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I have read that there are thousands of species of earthworms and the ones that are best suited for composting are epigeic worms. Ideally, I would use Eisenia fetida but it's difficult to find them locally. So I have started experimenting by using worms from bait shops. I have prepared an environment for them with cardboard bedding and apple cores and potato peels. I added a handful of soil as well. Every time I open the worm bin, I will see a couple of them right at the top. Are these epigeic worms? Also I noticed that there are soil tracks on the potato peels that have just been added. It probably means that the worms have crawled on top of it. Is this a behaviorial pattern that is unique to epigeic worms? Are there other things that only epigeic worms do?

ADDITIONAL CLARIFICATION: I living in South East Asia and trying to do vermicomposting in an apartment.

  • Using or rather SAVING the earthworms from a bait shop is hugely inventive and cool. Compost piles will attract whatever organism is needed necessary for decomposition as well as the organisms that need to have decomposed organic matter for food. Feed the life and the life will come and multiply. Indigenous is always better so you don't have to worry about the species. When you use the mulch always leave some to feed your soil/compost. That decomposed organic matter will feed the soil of your garden. Epigeic...they'll come to your pile without any help. – stormy May 10 '17 at 19:23
  • @Spior8 I've never known these different categories of earthworms. Way cool thing to learn. Don't worry about having to manually introduce worms. Compost piles will inherently attract Epigeic worms. Those bait worms are probably the Anecic earthworms those that burrow vertically into the soil. Guess they are larger which would mean someone digging to get earthworms for bait would obviously choose the largest. Doesn't matter. The worms necessary will LOVE your pile and thrive and reproduce. They are all important. The soil below your compost is going to have all three types! – stormy May 10 '17 at 19:29
  • As per the above comments, in my experience if you just leave the material the worms will come to it. However it should be material that's attractive to these creatures (i.e. not too much dry, leafy or fibrous material that would go in normal garden compost) and protect it from less desirable creatures that also find it attractive (foxes love to get into my get into my wormeries and strew it all over the place). – David Liam Clayton May 10 '17 at 21:37
  • ...don't know the answer to your question but I assume people selling fish bait are breeding it rather than digging it out of the ground, in which case it's more likely to be epigeic worms because they'd be easier to breed and harvest. They're quite easy to tell apart anyway - earthworms are pink brown, tiger worms are purplish red. – David Liam Clayton May 10 '17 at 21:41
  • In the UK, worms sold for fish bait are usually brandlings, also known as red wigglers or wrigglers, and in Latin, Eisena fetida - these worms are common and the most useful in compost heaps, rather than common earthworms. Depends what your fishing shop is selling as bait really, but its not clear whether you're vermicomposting or talking about a garden compost heap. For vermicomposting, Lumbricus rubellis can also be used. – Bamboo May 10 '17 at 23:13

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