Are Red Wigglers The Same As Nightcrawlers

Bob Roberts
• Saturday, 07 November, 2020
• 9 min read

Red worms and nightcrawlers are different species of earthworms that can be important in the production of compost. Red worms or Eugenia fetid represent a species of earthworms mainly used in vermicomposting.

worms wigglers bed wiggler lb compost composting food run
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One of the main features of these worms is their adaption to live in decaying organic material including rotting vegetation, compost, and manure. Usually, red worms continuously bring their food on to the surface.

This reduces the requirement of turning the organic material continuously. Nightcrawlers is a group of earthworms that feed above the ground at night.

Furthermore, nightcrawlers are an important type of worms for compost production as they bring nutrients from the deep soil on to the surface. Red worms and nightcrawlers are two types of earthworms belonging to the class Oligochaeta.

They are tube-shaped, segmented worms with a closed circulatory system and a color which serves as a hydrostatic skeleton. Moreover, they live in the top few inches of the soil, feeding on dead organic matter.

A red worm is an earthworm used in composting food scraps and other organic material and as fishing baits while a nightcrawler is a large earthworm found on the soil surface at night and used for fish bait. Thus, this explains the main difference between red worms and nightcrawlers.

composting worms wigglers compost worm wiggler bin pile
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Speed of reproduction is another difference between red worms and nightcrawlers. On the other hand, nightcrawlers include several species of earthworms that are much larger and less reddish when compared to red worms.

Therefore, the main difference between red worms and nightcrawlers is their appearance and importance in compost production. Hubbard, E. “Ask the Worm Guys: The Three Types of Composting Worms.” Nature’s Little Recyclers, 30 Aug. 2017, Available Here.

We want to raise them as a class project to learn about science and ways to help the earth and to help plants grow.” ~ Smith Wood Girls The Canadian Nightcrawler is a soil dwelling worm that is very popular for fishing due to its large size and the relative ease with which it can be collected (especially at night, during or after a heavy summer rain shower).

They come up to the surface (typically at night) to feed and to mate, but most of their time is spent burrowing through the soil. This species of worm is adapted for a crowded life in very rich organic matter, such as that found in a manure pile (pretty well their ideal habitat).

The ‘European Nightcrawler’ is in fact a similar worm to the Red Wiggler (they are closely related) and they can technically be kept in the same system. For a fun school project you might try setting up a large bin and putting in 1 lb of each species then observing what happens.

worm composting worms farm
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While digging in my garden last Sunday, I noticed this very large nightcrawler earthworm. I decided this was a great photo opportunity to show the difference between how nightcrawlers and red wigglers look.

I have created an informational PowerPoint video turned into a movie, as an Introduction to Worm Composting. It is an excellent narrated presentation using my photos, text and video clips for a great Intro to Worm Composting.

Not all worms are created equal; each species has its own gift as far as value for the garden soil. The red worms ingest food scraps and other organic waste at a rapid pace.

They contain significantly more beneficial micro-organisms, enzymes, humus, and plant stimulants than regular compost. Castings have these nutrients in high percentages in a slow-release form along with superior soil binding, and water retaining abilities.

“Available” means that the nutrients in castings can get to the plants for easy absorption because they’re water-soluble. As they burrow into the soil, they take organic material along with them much into the subsoil of the earth; where the red wigglers don’t travel.

vermicomposting worms waste worm reduce vermicompost composting kid ross trash food organic matthew systems fertilizer
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Like my fondness for rabbit poop, I take great pride in the rich nutrients they produce for my garden. While traditional composting and vermicomposting both enlist broken down organic materials, worms bring their own something’something’ to the table by providing a highly nutritional product for the garden.

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When it's done at home, worms typically live in containers and consume various types of kitchen scraps such as produce, coffee grounds and old cereal. Schools, businesses and other commercial ventures generally house worms in pits, rows or piles.

As it eats, it excretes tiny pellets, called castings, that make an excellent source of nutrients for all types of plants. Red worms and European night crawlers cannot tolerate bright light, and if exposed to it, they become paralyzed and eventually die.

Vermicomposting containers or piles must be covered if they are in areas exposed to light or the worms won’t be able to come up to the surface to eat. This is essential when it comes to vermicomposting because it means you can put food for them in the top of their container and the worms will find and eat it.

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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.

Meagan is a mother to two young children, a freelance writer, and a waitress. Fish love them, making them a popular choice of bait among fishermen.

Earthworms can grow up to an inch in length, and are widely used for worm composting because the casings they excrete are great fertilizer for gardens. They're also more gray in color and can burrow as deep as six and a half feet into the soil.

In the early spring or fall they can normally be found stretched across the ground after it rains. It's much easier to spot them in areas where the grass is scarce or cut very low.

Another great place to look for these little guys is on sidewalks, parking lots, driveways, roads, or other hard surfaces when it rains. They can feel the vibrations of the rain on the ground and will come up to enjoy the cool, moist air.

Leaves, roots, fruits, vegetables, and other things that compost, all make great food for nightcrawlers. Fun Fact: they don't have teeth, but they do have some pretty awesome muscles in their mouth.

It's imperative for them to stay cool and moist in order to continue breathing. Crawling out of the safety of their underground home at night keeps the risks to a minimum.

Believe it or not, garden worms can survive underwater for long periods of time if the water has enough oxygen for them to breathe. They prefer to come out when it rains because of the humidity in the air, which helps them move around without the worry of drying out.

The less fortunate worms will die if exposed to freezing temperatures, but many of them will travel safely below the frost line until spring. Nightcrawlers cannot live in extreme hot or cold temperatures. They thrive best in soil that's around 68 degrees F (20 C).

Most refrigerators run anywhere between 32-40 degrees F (0-4 C), so that would be a bit too cold to keep them if you want them reproducing. However, they may go into their “hibernation” when in the fridge and can survive for a short amount of time if you're just keeping them alive to use as bait.

Wet leaves, soggy paper, moist cardboard, soil, moss, or anything that can be kept damp is ideal for worm bedding. Answer: In perfect conditions, nightcrawlers can live up to ten years.

This is assuming they have plenty of food, the right amount of moisture in the soil, and regulated temperatures. The most common ways for worms to die is predators, lack of food, and too little/too much moisture.

Canadian nightcrawlers must be kept cold while Euro night crawlers thrive in warmer conditions. As long as you regulate their temperature, soil moisture, and food, they should survive for years.

However, the castings that worms leave behind on the surface can be a problem for someone who takes great pride in a perfect lawn. If the top 1-2 inches of soil is allowed to dry out a bit, worms will avoid that area.

If you live in a naturally wet climate, or have experienced more rain than normal lately, you can rake the castings up. It will bring the worms to the surface, so you can pick them up and relocate them, but it shouldn’t harm your lawn.

We had an abundance of night crawlers, but they aren’t coming out anymore with plenty of rainfall May sound silly but I grew up in a small town and am not squeamish over things.

It anchors its back segments with the STAE, and uses its muscles to push its body forward. Then it uses its front STAE to grab the ground and contracts again to shorten its body, which moves its hind part forward.

Being able to stretch so far, while still having the option to retreat quickly, is an advantage because it allows the worm to look for food and mate on the surface while still remaining relatively safe. I remember when I was in my teen, and we would go to a local golf course at night and get a lot of nightcrawlers.

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