Learn About The Different Composting Worms Types

Earthworms come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but only about 7 of them are suitable for composting. Only four of them are easily available in the United States. We’ll go through those in more detail later. But, before we can figure out the types of species available, we need to know how earthworms vary from one another.

Classes of Composting Worms

Based on their digging ability and the settings they live in, earthworms are classified as anecic, endogeic, or epigeic.

1) Anecic

Anecic worms are powerful vertical and horizontal burrowers that come to the surface of the soil to hunt for food for organic material to take back to their burrows. They can take entire leaves down into their tunnels, which can stretch 9 feet underground.

Anecic worms, such as typical nightcrawlers (Lumbricus Terrestris), are beneficial to your garden soil because they can burrow deep into compact soil and contribute to the water distribution network under the surface. They aren’t good composting worms, however, because they don’t eat on the surface.

2) Endogeic

Endogeic earthworms are horizontal “upper soil” burrowers that only come to the surface to eat. They function at a lesser depth in the soil than anecic worms, and their burrows are less solid. Endogeic worms are not regarded as good composting worms since they eat organic waste deep beneath the surface.

3) Epigeic

Surface soils, leaf litter, manures, and other loosely packed conditions are all home to epigeic earthworms. They are not burrowers and would perish in most garden soils, particularly clay-rich soils.

They are great composters because they dwell on or towards the surface and swarm microbe-rich organic wastes. All species of composting worms are epigeic. You’ll need these worms to make worm castings.

Composting Worms Types

1) Red wigglers

Red wigglers are the most prevalent composting worms in the United States. This is the type most gardeners have and the type that the majority of people use for their composting bins. Red wigglers are affordable and easy to come by.

2) Redworms (AKA manure worms)

Redworms are another common composting option, and they accomplish a similar, if not identical, work as red wigglers. If you can’t find any red wigglers in your area, look for redworms instead.

3) Brandling worms (AKA “tiger” or “trout” worms)

Brandling worms, often known as “tiger” or “trout” worms, are famous for digesting manure. Obtain these worms if your compost contains a lot of manure.

4) European nightcrawler

Since the European nightcrawler requires milder temperatures than the red wiggler and redworms, it is not as widely used. When compost is mostly found on top of the soil and organic decomposition generates heat, the surface soil can become rather heated (typically exceeding 135 degrees Fahrenheit).

As a result, even though European nightcrawlers reside closer to the surface, they aren’t suitable for use in most composting systems.

5) Indian or Malaysian blue worms

Blue worms from India or Malaysia love tropical temperatures. The appearance of these worms is similar to that of red wigglers, but their activity varies. Indian worms are vulnerable to barometric fluctuations, and they’ll come out to play when a storm approaches. This can result in easy prey for predators or worm bin breakouts (if you don’t have an adequate cover).

6) African nightcrawlers

African nightcrawlers are ideal for composting worms because they can consume up to 150 percent of their body weight every day. So, if you have 1 pound of worms, you may transform 1.5 pounds of biodegradable materials in a single day.

They tolerate higher temperatures, as do other composting worms, and will begin to die once temps exceed 60 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, they are a little less appealing than other worms. If you decide to compost with African nightcrawlers, keep the soil temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whichever epigeic or composting worm you pick, keep in mind that these worms aren’t the best burrowers, so they won’t do well in a garden’s dense soil, especially if the soil contains clay. You should use the simple earthworm if you’re seeking garden worms.