Vermicompost Worms in Malaysia

Nini_TreeHuggerOctober 10, 2012

Hi.

I'm just starting out with my own vermicompost project. I love using recyclable materials and this feels like a natural next step for me. I didn't spend a single cent preparing the bin and the bedding etc as the garage is a treasure trove for my project. Reading from experienced people out there helped a lot.

I thought finding the right worms would be as easy as preparing their 'home'. Oh I was sooooo wrong! I went to the nearby fishing equipment shop to get some worms they use for bait. I couldn't recognize the species as they're probably juveniles and they look just like most of the species of vermicompost worms on the internet. They're doing okay I guess, since I just bought them and it's still too early to tell.

Then I got overambitious and started to search the net for local vermicompost worm farms. I thought maybe if I bought worms from them, at least I could recognize the species. I would know their specific requirements etc.

It seems that there are 3 groups of websites which sell those worms:

1. the big companies - they only sell large quantities, like 10 kgs of worms at RM 300 per kg and above, since the worms are imported ie African Nightcrawlers and Red Wigglers (adopting thousands of worms are probably like adopting 101 Dalmations... only less spotty)

2. family owned companies - very popular back in 2008. Went out of business soon after. I really don't know why.

3. National Agricultural Dept & Research Institutes - they don't sell the worms to the public. They used to though.

I've read a post somewhere that the Malaysian govt is limiting the import of those worms from overseas. I don't know whether there's an ecological or health issue.

I do agree to certain extent that we should use the local breed since they're well adapted to our climate. But even finding local breeds is next to impossible. Is it because the local worms don't do well in captivity? Slow reproduction rate?

So PLEASE, please, please.... anyone out there. If you have a recognizable (or even a thriving unknown species) vermicompost worms to sell/adopt, I'd very much appreciate it.

For now, I'll look after the ones I have. I will try to update on their progress. Thank you so much for reading. Feedbacks are appreciated.

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Celbrise

1st of all you should always know what kind of worms you are using in your vermicompost. call up the store you bought your worms at and they will know if not SHOULD know what worms they sold you.

2nd of all i live in Hawaii and they WILL NOT important any type of earth worms because it is not an indigenous species meaning if you cannot find it naturally here in Hawaii/was here originally then it is not indigenous. this is because non indigenous species can harm the eco system for example here snakeheads which is a fish are illegal because they breed rapidly and they can kill off food source for other animals causing countless other things plants, and animals to go extinct. same with the worms. worms might bring in diseases as well.

their are a few types of worms used for composting.

i know red wrigglers, african night crawlers, european night crawlers, here we have what are called indian blue worms/blue worms which are purple color.

idk if their is more but those are the ones i know specifically used for vermicomposting. i would not use burrowing worms. this is why you should know what worms you bought. you do NOT want burrowing worms.

take a pic and post it we might be able to tell you what kind of worm they are. and also check craigslist.com put up a local add if you are looking for worms. i have had to buy locally because their is no importing worms to my state. you can try buying online as well on various sites just call them up and ask if they ship they usually have a list of states they can ship to.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 4:25AM
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mendopete

Do you have manure piles near you? Most manure piles around here have red wigglers present naturally. Any manure that has been piled up for awhile should work. Horse and rabbit manure is best. Maybe you could go digging.

Good luck, Pete

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:18AM
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gerris2

The composting worms will also be found underneath piles of decomposing leaves and other vegetative matter.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Nini_TreeHugger

Hi guys. Thanks for the suggestions.
Update on my mysterious bait worms from the fishing shop. It was quite by accident actually. I was adding a bit of pre-composted (is that the right term?) apple pulp from my juicer. I had my LED light with me. I lifted one of the worms and I saw this iridescent purplish blue colouring on its body. I know it's the Malaysian/Indian blue worm, Perionyx excavatus since morphologically it's similar to the ones I read in the internet. The others in the bin are the same too. They're also quite energetic and move quite fast... for worms.

So, I got myself a bunch of vermicomposting worms. Yeay! They're settling down quite well in the bin. No escapees yet :)

Anyway as Pete suggested, I went digging for worms under a heap of cow manure. Found some blue worms also (although these have slightly darker colouring - maybe because of their diet), so I put them in the same bin as their 'fish bait shop' friends.

Gerris2 - will try to find some under the neighbourhood's gardening waste dumpsite next.

Celbrise - I agree with you regarding the local ecological balance. I think that's what the Malaysian government had in mind. But then again, after some research, I found out that back in 2008 they went all out importing the Red Wigglers, the European Nightcrawlers, African Nightcrawlers (they're also indigenous species but they're still importing them because nobody was breeding them on a large scale). Vermicomposting was an overnight sensation. It was like one of those get rich scheme with 'save the environment' twist to it. There were only a few handful of people here at the time who wanted to use them in their own household. So now almost all of the local worm entrepreneurs have gone out of business because they realized vermicomposting did not make as much money in the long run as they first thought. I know in other countries this kind of business is thriving.

For now I guess I'll dig my own vermicomposting worms. I wonder if I ever get any other species apart from Perionyx excavatus. Thanks for reading

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 7:58AM
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gerris2

Were you successful in finding them in nature?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 3:58PM
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aky103

Hi I just started my own worm bin at home last months . Collected the worm from the garden and like many ppl here, struggling to find where i can buy the worm to add in my worm bin.

Hope mine will multiply soon . Anyone knows how long it takes for them to grow?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:11AM
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gerris2

Under ideal conditions I would think you should see baby worms in a few weeks.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:51AM
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Nini_TreeHugger

Hi aky103,
I'm sorry I haven't checked my forum notification for ages and missed your entry. Looking at your profile, I understand that you're also from Malaysia. It took me quite a while to find a reliable worm farmer here. Most worm farmers sell their worms by bulk for commercial use. There are a few selling vermicompost worms to individuals like us but it's kind of expensive, cheapest is RM 280 per kg. There's a website, called earthworms.com.my based in Klang. I bought my African Nightcrawlers there. They're reliable and they will answer some questions regarding how to care for your worms. They even have a kit to start your vermicomposting (but you don't really need those since you already have your worm bin)

My experience with the worms I collected from cow manure or under some piles of leaves are not as encouraging as buying the African Nightcrawlers. The collected worms, although quite hardy do not process food scraps as fast. I have not seen baby worms from my 'collected worm' bin. I've collected them since October last year.

I still think it's worth a try. Collecting your own worms. Do keep in mind that those worms may not be worms they use for vermicomposting.

On the other hand, using ANC worms are just fantastic! My garden is blooming and I'm so happy with the result. :) Happy vermicomposting. I hope we get more Malaysians interested in vermicomposting :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:25AM
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aky103

Thanks Nini for the info really appreciate i. Unfortunately only today I found out that the garden worm is not ideal for composting . Will need ANC or red wrigglers at some stage . Happy to hear that ur garden blooming now. Mine sharing the pics or if u blog abt ur garden. Cheers

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:06AM
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aky103

mind*

Just called the lady at earthworms.com.my and I was told that the minimun order is 1 kg which is I guess will be too much for me. Will have to wait get and my bin fully loaded with kitchen scraps before I can order them .

I have a few friends who r interested in vermicomposting and hope there will be more.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:26AM
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aky103

mind*

Just called the lady at earthworms.com.my and I was told that the minimun order is 1 kg which is I guess will be too much for me. Will have to wait get and my bin fully loaded with kitchen scraps before I can order them .

I have a few friends who r interested in vermicomposting and hope there will be more.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:29AM
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Nini_TreeHugger

Hi aky103,
I had the same reservation as you when i heard that they only sell a minimum of 1kg of ANCs. I was asking myself what in the world would i do with that much worms! It took me a few weeks to make a decision. I decided to buy a kg of the worms. I know it's not cheap but at the time, i didnt know of anyone interested in dividing the worms with me.

The worms they sell are huge. Compared to the garden worms. They're a lively bunch too... Like miniature snakes lol.

Anyway, you asked me if I could sell you the worms. I wish I could but I'm still at the stage of getting the worms to reproduce more baby worms. You see, I dont regret buying 1kg of worms from them because I lost about 1/5 of the worms in the first 2 weeks. I lost some when they escaped my bins (i divided the worms and put them in 2 bins) and some died with those string of pearls syndrome. To this day, i still don't really know why the worms died. So maybe in the future, i'll give away some of my worms to people who are interested in vermicomposting but mot just yet. Im sorry.

I've learned a lot since then. The worms do not like their bins to be covered no matter how many holes you drilled on the bins. I guess it's because it got too warm with the Malaysian weather (the bins are inside my house away from direct sunlight). The kitchen scraps need to be precomposted if possible. Don't worry if you don't have enough kitchen scraps. they'll eat moistened newspapers etc. i sometimes go the market and get the rotten vegetables the sellers are throwing away. And if they are trying to escape, you can just shine a light on the bin.

So personally, aky, i think it's worth it to buy the whole 1kg of the worms. But if you have some friends interested, you can divide it with them. I've tried other sellers. They are quite expensive. Rm 350 above for a kg and some of the sellers are not really friendly or knowledgeable.

The second question pertaining to gardening tool. I bought most of my gardening tools at Daiso. You know the rm 5 shop. They're cheap, hardy and they have all kind of tools for composting and gardening. ACE hardware is good too.

Good luck :) am always happy to help fellow vermicomposter.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:30AM
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aky103

hi Nini I was too excitetd the other day when u informed me that the worms are available in KL the other day. There are 2 school of thought I read from the web
1. Garden worms are not good for composting . Red wiggler is the best (even african night crawler not ideal but i doubt)
2. Jabatan Pertanian advised that people who wanna do vermicomposting in Malaysia should use garden web i.e local worms
Not sure what is the best ,anyone? Myself I'll wait for a while before i decide to use ANC - hopefully the there are people selling them still when I do so . At the moment , I am actively looking arounf my garden for any worms to put into my worm bin ;p . Last time i check they were healthy and hopefully multyply soon enough

Apologies for the late reply but I'll try to be more active in this forum in the future.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:24AM
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equinoxequinox

Toss a few kitchen scraps into a corner of the garden. In a few weeks or months right after tossing in a few really good bits, turn into the compost with a tri tine fork and search for worms. Any worms you spot will be compost worms of the type that will work for vermicomposting in a bin. Or I could have all facts wrong.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:41AM
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aky103

Will give it a go. Thanks for the idea

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:14PM
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TanYiFie

I need Eisenia fetida or red wriggler, does anyone know where gt sell...I duwan African Night Crawler...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 10:33AM
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equinoxequinox

Part of the value of vermicomposting is that the benefits of it are available to the common man. One does not need to be a rocket scientist or have a huge bankroll to make it work just as well for them as Mega Vermicompost Incorporated. The worms, the microbes, the results are free to everyone. Perhaps in a desert or jungle this will not work. However, every pile of animal manure should after a short time contain worms endemic and well suited to that area. Indeed, due to worms propensity to crawl great distances for no apparent reason, each individual deposit of animal waste is quickly found and infested with compost worms. A pedigree worm is not needed to get the job done well. Money is not needed. Any compost pile or animal dung pile should provide exactly the right worm for that environment. Perhaps, Mega Vermicompost Incorporated needs pedigreed worms. We do not.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 12:55PM
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aky103

I started my worm bin months ago using garden worm which I collected from the garden and bought some from pet shop. Not sure are they but the effect is brilliant . There are babies now eating the compost, they are multiplying, composting soon enough on the waste i provide . Hope i'm on the right tract and would like to know what's the type of worm in my bin . Hope i can post photo

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 5:58AM
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Composterboy

I'm finding it impossible to get any supply of African night crawlers. The people from the website won't sell them anymore. The others that I've tried to contact don't reply emails and sms. Desperately need help to get some.. if anyone here can help.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 3:39AM
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TanYiFie

For those who are interested in African Night Crawler, you can visit this facebook page...

https://www.facebook.com/lovearth.vermicomposting

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 7:13AM
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