65-85 Degrees Farhenhieght 80-90% moisture content Proper air circulation pH Neutral, or 7.0 (they can survive between 4.2-8.0 or higher alkalinity). After the eggs are fertilized inside the cocoon, they start turning into Zygotes.

The Cocoon is surprisingly adaptive to most weather conditions; in fact, the pupae can even remain frozen for years with all the life intact when it reaches ideal temperatures. The recommended temperature is between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit with a moisture level of 80-90 percent.

You need to have adequate space and food for them to reproduce, and there are no dominant traits to take into consideration. The larvae are not as ideal for composting as the fully developed Red Wiggler (Eugenia Fetid).

Looking similar to their cousin, they are often confused with other earthworms such as the European Nightcrawler, or Eugenia Forensic. The Common Garden Worm (Eugenia Forensic), or European nightcrawler, can easily be confused with the red wiggler.

worms wiggler composting worm feed bin through flow
(Source: www.youtube.com)

The Red Wiggler looks closer to the Eugenia Andrei, which looks identical except for having a slightly darker reddish tint, and less pronounced stripes on the worm. A unique characteristic of the Red Wiggler is that it will secrete a foul-smelling liquid to rid itself of possible predators.

The Red Wiggler will consume up to half of its weight in nitrogen (food waste) and paper or leaves (carbon) daily. Start with smaller amounts of food and increase servings until you find the right balance.

It would be best if you never fed your worms things like Citrus Fruit, Meats, bones, spices, grease, dairy, or non-biodegradable materials. Although it can be tempting to throw all of your food waste into the composting bin, it will undoubtedly lead to a disaster.

Their muscles are the only thing that helps them grind food into a smooth pulp to digest. If you have trouble remembering all of this an infographic refrigerator magnet may help (link to Amazon).

Okaying ModerationNeverCornXCardboardXPearsXRiceXOrangesXSteakXEggsXFoods with additivesXCabbageXCeleryXBeansXBurgersXFrench FriesXRaw Potatoes Wigglers need oxygen to survive; they produce carbon dioxide like most other land animals. The oxygen passes through their skin, and carbon dioxide returns to the environment.

It does not take much, but that slimy mucous membrane over the body of the worm is what is helping filter the oxygen into its bloodstream. If you see your worms surfacing a lot, then something in the soil may be causing this drastic change.

For the most part, you don’t have to worry if your worm population outgrows your farm. The population in your worm farm will self-regulate based on the size of the bin and available food supply.

If you are noticing that you have many small worms, read this troubleshooting guide. The Red Wiggler will also produce castings that can be used to add nutrients to the soil.

The following steps will help you harvest your Vermicompost using the Tap Method: You will need to gather a screen that will allow the worm castings to go through A catch plate You will also need to separate the worms from filtering them You will place the large screen on something stable Put a handful of soil on the screen The tap the pile from underneath, and the worm castings will fall through the 1/8 inch mesh.

Here is a very helpful video that clearly walks you through the steps of harvesting castings: Thomas Jefferson Vermicomposting is a simple and rewarding way to make use of kitchen scraps while providing your plants with an ongoing supply of truly nutrient-rich amendments.

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Sources
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