Help with African Nightcrawlers

gardengolferJuly 21, 2010

It would be very nice for me to have a year round supply of large fat worms for fish bait along with any VC that might become available.

I am told that the largest locally available worm that is practical for home breeding is the AN but that one major drawback might be that this strain tends to want to constantly travel at night. And this makes them difficult to contain in a typical home type bin.

I am looking at a flow thru bin in say a 32 gal trash can on wheels. I hope it would not be necessary but lights on a timer could be placed in the top and bottom to discourage attempts to stray at night.

Being the Compost Wacko that I am, I should be able maintain a suitable home and micro- herd for the AN but their tendency to wander might make the whole project impractical. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Larry

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lkittle(6)

Hi Larry; What I would do if I were to keep the African Nightcrawler (Eudrilus eugeniae) is build a 4'X8' bin with 16" high sides and a cover using 3 sheets of plywood 3/4 marine with a 2"X4" framing. I would put a pair of wires like tv twin lead with the insulation removed from the wires on one of the flat sides and staple it about 2" down from the top all the way around the inside walls making a border fence. I would connect the fence to a doorbell xformer to supply about 12v acand this will keep the explorers in the bin. This Idea is in the book from Charlie Morgan Raising the Aferican Night Crawler. It is still available from several places on line. try the link below. I bough all the MORGAN Books as a referance lib and they still come in very handy. They were $60.00 cheap education.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sheilds publications

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:47PM
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gardengolfer

1kittle6

Thanks for the helpful advice. I will be getting the Morgan book right away.

I am thinking that a constant population of aprox 1000 ANs will meet my fishing needs nicely and should be my target. How much bin area/volume do you feel I would need to comfortably maintain this output?

I will go with an electric fence as you suggested and this may solve the escape problem.

Larry

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 7:14PM
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pjames(8/LA)

Has anybody here actually tried raising African nightcrawlers? I would like to see somebody compare how they respond to similar conditions to the E. foetida and E. hortensis we raise.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 8:01PM
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lkittle(6)

I would say that for you alone to use the worms only one of the 4'X8'X16" bins will do it. You will even have a few to sell or give to friends. The critical thing is to keep a steady supply of breeders to keep populations at a steady level. I do not keep them because the temps they like are a little warm for the other species I am currently experiment with.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 8:13AM
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ncwormfarmer

I have about 1000 ANCs in a single bin it is about 4.5 sqft. It gives them enough room to grow & reproduce. But I don't like pushing it too much closer if you want them to get bigger and continue to breed.

About them wandering... I find that they like to explore. As long as I keep them well-fed and a light on in the room (use CFL or LED to cut down on electric cost), they stay in the bin. One night I turned off light by accident and had some exploring... not too many though.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 2:47PM
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gardengolfer

ncwormfarmer

Thanks for your input.
Would you mind giving the overall dimensions for the 4.5 sqft bin that you use? I am still researching the AN. Have books from the pub library and Amazon on order.Hope to get started soon.

Larry

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 1:42PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

gardengolfer,

Any progress on your ANC project? The article linked at the bottom describes an alternative set up. Keep in mind he's focused on producing castings, not more worms, so it may or may not fit your goals. It looks like a small container fed once then left alone for 2 weeks does quite well. The closed container solves any wandering problems and it certainly makes harvesting easier. Here's a quote:

"He took me into the large temperature-controlled room of his business, where up to 1600 3.5-gallon buckets are stacked neatly on pallets for easy rotation every two weeks. In each bucket live 250 to 275 worms that squirm around within a bedding mixture of moist black peat moss and eat a balanced meal of powdered grains and milk protein."

I wouldn't try the peat or special worm chow, but I may try the buckets and worm density.

Andrew

Here is a link that might be useful: 250,000 African nightcrawlers

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 2:08AM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

pjames: the link below goes to a research paper comparing ANCs with Efs. As usual, controlled research conditions don't exactly translate to real-world applications. But it's still interesting reading.

Have you noticed that there are many sellers of ANC cocoons, but very few selling ENC cocoons? In my climate it's probably more practical for me to try ENCs to supplement my reds. But the size of both the worms and their cocoons, not to mention their rate of reproduction, really make the ANCs attractive.

Andrew

Here is a link that might be useful: growth and reproduction of Eudrilus eugeniae

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 2:18AM
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gardengolfer

plumiebear

The ANC project took a giant step sideways yesterday when I picked up a half pound of worms from the Worm Expert in Easley S.C. (http://www.localharvest.org/organic-worm-farm-M35953). They breed all their worms in RM totes using Michigan peat bedding and feeding Purina Worm Chow. Knowing how I usually procrastinate, I pickup a bag of each which should make the ANCs feel at home until the spirit moves me to go forward.

Now looking at a 55gal FT bin vs Multiple RMs, for a target of aprox. 4 lbs of ANCs.. Still hoping to feed garden waste when avail. and bed in cold un-finished compost. Lasagna beds will recieve excess population if I get that lucky.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 12:10PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Larry,

Thanks for the update and congrats on your new worms. Bruce (worm expert guy) has written quite a bit about ANCs and has a few videos about them. I don't know when it was made, but it looked from one video that he was using 5 gal. buckets to raise the worms...similar to that guy in IN who uses ANCs to produce compost.

Are you going to use lights on top & bottom of the FT to keep the ANCs from wandering? Keep us updated on how things work out. Must be nice to be able to drive to a worm farm.

Andrew

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 1:07PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

I have EF's, ENC's, and African Nightcrawlers. The African Nightcrawlers are IMO, high maintenance. They don't respond to handling well, they get riled up easily, and don't seem to be as hardy as the EF's and the ENC's. In my experience, if the Africans want to roam, light doesn't deter them in the least. The only thing that I've found that deters them is a fan blowing directly in the bin. So of course, you have to be careful to keep the bedding moist when there's a fan blowing on it.

I think you should go with ENC's - European Nightcrawlers. They're larger and fatter than EF's, and are easier to manage than Africans. They won't go into a frenzy every time you dig around in there to get some worms to fish with. Africans get pretty worked up when you dig around in the bin. They're best left alone as much as possible.

Deanna

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:27PM
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pjames(8/LA)

I have a couple questions about the africans.. Have you tried simply using a tight fitting lid on the bin? I have used kitty litter buckets with holes drilled around the tops and in the lids. They seem to seal fairly well.

The second question is why are people using peat for bedding and a special diet? Are either of these products something the worms actually need or is it simply because that is what the guy uses instead of regular "wiggler type: bedding?

Either way, I'd sort of like to try a few. Think somebody is willing to send me some cocoons to get started?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 11:03PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Deanna: I was all set to order ENCs. In my moderate climate they were the logical choice. But the more I read about how much faster the ANCs eat and reproduced "under ideal conditions", the more attractive they looked. They're going into a 30 gal. terrarium with a light overhead and 4" of dry bedding on top of the damp bedding. Even if those don't keep them down below, the 1/6" screen lid should prevent all but the smallest from escaping. I'm not going to use them for bait and can observe through the glass, so I won't disturb them very much. I placed the order yesterday. We'll find out late next week if I'm regretting this decision.

pjames: I think the worm farmers using black peat are doing so because it produces a nice looking vermicompost. They feed them worm chow for a similar reason - no chunky bits of produce to worry about. Besides, that worm chow is relatively cheap when bought in 50 lbs. bags. I'm sure it fattens the worms up faster, which is good when you sell worms by weight. The ANCs I ordered are supposed to be mature 4-5" worms. I'll post updates here and if things go right and cocoons start appearing, remind me and I'll send you some.

Andrew

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 12:07AM
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gardengolfer

Deanna

Thanks for sharing your experience with ANCs, especially regarding their tendency to roam.

I now have 1/2 lb of ANCs in an 18 gal RM tote. Based on your experience with these worms, about what max size population do you feel this bin will comfortably support?
VC production is a secondary consideration.
Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:13AM
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pjames(8/LA)

Thanks, Andrew. The links were great. I'll need to re-read a few times. I want to try out a colony even more than I did before. Especially since I keep my worms indoors and the temp range is on target.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 5:21PM
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gardengolfer

Gardenfanatic

Your post was very informative and I appreciate it very much.I now think the building of a FT bin will be put off untill I see how well my RM bin works.

I used 6 in of bedding to start plus a layer of moistend strips of corrigated box board over the feed. But I now think a couple more inches of bedding might not hurt.

No explorers yet but if necessary I might install the electric wire fence mentioned in lkittle's eariler post as referenced in Charlie Morgan's book. I have all the components on hand so it should be pretty easy to try.

Andrew

Thanks for sharing the links.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 11:11AM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Deanna,

Thanks for the tips and details of your experiences. I'll probably end up trying ENCs some time next year. I don't really "need" more worms, but I am curious about how the different species behave. I'm getting ANCs mostly to see how they'll work in an indoor wormery. I'll also be freezing food for the first time, so this is definitely high-maintenance compared to my outdoor EF bins. I'll probably even freeze the leaves just to see if that limits other critters. I'll keep track of how long it takes me to do all this food prep for the first few weeks. The 500 ANCs are on a flight from WI today (USPS Priority Mail). I'll post updates here.

Andrew

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 1:28PM
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tammy_b(9)

Congratulations on your new worms Andrew!

I also freeze my food. It doesn't really take much time. I have a bowl in the fridge for all of my scraps, and when it gets full I put it in a large bowl in the freezer. When I plan to feed the worms, I just take out some food and let it defrost - right next to that evenings dinner.

If my bowls get full, I put my scraps into the outdoor compost bin.

When my worms start eating more scraps than I can supply, I'll probably be freezing the leaves too. I don't want to take any chances with bringing critters indoors. Bags of leaves in the freezer does sound a bit strange, but I'm sure it doesn't require a whole lot of extra time.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 7:53PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Thanks, Tammy. Sounds like you've got an efficient system set up. I'm going to try something similar except with ziplock freezer bags instead of bowls. I've already got a small bag in the freezer for their first feeding. They may not want anything right away after being harvested from their homes and shipped out, but who knows?

I'm also freezing a bag of pre-compost taken from my regular compost bin. I know there's critters and their eggs in there, so I'm going to freeze this for 3 days. I'm going to start a mini bin with a dozen washed EFs to see if any critters appear using this frozen mush. If not, I may just add the extra step of freezing a few bags each week to my normal pre rot routine. Have you told everyone in your family not to take the marked bags in your freezer? ;-)

Andrew

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 3:08PM
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gardengolfer

Are you ANC keepers adding grit to your beds? If so how much?

Larry

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 7:18PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

The EEs (aka ANCs) arrived around 2 pm today. Wow! These fellas are massive! Maybe those of you accustomed to EHs or Canadian nightcrawlers won't be impressed with them, but for someone like me who's only dealt with EFs and the occasional burrowing earthworm in the garden, these were HUGE worms!

I'm loading a youtube vid on the unpacking of the worms, but I'm not sure I want to make it public without more editing. I kept on idiotically repeating "these worms are HUUGE!" probably more than a dozen times. Certainly enough to sicken a normal viewer who was not a fan of these worms.

Anyways, just a short update for now. I'll try to write a blog post on them when I'm a bit more coherent. In case anyone was wondering, I'm very happy with the folks at http://www.northernlakeswormcastings.com/ Jeanne was quick to respond to my emailed questions and sent me the delivery confirmation number as soon as the package was shipped. It was shipped Monday from Wisconsin and arrived Wednesday (today) in California.

Andrew

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 7:33PM
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pjames(8/LA)

Plumiebear... I am REALLY impressed with those worms. Gonna have to try them myself. Send me your land address and I will send you some ENC cocoons the next time I dig into that bin.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 2:02PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Two days and the EEs are doing fine. No signs of them wandering above bedding level and lots of signs they've been exploring the bin. Room temps have been 65-75F and bin temps have been steadier at 70-73F. I'm keeping the 15 watt aquarium light on to provide some heat. Here are some photos of the bin (a 32 gal. terrarium) and the worms, which are between 1/8" & 3/16" thick. The castings are huge.
~Andrew


    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 3:57PM
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gardengolfer

Your enthusiasm is understandable those are enormous worms. And the pictures are very good. Keep the updates coming.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 7:20PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Larry - I never add grit.

Andrew - congrats on your new arrivals, and yes they're huge aren't they! :-) There's no comparison with ENC's either. ENC's are bigger than EF's, but nothing like the Africans.

I'm shocked you haven't had any trying to escape, but that's great! I was impressed with the size of the castings as well when I first got Africans. They're almost like mouse turds.

Thanks for posting your video - it was interesting to watch (spoken like a true vermicomposting wacko).

Deanna

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 9:18PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Larry: how could you tell I was enthused? haha! Thanks. I'll try to limit the updates and photos to something eventful.

Deanna: I had a feeling you'd be one who could appreciate that video. I was going to edit some of the more embarrassing moments out, but changed my mind. Who cares what people think. I'm a vermi-wacko and proud of it.

I think it was beginner's luck that I haven't had any grand escape attempts. First, the worms arrived in great condition. Next, the weather has been nice since they arrived...could be warmer, but at least it's not cold or stormy. Pressure changes probably affect all types of worms. Finally, I had access to a fairly large habitat - 4.3 sq. ft. The worms have room to stretch out and explore and I can watch them without disturbing their bedding.

Andrew

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 2:08AM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

It would be interesting if you posted a pic of the bin in a month or so, so we could see how much of that bedding they've processed. You'll be impressed with how quickly they get it done compared to EF's.

Deanna

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 5:38PM
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marauder01

Great post Andrew.

I am absolutely amazed and jealous as can be!!

Love the idea of a terrarium as an observation worm bin. It may not work out as intended as the glass will get dirty, but I like the concept.

Unfortunately, I can't get ANC's over here (made enquiries, the the Australian Quarrantine Service takes these things seriously, no humor at all really ;-)).

Guess I'll stick to reds.

Looking forward to the next installment.

Cheers

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 7:15PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Deanna: I'll definitely post an update in a month, probably even sooner...especially if I see any cocoons.

Jay: Yeah, those 'crawlers are already piling up the castings against the glass, but they still burrow through those. I'll be perfectly happy to see the glass get covered up with worm poo. Hard luck on the quarrantine, but it's probably for the best, eh? I have a feeling these big fellas are going to have a tough time keeping up with the reds, even if I do pamper them.

Andrew

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 10:52PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

It's been a week since I put these worms in their new home. I've left the lamp on most of the time and haven't had any wanderers yet. They made short work of melon rinds I gave them, but haven't touched the fruit/coffee grounds mush. They have definitely been munching on the egg cartons. They've explored the entire terrarium and left their castings behind to prove it.

The weather cooled off last weekend to mid-60s and bin temps slowly followed. The 15 watt overhead lamp gets warm, but quite a bit of heat goes up instead of down into the bin. I made a modification: I propped up the left side ~3/8" and right side ~1" (to preserve the slight tilt) and inserted a 36 watt foil-wrapped rope light under the bottom glass. Six hours later the bin temp was 75F. I've been able to keep the bin temp 75-80F by turning the rope light for 5-7 hrs. each day. The worms were clearly more active once the temps hit 75F.

I harvested some worms for an experiment today and discovered they are not easy to catch. Even though they are large, they are still slippery and can move quickly & powerfully. Once you have them in hand and they sense that they have nothing to grab hold of, they relax. While going through about a quarter of the bin, I found 1 decomposing worm carcass and a live one that didn't look too healthy. I also found some of the 4-5" worms that I had expected, but the majority were larger.

Here's a video the EEs eating melon rinds & egg cartons. These worms are pigs! You can literally see them "biting" (is snorfling a word?) chunks of melon & paper.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN_1b_bxXSs

Here is a link that might be useful: Worms at the Trough

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 11:17PM
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gardengolfer

Andrew

Looks like you really got it going on with your ANCs. I enjoyed your video very much. Please keep your updates coming.

Larry

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 8:23AM
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curt_grow

Andrew; great video What pigs they are.

Curt

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 11:34PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Thanks, Curt. A vermi-holic buddy in FL bought a 50 lb. bag of Purina Earthworm Chow last week. He figured there was no way he could use that up before mealy bugs got to it, so he sent me 7 or 8 lbs. Here's a few clips of the EEs feeding on that chow. Watch carefully at the 1:25 mark and you can see a worm open it's mouth:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksqB9po_hI0

Here is a link that might be useful: Worms devouring worm chow

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 4:19AM
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lkittle(6)

Hi All; Just one quick question to some that believe that worms only enjoy the microbes in a bin for food. What do you see? The worms sucking up this food is the reason they need grit to further grind up the food that is put into the bin. It helps them get all the benifit they can from the food. So give them some grit (soil,powdered egg shells, lime dust).

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 11:02AM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Larry, I've always questioned that "worms eat ONLY microbes" theory since the first time I read it. Put some fresh applesauce or a fresh piece of watermelon into a worm bin and see if worms don't immediately go after it. The worm chow I fed was moistened, but it didn't have time to grow any significant microbial population before the worms jumped all over it. There's no doubt that microbes play an important and necessary part in a worm bin ecosystem. There's no doubt that what goes out of a worm is even richer in microbes than what went in. I just don't think microbes are the ONLY food stock they derive nutrients from.

Andrew

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 1:41PM
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pjames(8/LA)

The microbe only thing has been a myth perpetuated by people regurgitating what they read before as fact without a basic understanding of biology and digestion.

Microbes play a part by breaking down cellulose and complex starches into simple sugars. In the process they make available amino acids (building blocks of proteins). Same thing happens in a cow's rumen. The cow eats grass and microbes break it down into stuff the cow can absorb.

If it is small enough a worm can ingest it. It might not be able to digest it (so even pulverized/powdered paper can be ingested but not digested) because of a lack of the right enzymes. But give that same worm something with a simple sugar or protein and in a form it can take in and it will digest it right away. Hence the applesauce.

We as humans lack alot of the enzymes to digest certain foods that we eat all the time. Beans for instance have macro-starches that we cannot digest but bacteria in our gut can. We digest what we can and then the bacteria break down the rest. It's what produces the "gas".

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 4:36PM
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pjames(8/LA)

I wanted to keep my previous post short.

The beauty of vermicomposting is that the worms will eat and digest anything they can so decomposing (aerobically, anyway) material of almost any sort is a perfectly suitable menu. We use cardboard and paper and call it bedding when it is simply another food item that just takes an extra step or two to be utilized.

Worms know what they can digest themselves in pure form. That is why they seem to "prefer" some foods over others. I read all the time somebody saying "my worms like this or love that". Those foods are generally sweeter so there is more available glucose for immediate use.

I read somewhere where the writer wrote that it was "proven by research" that worms actually sought out decomposing material. The writer went on to say that it was because the worms needed/preferred the microbes. In reality it was the worms could suck down the softened material that was already partially digested and they could absorb nutrients.

Worms have some very active digestive enzymes that let them utilize some very basic materials. What enzymes they lack, microbes have. So it's the perfect composting scenerio...

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 5:15PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Very cool videos!!! The terrarium is a great way to watch them. Fascinating! What kind of camera do you have?

Deanna

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 10:45PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Deanna, I have a Canon S5 IS (for image stabilization). It's at least 2 generations old. I think the current iteration is the SX20 IS. I've had good success with Canon cameras through the decades and selected this particular model because it had good optical zoom and a super macro setting that allows the lens to practically touch the object you're photographing or videoing. Lighting is always a problem when you get that close, so it still takes some getting used to. I think this camera works as a much better magnifying glass than a traditional magnifying glass.

Andrew

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 1:48AM
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lkittle(6)

Hi All; I was trying to have some food for ponderance for some that have some misunderstandings of a worms true needs. It is not so obvious to all, exactly what their needs are.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 7:37AM
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curt_grow

lkittle; I agree and indeed add grit in the form of soil when I add the compost bedding to my bins. As Worms have no teeth and a muscular stomach.
also I have seen Canadian night crawlers (L.T.) pig out on coffee grounds placed in my garden and grab live onion stems by the tips. I also suspect that they eat carrot seedlings but must wait for spring to observe them. Charles Darwin stated that carrot was one of there favorite leaves. A post on the vegetable forum states a witness to this fact, but I don't think there were any pictures of the actual eating of the leaves.

Curt

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 11:58AM
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pjames(8/LA)

Andrew..I am really impressed with those worms. They seem to not mind the clear glass of the aquarium. Is the room darkened now when you are not in there? Have any tried to escape?

I have a 20 gallon long reptile habitat. (Basically an aquarium with a built on screened top.) I thought of trying it as a worm bin so I can observe them.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 6:08PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Pat, the glass sides are covered with cardboard on the outside. I also put cardboard on the inside on top of the bedding. It helps keep the heat in. I've only seen one guy poke his head beyond the bedding. This was before I put the cardboard sheets inside and I had the light off in the evening.

In my outdoor FT bin, which happens to be translucent plastic, I can see the worm trails where EFs have been wandering up the sides. They also leave castings. There's no sign of that with the EEs in the terrarium.

I say go for it with the reptile habitat. My terrarium's previous occupant was a snake. The screen is 1/16" (window screen) and latches. We probably don't need a latch to keep the worms in, but you never know with these big guys.

I have a slightly smaller aquarium that I had been planning to use in an aquaponics/vermiponics system. Now I'm tempted to use it for a dedicated EH bin. I wouldn't have to worry about heating it for those guys.

Andrew

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 1:06AM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Almost at the 4 week mark, but had a couple of things I couldn't wait to share. Yeah, I know...worm geek. The first is video of worms mating, so adults only please. The second is probably an empty EE cocoon (on the right). The one on the left is one of the EH cocoons from Pat.

Here is a link that might be useful: E. eugeniae: mating interrupted?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 4:01AM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

How do you keep the cardboard up on the sides?

Let's see a pic of how much stuff is processed!

I'm glad your worms aren't too exploratory. In the beginning when I had escapees, I had one that had crawled from the kitchen into the carpeted living room and was on the furthest end of the living room. I was surprised that it survived that long, and that the carpet didn't deter it. It went as far as it could go to the wall, then stopped and croaked.

Deanna

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 1:44PM
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pjames(8/LA)

Andrew..just saw your blog from the link. I keep all my worms at the house ambient temp, which right now is about 73 degrees. I had alot of coccoons when I harvested my Euro bin and a few baby worms (probably from cocoons I missed when I pulled the ones for you.) I figure if they are breeding, they are doing well.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 6:23PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Deanna: I cut the cardboard so it would wedge between the top and bottom frame of the terrarium. It's easy to pop in and out. I started the bin with a lot of cardboard, so maybe 10% of it is processed. Since I no longer use a night light some of the worms have wandered a bit, but I don't think any have made it to the screened lid.

Pat: I think EFs and EHs will be fine at normal room temps. The EEs would probably do ok, but they sure seem to be much more active when the bin temp goes above 75F. It would never get to those temps without the rope light for heat. Today was what we consider hot (90F outside) and the room only hit 73F.

I don't know if 50 posts is the unwritten limit, but I'll go ahead and start another thread.

Andrew

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:41PM
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Pat15(9b)

Hello and help, please.
We purchased African nightcrawlers for our compost bin and placed them in the bin one week ago today. Digging through the bin today, we have not been able to find any worm. I have been reading through this post - belatedly I fear - and noticed some refer to African nightcrawlers as liking to explore. Should I conclude from this that most likely my big ball of worms took a hike?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Nickt59

Hi, I'm new around here, but people might be ignoring this thread you posted in because it's 2 years old. You might have better luck starting your own new post.
But about your worms... I'd say they escaped. Mass death would stink badly in only a weeks time. I don't have Africans, only Europeans, so no experience on your worm roaming. Was this a wooden bin or a plastic bin? I like the mini electric fence idea described above. In my plastic bins, I use foil stick-on alarm tape. Two strips around the top of the bin wired to a battery.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:03AM
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nexev - Zone 8b

Odd, this morning several ANC related threads were bumped up but no new posts in them. My guess is that a spammer went through and a mod followed deleting said spam but the forum software was not able to figure out these are all old posts with nothing now new in them.

That said this thread was interesting. Not going to try ANCs myself as they would take too much special care here to try and raise. I do wonder if they will burrow deep and hibernate over winter though. I know decades ago I used to harvest a large nightcrawler in a cold area so maybe they get deep and stay there where ground temperatures keep them alive when its too cold.

Also nice discussion here about the microbes worms eat, I too have seen that said that worms eat only bacteria and such when it is pretty obvious that the consume all manner of things, how much they digest of it is another matter and of course those microbes are ever helpful for them in that endeavor.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2015 at 11:31AM
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Nickt59

I think you are right Nexev. There was a post here this morning when I clicked on the notification and now its gone. The guy did take the time to comment specifically on a couple of posts in this thread, but he did add a link to his website and that may be a no-no. If nothing else, he got me browsing the forum after being away for a couple of years.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2015 at 12:19PM
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nexev - Zone 8b

Welcome back then, I am a newb 'round these parts and to gardening in general. With 50 years behind me I do have a little of that experience called life but have immensely enjoyed learning from the 'vermifolks' (a term I got out of one of these ghost bumped threads and really liked) that frequent here.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2015 at 1:19PM
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equinoxequinox

I was wondering what happened. Thank you for explaining it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2015 at 3:22PM
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mendopete

Yep, sales link on multiple ENC threads. Some advice was given, such as feed little and use lots of bedding. Good to see it removed quickly.

This post was edited by mendopete on Thu, Jan 8, 15 at 21:48

    Bookmark   January 8, 2015 at 9:47PM
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