Cool New Worm!

the_worm_dudeAugust 15, 2008

I have found the PERFECT Worm. It is a large nightcrawler, that has all the attributes of a composting worm, with one additional benefit.


These HUGE crawlers will go through clay soil like Butter.

They will jump out of your hand, and drop back in the soil like nothing you have ever seen. They are so active, they would probably scare fish away. ;) Their mouths are so big you can actually see them suck. They remind me of catfish.

I'm calling them TheWormDude Crawlers! (Non Scientific Name)...other names are Georgia Jumpers, Alabama Jumpers, etc.

I just put them in my garden several months ago, provided them with some damp organic material, and they stayed and multiplied. I can collect a pound in under 5 minutes!

I'm testing some in captivity and they are doing great! I don't have enough to tell how well they vermicompost, but I'm guessing they won't do as well as Red Wigglers.

These are DEFINITELY not your normal nightcrawler.

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Interesting, keep us updated!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 2:20AM
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How long did it take them to multiply?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 6:46PM
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I dumped them in my box turtle area several months ago..probably December or January. I now have them in every handful.

The unique thing is how crumbly my clay soil is. Normally, this stuff is thick like concrete that is starting to harden.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Worm Dude

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 11:33AM
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Did you buy them or find them? I can attest to the horrors of clay soil in my own home

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 2:37PM
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Originally I bought them. I dumped them in my box turtle garden for feeders, and forgot about them. Now I guess I have what you would call an "Infestation"....but I am happy to have them.

So, what I originally bought for feeders, has turned out to be a great gardening worm. My plants do very well in the box turtle garden...and should even do better now that the soil is getting crumbly.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Worm Dude

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 4:14PM
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You should get some pictures of them and put them up on your blog. I'd be interested in seeing some of these guys.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 1:55AM
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I have a pic of me holding one of them stretched out, but I can get some better pic's this week.

Good idea...thanks.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Worm Dude

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 2:07AM
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So where did you purchase these worms. I have all clay on my property. I just dug a hole and put a bucket in it, and i did NOT dig up one worm. I'm concerned if i add some of my red wigglers, they won't survive!! I might invest in these.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 1:59PM
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roselover_5b(z5b KCMO)

I thought I'd look around and see what others have to say about these "new" worms. One thing I discovered is that they are not commonly for sale. I contacted Vermitechnology, a major presence in vermicomposting, and they said: "The jumpers and the African worms have been replaced by the European
Nightcrawlers. I don't know of anyone still growing these worms."

I figure there must be some good reasons. I do know that the ENCs have a much broader temperature range.

Anyway, I'm glad you are having such success with them, but I think if everyone got those kind of results you'd be able to buy them at every garden center.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 5:32PM
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You are making assumptions that are not correct.

The reason why you see so many Euro's available is that they are a good Composting worm and a good Fishing worm...but MAINLY, because they are a worm that is massed produced inexpensively. Few growers in the US actually raise these in large quantities. Almost all Euros are imported en masse from Europe.

Garden Centers just get their worms from guys like me. Unfortunately, worms are not very shelf stable, especially high energy worms that do not slow down like refrigerated worms.

How exactly do you know that ENC's have a much broader temperature range?
Please tell us what you know about temperature ranges...based on experience...not just looking at websites. A lot of the information about worms on the internet is inaccurate.

I've got both worms at my location in ambient temps of 100 degrees right now. Both are doing fine. Both also do fine when the ambient temps have dropped to the high 50's at night. The Jumpers also survived a winter, a spring, and a summer in my clay soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Worm Dude

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 6:30PM
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roselover_5b(z5b KCMO)

First of all, for just brief periods of time and especially when in a large bin (or in the ground), the worms are insulated from large temperature swings. So cool temps overnight, for example, likely aren't a problem. And worms in soil are able to position themselves where the situation is best for their needs: deeper when the surface is too cold or too hot.

Secondly, I prefer to trust the many voices who report their experiences over just yours. I'm not saying your experiences aren't as they report. I'm fairly certain that those jumpers, kept in my garage over winter (about 60 degrees), wouldn't thrive, if survive. That's because they would get cold and have no option for moving to warmer ground. In other words, I think those temperature ranges are probably true in longer-term situations.

And, finally, I have some concerns. You are raving about a worm that you just happen to sell (what a coincidence) and that you push heavily here and on another forum. And you joined both forums only recently-- about the time you started selling your worms, I'm guessing. At least, the same time when you started your blog.

A second concern is that you are not sharing accurate, factual information when you are praising the wonders of vermicompost as a growing medium. Have you ever looked at the multitude of studies which looked at VC as a grow medium at different strengths (5% of the growing medium, 10%, 100%, etc)? If so, you would know that a growing medium with greater than 40% castings actually produce poorer crops than mediums without any castings at all! At 100% it's pretty dismal. Unlike what you claim, VC is not a great source of plant nutrition. It is, however, very good at releasing the bound nutrients in the soil surrounding the plant.

So, I guess it comes down to skepticism about your motives and questions about your knowledge. Believe me, I would absolutely love to have the wonder worm you describe. But, again, when the Big Boys of the vermicomposting world are not interested in them, there might just be some good reasons that aren't all related to speed of reproduction.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 1:10AM
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Hi Roselover,

1. My time posting here has absolutely nothing to do with the time I have spent on the forums. Actually, it is people like yourself that spread misinformation that started me posting. The home page of my website is ALL about the loads of crap on the internet. Why do you think so many people kill worms, have stinky bins, have bug problems, etc?

2. People are always asking for a worm that they can put in the garden, directly in the soil. I found one. So what do you do? Post a bunch of misinformation based on nothing. Of course, you have never raised these worms, but you continue to write as if you have. Tell me how you concluded that these worms would not survive in 60 degree temps? Tell me about ANY worm that will not survive in 60 degree temps?

3. Your "Big Boy" comment is hilarious. You have no facts, but you continue on. I'll bet you were right there sharing your "Insight" when the Euro was getting popular. At one time it too was a new worm not carried by everyone, obviously it was "baaaadddd".

4. Love your quote on VC not being a good source of plant nutrition. I have pages of actual photo's. I couldn't have grown this stuff any other way. Walmart doesn't carry HUGE 8 ball squash.

Suggest you run a few experiments before continuing. You are so off base, it is scary. Come back with facts, not assumptions.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Worm Dude

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:10AM
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roselover_5b(z5b KCMO)

Listen, Worm Dude, I'm not going to turn this thread into a flame although I think it's interesting that your web site is the only one with correct information and all the others are incorrect and that you promote wasteful and uncalled for usage rates of the VC you happen to sell. At any rate, I believe people are smart enough to do the research rather than just take your word for it. I'd sure hate to waste my hard earned money buying wonder worms only to find out the wonder was how quickly they vanished in my non-tropical (or sub-tropical) setting. Your proposed experiment could be costly.

Your reports of huge plants from VC are just that: anecdotal. Why not take up your own advice and run some real experiments with controls?

Let me share what I have found (bearing in mind that you believe all of this to be incorrect).

With regard to the "jumper" worm, Amynthas gracilis, there is not an abundance of information out there, although what is out there is not sufficient to back up your claims completely.

In Earthworm Ecology by Clive Edwards (surely you will grant Mr. Edwards' expertise) page 77, he discusses multiple tropical earthworm species, including a different species of Amynthas. While different, I think it is safe to assume its cultural requirements are at least very similar to those of A. gracilis. Of those eight worms discussed the polypheremita elongata was noted to be the most useful due to its capability to survive in a "broad range of environmental conditions" although, in Biology and Ecology of Earthworms, (Edwards & Bohlen ) the authors write that polypheremita elongata "appears to be restricted to tropical regions and may not survive temperate winters." (p. 252)

By logic, then, A. gracilis has a narrower range of temperature tolerance of a worm they say "may not survive temperate winters." (As an aside, A. gracilis has been found in Ozarks which is USDA zone 6a or 6b. There is a large percentage of the U.S. which is colder than this).

It should be noted, too, that while a worm may tolerate a range of temperatures, at either end of the range the worms are no longer being productive or reproductive-- let alone being optimally productive and reproductive-- but are instead just surviving. So those people who are not able to keep their worms in the tropical conditions in which it is found naturally may well be able to keep the worms alive but without much purpose or benefit. This also answers your claim to maintaining worms in conditions warmer than those considered to be good for A. gracilis.

In the Cooperative Extension Service of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the Univ. of Hawaii at Manoas Composting Worms for Hawaii by Selden, DuPonte, Sipes, and Dinges the authors report:

"A. gracilis is a tropical earthworm species. It lives in soil but also consumes decaying organic matter. It tolerates handling well and is used in vermicomposting systems
in Malaysia, the Philippines, and the United States. Temperature range, 45Â90°F; preferred, 70Â80°F."

Again, these worms may well survive winter in my garage, which generally stays between 50-58 degrees during winter. However, they are not going to be doing a whole lot. And this is for many months of the year. Outside, of course, they will not even survive the winter. Some of their cocoons might, but the worms themselves will be gone, making them a very expensive short-term investment. Inside, with their productivity limited by winter temperatures, they are again less useful than other less expensive worms which also produce castings useful in gardening.

Of a similar tropical worm, the so-called African Nightcrawler (Eudrilus eugeniae), the authors of the University of Florida IFAS Extension paper Culture of Earthworms for Bait or Fish Food by Mason, Rottmann, and Dequine state: "The West-African nightcrawler grows well at a temperature of 75-85°F (24-29°C). Temperatures less than 45°F (7°C) or greater than 95°F (35°C) are usually immediately fatal to the West-African nightcrawler."

This is not the same worm but a worm that lives in similar conditions as A. gracilis in the wild.

Now, to turn to the issue of vermicompost as a growing medium.

Many studies have been done to examine the effects of vermicompost on plants in growing mediums containing anywhere from zero to 100 percent vermicompost. Clive Edwards, a renowned expert, led the way with many of the studies but many others have also published findings on this subject.

The great consensus of the many studies is that the greatest benefit from vermicompost is derived when it comprises between 10-20% of the growing medium. As outliers, studies show that growing medium with as little as 5% vermicompost yield positive results, as do mediums with as much as 40% vermicompost. These studies are many and I hope you will not hold it against me if I donÂt cite a bunch. They are easily found. One study commonly cited is by Atiyeh et al (2000).

From the Manual of On-Farm Vermicomposting and Vermiculture By Glenn Munroe of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, page 35:
"Moreover, the authors go on to state a finding that others have also reported (e.g., Arancon, 2004), that maximum benefit from vermicompost is obtained when it constitutes between 10 and 40% of the growing medium. It appears that levels of vermicompost higher than 40% do not increase benefit and may even result in decreased growth or yield."

From the abstract of the study Vermicompost Effects on the Growth and Flowering of Petunia hybrida ÂDream Neon Rose by Chamani, Joyce and Reihanytabar:
Abstract: The effects of vermicompost of an animal manure origin on the growth and flowering of Petunia
hybrida ÂDream Neon Rose grown under glasshouse conditions were determined. Petunia seeds were
germinated, transplanted into media and grown-on for 150 days. The traditional base medium (control) was
a mixture of 70% farm soil and 30% sand (v/v). Treatments were either vermicompost incorporated at 20,
40 and 60% or sphagnum peat incorporated at 30 and 60% into the base medium. Vermicompost had
significant (Pcompared to both control and peat amended media. Plant performance was best in the 20% vermicompost
medium. Further increasing the vermicompost content in the base media decreased flower numbers, leaf
growth rates and shoot fresh and dry weights. Plant performance was poorest in the 60% sphagnum peat

KarunarathnaÂs Media properties of different vermicompost and coir dust mixtures reported the following:
According to the result obtained, vermicompost alone can be used as a plant growth medium. But poor porosity and aeration of vermicompost limit the root growth and lowered the water holding capacity. Therefore, medium with 75% vermicompost and 25% coir dust is more suitable than vermicompost alone. Medium with 50% vermicompost and 50% coir dust has better physical properties, but nutrient level is not sufficient to support plant growth. Therefore nutrient supplement is needed to use it as growing medium.

Again, more is not always better. These actual studies would challenge your own unscientific results. That said, I will note that even between cultivars of a particular type of plant (cucumbers or tomatoes, for example) there are differences in responses to the same conditions. This is also true with regard to the organic source of the vermicompost (for example paper sludge vs. pig manure vs. chicken manure, etc). Therefore, one experiment on your part would at best confirm your results in only one narrow set of circumstances.

Finally, Pam Pittaway of the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba discusses in What is a Quality Vermicompost? some other considerations regarding the issue of the composition of vermicompost in growing medium.
Following are several paragraphs from her article:
It is possible that vermicomposts stimulate plant growth by increasing the populations of plant growth promoting bacteria. However in our tests using Rhagodia (native saltbush) cuttings, there was no evidence of any stimulation of root initiation. In our seedling assays, both vermi and meso compost filtrates (filtered 1:5 volume :volume compost plus water) did not inhibit seed germination, but most certainly did inhibit root growth (see figure 2). This toxicity is also a recognised property of immature conventional composts, and is most likely due to phenolics and other defense compounds common to plant-based residues (ie pig manure).
Fresh vermi and meso compost both have a very high water holding capacity (0.8 cm3/cm3). However if you dry both composts to about 60% wet weight, they will not readily re-wet! Once dried, seedlings grown in such mixes can suffer drought after planting out, even if they are well watered. Including a wetting agent in the potting mix should avoid this problem.

The good crumb structure and high water holding capacity of vermicompost makes it a desirable component of potting mixes. However a wetter must be added to avoid drying out, and the vermicompost must be diluted with other media if root growth inhibition is to be avoided. Plant-available nutrients must also be added, to avoid nutrient starvation.

So, Worm Dude, you challenged me to provide evidence for my claims. I ask you the same thing: what evidence can you provide that is not purely anecdotal? Show me the literature. I'd truly be interested in it.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:16PM
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A 5th grader can copy and paste....Congratulations. You are just Puking Data.

This is just what I expected you to come back with. "It is on the internet, so it must be true". Very compelling.

I challenged you to tell us what you know based on experience. And just as I expected, you presented nothing
based on experience.

How much more evidence do you want then placing many plants in pure castings and documenting the results?

You want controlled experiments, you'll get them.

I'll keep you posted.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:30PM
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YOU: I'm fairly certain that those jumpers, kept in my garage over winter (about 60 degrees), wouldn't thrive, if survive.

ME: Tell me about ANY worm that will not survive in 60 degree temps?

YOU: Again, these worms may well survive winter in my garage, which generally stays between 50-58 degrees during winter. However, they are not going to be doing a whole lot. And this is for many months of the year. Outside, of course, they will not even survive the winter. Some of their cocoons might, but the worms themselves will be gone, making them a very expensive short-term investment. Inside, with their productivity limited by winter temperatures, they are again less useful than other less expensive worms which also produce castings useful in gardening.

You continually post assumptions, then back pedal when asked to validate your assumptions.

I didn't start a flame war. I was attacked by you because I started a thread about a worm that lives in clay soil. If you would like to have an actual discussion about something that YOU know about, let's talk.

Once Again....Please tell me about ANY worm that will not survive in 60 degree temps?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 1:14PM
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roselover_5b(z5b KCMO)

You are bellicose without reason. You belligerently demand information without providing any non-anecdotal information of your own. When confronted with actual information, you resort to insults.

What I presented was not "puked" straight from the Internet. It was not anecdotal, either. It was from PUBLISHED materials, SCIENTIFIC STUDIES and BOOKS from EXPERTS, which YOU are decidedly NOT. What exactly constitutes valid information, in your opinion, if not this? Oh, that's right. Yours is the only true information. How could I forget?

Frankly, I don't care what you post and your infantile reactions here cast doubt on any of it. Perhaps others will at least see the value of real information.

I'm not going to try to compete with you in empty negativity. I'm done with you, so you may now post all the vitriol that you would like.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 2:56PM
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Worm Dude, you are using this forum to advertise your business and according to the rules of the forum you should not be doing that. If your product is as good as you say it is then I'm sure your little business with thrive without this running duel with a regular forum user. You're not convicing anyone of the superiority of your worms, just your desire to make a buck here.

Roselover, you're not going to convince this guy of anything because he's not here for the same reason you are, he's here to make money. He has posted the link to his web site SEVEN times in this one thread. Doesn't that tell you anything? I've read this whole thread a couple of times and am wondering how much more abuse you're going to take.

There's a great old saying that I am fond of: When you fight with a pig, all you get is dirty, and the pig likes it.

You've made your point Roselover, and everyone who really knows composting worms knows. So just let it go and let this thread sink down to where it belongs. Cheryl

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:14PM
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Bellicose is defined as: Favoring or inclined to start quarrels or wars.

I did not start the quarrel, you did. Do you not understand the definition of the words that you spew so pretentiously?

You also have failed to answer any direct questions, instead, you chose to insult me personally.

Obviously you are college educated. So am I. The goal of college is to get one to think for himself. All you have done is surfed the internet and copied and pasted info from various sites. Your attempts at rational thought are filled with assumptions.

I have hundreds of pounds of worms. I have hundreds of pounds of castings. All you have shown to have is an internet connection.

I'm still waiting for you to tell me a worm that will not survive 60 degree temps??? Do you think you can answer this simple question? You claim to know all about worms, so please share.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 4:15PM
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roselover_5b(z5b KCMO)

Cheryl, I agree with you and I thank you for your contribution.

As I stated earlier, I'm done responding to Worm Dude's unwarranted and unreasonable anger.

My real concern was for those newbies who read his outrageous claims and think that's the way to get into worms. The reality is they are not the best worms for novices and I would hate to see someone end up discouraged because of this. And I deeply resent WD using this and at least one other forum as platforms for his business under the guise of being just a vermicomposter.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 4:34PM
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Outrageous claims? Please substantiate.

"Not the best worms for novices"? In captivity, I raise them exactly the same way as I raise Redworms. Please substantiate.

Every time you try and think for yourself, you spew inaccurate assumptions.

Truth time: Have you ever seen one of these worms?

How about defining EXPERT for me?

Does sales of approximately $100,000 worth of worms make one an expert?

Does having a major publisher offer you the opportunity to publish a book on nightcrawlers make one an expert?


Does access to Google and a Mouse make one an expert?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 5:08PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

I'm concerned as well about newbies that believe the BS that started this thread. Misinformation abounds, and those who don't know any better might believe it!

Worm Dude, I'd like for you to "puke some data", particularly data written by scientists, to back up your ridiculous claims! Perhaps you didn't read completely through Roselover's post? She quoted books and scientific journals, right down to the page numbers.

And you are SO RIGHT about not being able to believe everything you read on the internet!!! I couldn't have said it any better myself. Here's an excellent example:
The entry entitled, "What About Heat?", the 6th paragraph down. I quote, "Shipped worms generate heat due to the worms beign in close proximity, each generating their own body heat (I see more experiments coming)."

Worms don't generate body heat! They're cold blooded creatures!!! I will refrain from using the adjective that comes to mind.

Another example of "information" on the internet that you shouldn't believe:
Quoting in the first entry of this thread entitled Cool New Worm, "I'm calling them TheWormDude Crawlers! (Non Scientific Name)...other names are Georgia Jumpers, Alabama Jumpers, etc."

You state that the common name of these worms are Georgia Jumpers or Alabama Jumpers. The scientific name for Georgia Jumpers is Amynthas gracilis. Amynthas gracilis is NOT a NEW worm! It is referenced in a paper authored by biologist J.G.H. Kinberg, written in 1867. But you are going to call them "TheWormDude Crawlers." Wow! What an ego! Taking credit for a worm that was documented in scientific literature in the 1800's!

Worm Dude, by any chance, are you a used car salesman when you're not trying to sell worms?


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:32PM
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Just in case anyone was wondering, they sell Alabama Jumpers, the worms that wormdude have, at Uncle Jim's, marketed as "super reds".

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:47PM
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Hi Deanna,

Please let me review your points one by one:

Please define what you are considering to be BS?

Are you debating the fact that jumpers can live in clay soil? That's pretty much what started the thread.

Would you like debate worm shipments and heat? Why don't you share what you know about shipping worms??? Exactly how many worms do you ship every year, every week, ever?

Jumpers are called various names depending on the seller: These are some I am familiar with...Alabama Jumpers, Texas Twisters, California Golden Worms. None are scientific, all are made up...and everyone realizes they are not being passed off as scientific names.

I continually get request for worms that can live in the garden. I've had jumpers before, but usually just for a short time as feeders. When they stayed and reproduced, I thought that was pretty cool.

Can you name another commercially produced worm that does well in clay soil?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 7:00PM
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Just to make a specific point, I'm too tired to read all the flaming, but I was communicating with Bill Kreitzer, founder of Vermipod (encapsulated cocoons) and he says that he encapsulate 6 species based on performance, most of which are endogeic or soil dwelling worms. I don't know of many merchants who mass produce anything but surface dwelling worms because it just isn't practical profit wise when surface dwelling worms are higher in demand and reproduce quicker.

Also on the vermitechnology page, they also list alabama jumpers as one of the worms they breed with this specific quote in the description.

"This is the only earthworm that is quite comfortable in sandy soils that has very little organic content. "

I figure the reason why alabama jumpers aren't sold as much as the usual Eisenias is because they aren't as tough or prolific as them, not to mention that they seem to be more comfortable in soil rather than a worm bin environment.

Also, I don't see where worm dude is trying to sell alabama jumpers, nor did his language suggest advertising. I really don't understand the hostility because in the case that he was really try to sell a product (in a very very subtle fashion I might add), you could simply make a very easy choice: Don't buy it!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 7:22PM
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Hi Takadi,

Thanks for the cool head.

I just had an employee drive 50 miles from Lyngo's Garden Center. It is an upscale landscaper supply center in Northern California. He came to pick up some Redworms for his personal use, and asked about the jumpers. He said he has never seen any worm so active. I gave him some for his bin.

I also took him in my backyard where he saw my crumbly black soil loaded with jumpers that is normally black clay. That was the show stopper. Most places in the Bay Area have soil as thick and heavy as any clay I have ever seen. He couldn't believe it.

I can't speak for how these worms do in sandy soil, as ours is anything but. They perform like champs in clay, regardless of what is printed in any publication, newspaper, newsletter, or book.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 8:52PM
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Hi All! Just some information that is the actual facts. The two primary uses of composting and bait sales.
There are three species of worms that are commonly seen in soil/on soil that are also composters in that they consume organic material with microbes and soil minerals commomly for sale in the US. of A.. These three worm species come from three different temperature zones. Tropical, Sub Tropical and Temperate zone. The Tropical worm is the African Nightcrawler(Eudrilus eugeniae). It is a good composting worm, breeds very fast and makes a good fish bait worm. The secound worm is the Alabama/Georgia Jumper(Amythas gracilis). It is a sub tropical worm. It lives in the soil and its diet is the same as the tropical worm. It is similar in physical size. It lives in slightly cooler tempatures than the Tropical worm. It also reproduces slower than the tropical worm. It is also used for a bait worm. It lives close to its organic decomposing material food sorce.The last worm is the Native North American Nightcrawler (Lumbricus terrestris). It can be found on about every northern hemisphere land mass world wide. It is the most studied worm in the world because of its size and supply. It lives in tunnels in the soil that are deep enough to get the worm below the frost level in the winter. It is a below the surface composter. It needs the organic material to live also. It consumes minerals in the soil from its tunneling activities. It is difficult to keep in captivity for its full lifetime up to 20 years. Its primary use is bait and study of students. It breeds slowly and needs to be kept cool (less than 68-70 deg F) It breeds best at 58-60 deg F. It is possible to breed this species and keep for extended periods if the temps are maintained. Not yet commercially viable. They can be kept in the spring and summer and fall in large piles of leaves and will stay close to the food source. All worms are cold blooded and in them selves do not generate heat. The bedding with food may heat and the worms squirming to the microbes creating the heat may appear to be the cause but that is only the appearence not the facts. Cold blooded animals body heat comes from surounding environmental sources. Worms live in or very close to the food they consume. They need a source of oxygen (moisture with O2) and a temperature high enough to allow easy muscle movement. With thoes three things they will more than survive they will thrive.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 7:50AM
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I will challenge your statement: "The bedding with food may heat and the worms squirming to the microbes creating the heat may appear to be the cause but that is only the appearence not the facts. Cold blooded animals body heat comes from surounding environmental sources".

I modified my statement to include that worms are cold blooded, but the article was childishly challenged out of context. My intent was very CLEAR, to make people understand that you cannot leave a box packed with a clump of worms on a porch, even if ambient temps seem relatively mild.

Read the next paragraph and you can clearly see what I was describing.

The moral of the story: Dont leave worms in partial shade. Full shade ONLY. This is even more important when receiving shipped worms.

Shipped worms can generate heat in the core of the ball due to the worms being in close proximity (The worms themselves are cold blooded). If any of the worms in that core break down, the nitrogen released heats up. More heat is generated over time as the worms die in the center core, releasing more nitrogen until eventually all that is left is a ball of goo.

Although ambient air temps may seem pleasant, worms left on a porch that is ALMOST completely shaded will perish into a ball of goo.

Almost isnt good enough when playing with worms!

Now, if you intent was to challenge that live worms do not generate heat, I will agree with that. Instead, you childishly knitpick the point and negate the message. That point being that a ball of worms does not take extreme temps to begin to break down.

Additionally, you are completely incorrect when you talk about "The bedding with food may".....

There is no food in the worms that we ship. The worms are separated, washed cleanly, weighed, and then repacked in fresh, slightly dampened peat. Please don't engage in a childish conversation about food in the worms stomach. The breakdown cycle I was describing has nothing to do with food.

All it takes is a few worms to perish in the center ball to start a meltdown. We minimize this by separating 5 pound shipments into two separate breathable bags, shipping in appropriate sized boxes, and surrounding the breathable bags in shredded paper to wick away excess moisture. This allows a normal shipping life of 10-14 days as long as the worms are not exposed to direct sunlight.

I've seen so many quotes of published information followed by LISTS of assumptions that it has become comical. It's no wonder that these forums devote the majority of their time resolving problems. Most of these same problems are preventable.

I need to seriously thank you. The same misinformation and uniformed garbage that I see time and time again is what allows me to be successful. My customers never lose their worms, and continue to come back to purchase more products, different products, etc.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 11:42AM
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saworm(Western Cape)

Can we ask admin of this forum to maybe lock this topic or delete it or use flaming and accusing each other.....especially of "puking data". You are very touchy wormdude....prove your claims scientifically and then we will all shut up. is that harsh enough for you. By the way....alot of the sites you say misinform people actually got me going. That's my 2cents worth....Now admin...can we stop this one???

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 1:58PM
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Hi All! A good lively discussion never hurt anyone at least not me.

So worm dude where in my post did I mention shipping or for that matter how it should be done. The references to temps were earlier in the thread. I pointed out that worms in the activity they do does not allow them to produce any self made heat via muscle activity or the process of living. The heat that can be found near or in contact with them is comming from a source external of the worm. Worms have temp range preferences. If the temps are within the worms comfort range it squirms just fine and stays close to the food source. If the worm is too warm, dry or wet it will crawl to a more comfortable place. It will seek wet over dry and in more cases than not warm over freezing. Worms have survival instincts that cause it to make thoes choices. If freezing is not happening it choses aestivation temps to ride out the lack of suffecient warmth. It is also a fact that when the worms die even in a clump the microbes go to work on the tissue and that can cause a temperature spike. Any organic materials with the proper c to n ratio will heat under micro breakdown. That process stinks!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 3:16PM
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Hi Ikittle,

The discussion about worms and withstanding heat started on my blog. That article specifically refers to shipping. It was intended to help people understand that you should not leave a box of worms on a porch. It was also intended to clear up some misperceptions about ambient air temperatures that worms can live in.

That specific article discusses the reality that it is not ambient temps that normally cause worms to die, it's bedding heat. I'm not talking about bedding heat created from decomposing bedding sources, but bedding heat caused either from the sun radiating on the outside of a bin, or, in this case, from a box of worms left on a porch...even a shaded porch. In this case, the ambient temps, along with lack of air flow can rapidly cause a breakdown.

I'm happy to have healthy discussions like this. For some reason, some of the posters get their feelings hurt when debated. God help someone outside the clique if they bring in some new ideas, or question the status quo.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 4:24PM
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For those concerned about newbies following the wrong lead from this thread, all I can say is don't worry. I do not want to join into the flame war. I am sorry worm dude as a newbie and consumer I would not work with you from the confrontational attitude alone. I look forward to seeing what other threads there are in this forum.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 12:02AM
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I'm not looking to take sides here - I don't think either one is entirely blameless or guilty. No one involved is really smelling like a rose at this point.

What I will say is that the common understanding of what "cold-blooded" and "warm-blooded" mean is wrong. Cold-blooded animals do not fail to generate body heat. They simply do not generate as much body heat as a warm-blooded animal.

The simple fact is that anything which burns calories (metabolizes an energy source) is going to create heat. Worms digest microbes, and through the process of breaking them down heat is generated.

The term "cold-blooded" is misleading (the correct term is poikilotherms) and means that the animal isn't able to regulate its own body temperature - not that it lacks the ability to generate heat. Worms can generate heat, just not enough to keep themselves alive if the ambient temperature drops below a certain level.

If things cool off the worms fight a losing battle - as the environment cools their metabolism slows, which means their ability to output heat drops and allows them to cool off even more.

An "endotherm" (warm-blooded animal) has the ability to increase or decrease its metabolism to create more or less body heat as needed.

Flying insects will warm themselves by buzzing their wings, generating heat in the same way that we shiver to stay warm. This allows them to warm up enough to fly even in colder temperatures where they would otherwise be unable to.

So-called "cold-blooded" animals can generate heat. They just can't do it well enough to keep themselves warm.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 8:58PM
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Very well written post.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 1:21AM
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Hi All! Latest correction: For your eyes only if interested. Read whole page.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 7:56AM
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I just want to be clear - I'm not saying that worms generate significant amounts of heat. I'm just saying they make more than zero and less than enough to keep themselves warm enough.

Without heat from the environment they'll die, but this is true of "warm-blooded" animals as well. There's a long way to go between "no heat" and "too cold for people". Absolute zero is farther below the coldest we can survive at than the total range of our survivable temperatures.

Worms just can't regulate their temperature, where we do - our bodies always strive to maintain the same internal temperature whether it's 100F, 0F, or 100C. (Our bodies just fail to keep us at the right temperature if our environment gets too far outside our comfort zone and we die, same as anything else that's alive.)

Cold-blooded animals depend on the environment for heat, but they make a tiny bit of their own as well. Generally speaking they just don't make enough to be relevant is all.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 3:21AM
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A little late in the discussion, but these worms are thriving in certain areas the hard pan clay areas near Osceola, MO.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 12:58PM
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I have a lot of experience with jumper worms, not from the standpoint of raising them but they were one of the main baits I used on my Oklahoma trotlines. They thrive in some of the most extreme conditions of any worm I know of. I have gathered then under a couple of inches of leaves covering soil that was baked dry in 100 degree heat although they prefer the moist soil of branch and creek banks. The soil there froze a couple of inches deep every Winter and that seemed to kill off the adults. After the Spring thaw you could find only juveniles less than an inch long which got bigger as the season progressed. By the end of Summer they were 6 to 8 inches long. We gathered them by beating the bejabers out of the leaf covering with a broken tree branch and they would flee in all directions. They would actually jump out of the leaves and take off. They can move faster than the average snake so we always brought along a couple of kids to run them down.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 10:07PM
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Alabama jumpers were the primary native worm at a place I used to have. In our relatively mild climate they do survive the winter, or at least some of the adults do. I assume this was because they dig deep down to where the soil is warmer and can come up on warm days for food.

And yes, they are fast and strong! And can handle dense clay soils. I'm not sure I'd use them as a compost worm, though... it's just not their forte. But I'd choose them for fishing worms.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 7:51AM
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Judging by the way they live wild they don't go very deep into the soil but they do need soil. They also seem to prefer rough compost like partly decayed leaves and twigs. If you try to raise them I would suggest an open bottom box on soil with six inches or so of damp chopped dead leaves on top. If your box went six inches into the soil I doubt many would escape. They spend most of the time in the litter but do retreat to the soil now and then.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:33AM
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