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April 26, 2022 7 min read

Guide to Red Wiggler Composting Worms: Everything You Need to Know

Red wiggler photo

 

This guide aims at giving you a deeper look at the red wiggler: information on breeding, lifecycle, and reproduction. This guide will also explain the importance of raising and  keeping red wigglers for compost.

Looking to start a worm composting bin? Red wigglers, or Eisenia fetida, are the most common type of worm used for composting and can be found by searching online. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about keeping these little guys happy and healthy!

Introduction to the Red Wiggler: Anatomy, Reproduction and Life Cycle

 Red wigglers are commonly known as Eisenia fetida, a composting worm. As one of the Epigeic class of compost worms, the red wiggler usually does not appear in soils. Rather, it thrives within the soils of leaves litter, manure, and decomposing vegetation. The worm is red or reddish-brown in color and has a smooth, cylindrical shape. The clitellum, or saddle-like reproductive gland, is located about two-thirds of the way down the worm's body. Both sexes possess this gland, but only the female worm will use it to produce cocoons.

 A red wiggler worm can grow up to four inches in length but is usually only about two and a half inches. The worm has a small mouth located at the front of its head. It also has tiny bristles, called setae, which help the worm move and anchor itself to surfaces. Red wigglers have no eyes, but they do have light-sensitive cells that help them avoid predators and find food.

 Red wigglers are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. However, they still need to mate with another worm in order to produce offspring. During the mating process, two worms will exchange sperm. Each worm will then produce a cocoon, which can contain anywhere from two to 20 baby worms. It takes about three weeks for the cocoons to hatch and for the worm babies, or larvae, to develop into adults.

The lifespan of a red wiggler worm is about one to two years. However, under optimal conditions, some worms have been known to live up to five years.

The Benefits of Red Wiggler Composting Worms

 

Red wigglers are ideal for worm composting because they reproduce quickly and can eat their weight in food every day. They're also great at aerating the compost and helping to break down organic matter more quickly.

Worm compost, or vermicompost, is rich in nutrients and is an excellent amendment for garden soils. It's also been shown to improve the growth and yield of plants. Worm castings contain five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus, and three times more potassium than typical garden soil.

Worm compost can also help to reduce water usage in gardens. The worm castings help to hold moisture in the soil and make it available to plants for a longer period of time. This means that you won't need to water your plants as often and can even grow drought-resistant plants with worm compost!

 How much moisture should you give to red wiggler composting worms?

 Red wigglers are unable to survive in waterlogged conditions and will drown if their home is too wet. The ideal moisture content for a worm's home is between 60 and 70 percent. You can check the moisture level of your worm's home by squeezing a handful of bedding. If water drips out, your worm home is too wet and you should add some dry bedding or newspaper. If the bedding feels crumbly and doesn't hold together, it's too dry and you should add some water.

What temperature do red wigglers like?

 Red wigglers are most active in temperatures between 55 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. They will begin to slow down their reproduction rates at temperatures below 55 degrees and will go into hibernation mode once the temperature drops below 41 degrees. If the temperature in your worm's home gets too hot, the worms will try to escape.

 What should I feed my worms?

Worms eat a variety of organic matter such as fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, eggshells, and dead leaves. You can also add worm manure to your compost pile to help speed up the decomposition process.

To feed your worms, simply add the food scraps and bury them beneath the shredded cardboard. I like to chop up my fruit and vegetable scraps into small pieces so that the worms can eat them more easily.

 Red wigglers are omnivorous and will eat just about anything that you put into your worm's home. They prefer soft, decaying organic matter such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and shredded newspaper. You can also add cooked grains, pasta, and rice to your worm bin, but avoid adding meat or dairy products as these will attract pests and produce odors. When feeding your worms make sure all food from the previous feeding has been eaten. Although worms will eat citrus it's best to feed in moderation.

How often should you feed red wigglers?

 You should aim to feed your worms about once a week. If you're not sure how much food to add, a good rule of thumb is to add enough so that the worms have finished eating it within two to three days. You can also check the moisture level of your worm bin to see if the worms have eaten all the food. If the bedding is dry, it means they need more food.

What are worm castings?

 

Worm castings are the nutrient-rich feces of earthworms. They're an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for plants. Worm castings also contain beneficial microbes add worm castings to your compost pile or use them as a fertilizer for your plants.

 How do you harvest worm compost?

Worm compost is ready to harvest when the bedding in your worm bin is dark and crumbly. You can either remove the entire bin and start fresh, or you can remove half of the bin and add fresh bedding and food to the other half. If you're removing the entire bin, you can sift out the worm compost and use it in your garden. If you're removing half of the bin, you can add fresh bedding and food to the other half.

The worms will migrate to the fresh food and you can harvest the worm compost from the other half of the bin.

To harvest worm compost, you'll need a sifter or colander and a bowl or bucket. Place the sifter over the bowl or bucket and scoop out some of the bedding from your worm bin. Gently shake the sifter to sift out the worm compost. You can then use the worm compost in your garden or add it to your potted plants.

You can also use a worm harvester like the one pictured above. A must have in the commercial worm world.

Worm composting is a great way to reduce your food waste and provide nutrients for your plants.

What is the best worm bin?

 

There are a few things to consider when choosing a worm bin, such as the size of the bin and the type of material. The most important thing is to choose a bin that has good drainage and aeration. Worm bins can be made from plastic, wood, or metal.

No matter what type of worm bin you choose, make sure it has good drainage and aeration. The worms need oxygen to survive and if the bin doesn't have good ventilation, the worms will suffocate. If it is your first bin I would recommend the Urban Worm Bag. You can purchase your Urban Worm Bag from The Urban Worm Company or right here .

 

What is the best bedding I should use?

 

There are a few different types of bedding you can use such as coco coir, shredded newspaper, and shredded cardboard. I prefer to use coco coir because it's made from coconut husks and it's a renewable resource. It's also absorbent and doesn't compact like other types of bedding.

 To prepare the coco coir, you'll need to soak it in water for about an hour. Once it's soaked, squeeze out the excess water. You can also add a layer of shredded newspaper or cardboard on top of the coco coir to help with drainage and aeration.

What is the most common composting worm?

 

 

The most common composting worm is the red wiggler or Eisenia fetida. They're also known as manure worms, tiger worms, and meme's worms. Red wigglers are small worms that can grow to be about four inches long.

Red wigglers are great for composting because they're able to break down a lot of organic matter which is then called worm castings or worm poo. They also reproduce quickly, so you'll always have a steady supply of worms for your worms home.

The European Nightcrawler makes a great composting worm for the garden because it can live in the soil. The European Nightcrawlers are great for fishing as they are the only worm that can live in brackish water.

 The African Nightcrawlers are a great composting worm and can eat much more food faster and have larger castings than European nightcrawlers or red wigglers. African Nightcrawlers can not live below 50 degrees which makes them less attractive to your home composters.

If you're looking for a worm to start your worm bin, I recommend you purchase red wigglers from Meme's Worms.

Other places to buy worms?

Click Here to find local worm growers

You can also purchase worms from Memes worms  worm farms, or online worm retailers. Buying in bulk is usually cheaper and you'll get more worms for your money.

Can I start a business with worms and make sales?

 

Worm castings are a valuable product with many uses, from agriculture to fishing. If you're looking to make some extra money, worm composting could be the answer!

Whether you decide to advertise on Facebook or some other online platform you will need to do your research on your location, prices, and the differences between worms. Whether you have online sales or want to open many stores, you should do your research first.

You can also choose to become an affiliate for Memes Worms or another company of your choice. We will leave this for another day but if you are interested you can check it out here.

Feel free to leave a comment below or contact me at the Memes Worms.

No it's not pronounced worm meme but MiMi as in Grandma! We're always happy to help.

We hope this has been helpful and you will learn from our article.

Happy worm composting!

 If you’re excited about starting your own composting system, Memes Worms has everything you need to get started. They offer a variety of red wigglers and even have a “build your own bin” kit for those who want to be self-sufficient. Head over to their website today and start reducing your waste while building rich, organic soil for your garden. Do you have any experience with vermicomposting? Leave us a comment below!

 


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