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Earthworms, Red Wigglers
This is Charles Harrison in St. Louis.
A few weeks ago I ask this list about culturing and bedding
materials for Red Wigglers. This is my favorite food for the Blue Gularis,
Gold Pheasants, and other large killies and I go through a lot. I guess I
have over extended bedding medium from time to time or did not change it
soon enough. Anyway, some of my best attempts over the past 20 years to
propagate these worms have only succeeded for a limited time. --> I have
gone looking for other in-home vermiculturists.
I found this http://gnv.fdt.net/~windle/ web page thanks to Jennifer
Greene of harvard.edu, and have been trying things recommended there. There
is lots of information posted there, some of which I have copied out and
The main reason for my posting now is to say that this shredded
cardboard is really great stuff for bedding. It doesn't compact, It stays
wet longer, it gives the worms lots of moving and feeding room and after
three weeks my culture is turning around! I have countless new worms and am
looking to start a second box of these creatures.
If you keep live foods, and almost all killie keepers do, these
pages are worth a visit, and 1/2 inch squares of cardboard box about 4
inches deep mixed with a few hand-fulls of wet peat moss makes the best
medium I have used.
"At any rate, even with all the disadvantages that are encountered
in using machine-shredded paper as a bedding material for worms, I consider
to be one of the best materials for this particular use. Like many
vermiculturists, one of the main reasons I keep worms is to help in the
reduction of waste materials that are destined for some already
over-burgeoned landfill. If I have to exert a little more effort in
obtaining a suitable source of this particular waste, I can take
consolation in knowing that I am at least dealing with a material that
truly makes up a large portion of the problem
we face in this area. "
"The very active red wriggler, or manure worm, can be found in
compost piles. You know you have a red wiggler when you pick it up: it
thrashes about, wiggling and squirming.
The true red wiggler, _Eisenia foetida_, has alternating bands of
yellow and maroon down the length of its body. A similar worm, _Lumbricus
rubellus_, is a deep maroon color without the yellow bands.
"But the life of an earthworm in general is hard. Their bodies are about
70% protein; rich food for many predators. Their major enemies are insect
eating birds, like robins, and mammals like moles. If you watch a robin
hunting, it pauses, cocks it head and then hops. The robins ears can
actually hear the earthworm moving under ground. But the earthworm,
although sightless and ear-less can feel the vibrations of the bird on the
surface. Its the deadly game of survival. "
There is enough stuff here to keep Dr. Harrison interested and lots
of help for anyone else to make in-home vermiculture work.
>Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 16:39:12 -0500 (EST)
>From: jgreene at jimmy_harvard.edu (Jennifer Greene)
>Subject: Re: Earthworms
>> Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 19:02:43 +0200
>> From: "Phillip Hansen" <skilphil at zenertech_com>
>> Subject: Re: Earthworms
>> Sorry my question came out a bit wrong.
>> I did not mean are earthworms protected by law but does the principle of
>> leaving the big ones alone to lay eggs and harvest the small ones apply.
>> Since they reach maturity so early, which I did not know (thanks Ranya) my
>> question was a bit off the mark.
>If an earthworm has the band near their middle (the "clitellum") then
>they are mature enough to lay eggs. I think size can be an effect of
>environment, so size may not be generally relevant to egg production.
>You can find tons of info (and links to more) at
>(Mostly the focus is on vermicomposting and bait use, but it is still
>Jennifer L. Greene . jgreene at jimmy_dfci.harvard.edu
SLAKA e-mail to csharrison at primary_net
Change as much of your water
as often as you can!