Wednesday, October 10, 2007

African Nightcrawlers

Recently I wandered by the tackle and bait shop looking for some red or tiger worms to freshen up the herds in one of the bins. I just wanted to kick the bins along a little after having split two worm bins into five. This left the populations a little depleted.

To my suprise they were selling African Nightcrawlers as bait. I understood that they made good bait I just wasn't expecting them to sell them. Remember, biases don't need to make sense. Anyway, I thought I might buy some to see how they would go.

My initial plan was to clear out one of the Can-O-Worms bins and pop them in there. Easy. :) However, then I developed some doubts. I wondered if the red worms in the Can-O-Worms would like that. I convinced myself that I would have enough food for another worm farm. So, off I went to the hardware store half hoping that they would be out of worm farms all together to save me from buying one. As luck (good or bad) would have it they had a Can-O-Worms.

Part of the reason for wanting a good home for the African Nightcrawlers stems from their notorious reputation for nocturnal wunderlust. Often I read of reports of half the herd being dead and shrivelled on the ground around the worm farm when the worm herders do the morning rounds.

With the first 25 African Nightcrawlers settled in I added another 25 today. Buying from a bait shop is an expensive way to buy worms but these are an interesting breed and I'm totally hooked on them. They have burrowed into and eaten some of the coir bedding supplied with the Can-O-Worms and started eating some of the scraps of food and weeds I have given them just to started them off. I am being careful not to overfeed them as I do not want the bedding to become acidic as this would encourage their natural wunderlust.

Good things about African Nightcrawlers:
. the name!
. heat tolerant
. better bait as they are bigger and not as slimey as red wrigglers (I do not fish so this point is for people interested in fishing)
. they are HUGE! They grow to about 8 inches in length
. they leave larger, more aerated castings.

Bad things:
. they are escape artists
. they are less common so there is less information out there about them
. they are not strictly surface dwellers so castings harvesting may prove more difficult than with red wrigglers who really like to be near the surface.

Link for a full Can-O-Worms instructional booklet - 2 meg pdf.

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