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Wow. I was really relieved tonight. I was afraid I'd murdered all my redworms.

Our winter started out very warm -- then it suddenly got very cold, and hardly ever got above freezing from late January thru last week (3rd week of March).

My outdoor worm bin froze completely solid before I could move it into a corner of the barn.

I got some new redworms tonight. Much to my surprise, when I dug down in my bin -- it was full of fat redworms munching on some lettuce we threw on top of the snow and ice two weeks ago.

I'm not sure how they survived being frozen solid, but I'm probably happier than them. They eat virtually all of our kitchen scraps, they make great BG bait, and their castings make great fertilizer.


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I caught at least 50% of the eight species of fish for my PBoss sampling study by using redworms. They are an excellent live bait when using hooks with a small gape such as No 8, 10, 12, and 14.


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At least you wouldn't have had to bury them if they died.


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 Quote:
Originally posted by catmandoo:
Wow. I was really relieved tonight. I was afraid I'd murdered all my redworms.
It's good to know that your worms survived so that you can impale them on a hook in the hopes that a fish will swallow them. YOU WORM TORTURER YOU! \:D \:D \:D

Just kidding of course, I just found the irony rather funny. I worry about the BG that I bought because I want to make sure that enough of them survive in order to make forage base for the bass to eat.

This pond meistering is a rather strange business.


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store bought (euro) crawlers VS locally dug redworms?

interesting to note a recent observation i had.....i've been digging redworms on the property while soil is still wet, and they are near the top layer. been using them for BG treats and to "sample" my fish. i had a couple leftover store bought european nightcrawlers and used these also........no contest........given a choice, the fish love the redworms.


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 Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Cody:
I caught at least 50% of the eight species of fish for my PBoss sampling study by using redworms. They are an excellent live bait when using hooks with a small gape such as No 8, 10, 12, and 14.
Using the famous Bill Cody Sampling Technique #1*, we successfully sampled some great fried fish this evening. So far, not a bit of remorse was felt over being near the top of the food chain.


*Bill Cody Technique 1 -- just a chair and worms. I couldn't try Technique 2 -- I unfortunately don't have a Pond Yacht like Bill's. (Bill - you need to post the architectural plans for your yacht!)


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It is good to know the sampling technique also works in WV. I have used the method in lots and lots of ponds. It will be the unusual situation where the method fails.


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catmandoo-
How did you establish your redworms? What works best to house them? Materials, size, etc. Do they eat some types of scraps better than others? I hope to dublicate what you're doing...it sounds like a lot of fun.


"Only after sorrow's hand has bowed your head will life become truly real to you; then you will acquire the noble spirituality which intensifies the reality of life. I go to an all-powerful God. Beyond that I have no knowledge--no fear--only faith."
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 Quote:
Originally posted by davatsa:
catmandoo-
How did you establish your redworms? What works best to house them? Materials, size, etc. Do they eat some types of scraps better than others? I hope to dublicate what you're doing...it sounds like a lot of fun.
Worms are real easy to raise.

Worm House. My present bin came from Wal-Mart or K-Mart about 10 years ago. It cost about $7. As you can see in the photo, I drilled a series of half-inch holes around the outside. I also put about 5-10 holes in the bottom. These provide air and drainage. The worms are basically happy, and few decide to escape through the holes.

Establishing. I am about to completely clean out my present bin and start over. I do this a couple of times per year. When I do, I'll shred about five or six newspapers -- enough to fill 1/2 to 3/4 of the bin. Knowledgeable sources say to only use black and white, as the color inks can be poisonous. I have a small office shredder, but you could easily rip them by hand into small strips.

I will then put a couple of shovel fulls of garden dirt on top of the newspaper, and thoroughly soak it down with a hose. I'll let it drain for at least a day. Then I'll mix it all together.

Worms. In my case, I'll use my present worms -- more on that below. But, whenever I've had to start over, I just go to the local 7-11 or Wal-Mart and buy two or three containers of red wigglers. Around here, they typically package 30 to 36 in a container for $2-$3.

Adult worms, or "breeders" reproduce like crazy. In about a month, you will find many hundreds of small worms. They will grow fast, and turn into many many more hundreds -- plus the originals will keep breeding and getting even fatter. They'll grow to about half the size of a night crawler. If you start now, you'll be able to pick more worms than you can use by mid-June.

You can use most any kind of manure worm, but the red wigglers sold in bait stores have been bred just for this purpose. They are extremely hardy. Our bin has always been in a shady spot, and we've never lost ours to summer heat. Obviously they seem to know how to survive freezing too -- I just don't know how.

Food. We feed ours most of our vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen. This includes potato peels, banana peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, apple cores, old lettuce, etc. We give them all our egg shells. We DON'T give them any citrus (orange peels, grapefruit rind, etc), as the acid is supposedly harmful to them.

We have a mulch bucket that holds about a gallon of scraps. They get a bucket full once or twice a week. They make a bucketful completely unrecognizable in less than a week. I usually mix it into the top several inches.

Harvesting and Reconditioning. For fishing, you can obviously just go grab a handful when needed. But, they will need to be cleaned out now and then.

They hate light. An easy way to harvest lots of them is to get a board, a 5-gallon bucket, and a container for the worms. Put the board half-way over the bucket. Dig out a big scoop full of worms and castings from your worm bin. Put it on the board. Pile it like a pyramid. The worms will go down to get away from the light. Knock of the top and edges into the bucket. Pile it up again. Keep doing this until most of the dirt is in the bucket, and the board has most of the worms.

The "castings" make great fertilizer. Lots of excess worms make for great bluegill and catfish feedings.

Good luck.
Ken

P.S. Right after I posted this, I noticed there was another set of active postings with lots of good information about raising worms: Raising European Night Crawlers






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Looks great Catman, I'm off to Wally World for a container.


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Good post Catman!!

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Great post catmandoo. When you say about half the size of night crawlers, it makes me think that you have european night crawlers as I think red worms are much smaller. Does anyone know the distinction better than I?

We have red worms but I've never liked them for bait. I have always thought that if a fish (bluegill) wasn't big enough to take a 1 1/2 to 2 inch minnow, that I didn't want to fool with it. For sampling little fish, red worms would be fine, I guess.


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Thanks for the tips, Catmandoo.


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 Quote:
Originally posted by Norm Kopecky:
Great post catmandoo. When you say about half the size of night crawlers, it makes me think that you have european night crawlers as I think red worms are much smaller. Does anyone know the distinction better than I?
Norm,

You certainly could be right. I looked at the cartons that the latest batch came in -- they only say "30 Fishing Worms."

The "commercial" worms I've had for the last couple of years seem to be bigger than the redworms of yesteryear. I just thought it was the better food and mountain relaxation of being in West Virginia vs. Virginia.

For many years I just used manure worms from around the chicken coop, or out of the puddles after a spring rain. They just weren't as prolific, and they would die out in the summer heat.

Last year's batch of worms would start to turn a reddish-yellow color as they got really fat. I'd guess the biggest ones were 4-5 inches long, and 3/16-inch at the fattest. The smaller ones had a rather hard skin. As they got bigger and fatter, they oozed a somewhat disgusting fluid when I put them on a hook -- think of what a 3-inch mealy worm might be like.

Right now, I don't have any of the really fat ones. Looking at photos on the Internet, I can't tell a difference between the European night crawlers and red wigglers. In the photos they all look identical!

Once they start really growing, I'll get post some photos.

I still always keep a crate full of regular night crawlers in my beer refrigerator. They are still the best bait -- they just don't eat my garbage.

Good fishn'
Ken


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Red Wigglers (manure worms) will eat the scraps and shredded paper much faster than the night crawlers. The night crawlers like to go deeper (3 ft) on occasion and would probably leave a shallow container. If the red wigglers are happy and fed right with the correct soil moisture they will get big and fat and tend to loose some of that dark red color and as catmandoo said, and turn more yellow on their bellies.

I have my worms in an old water tank. I mix in table scraps, green cuttings and manure from my neighbors horses and chickens. A few citrus peels wont hurt but dont over do it. Crushed egg shells keep your pH in check as well. Avoid any meats. Covers on top with aeration on the sides keeps flies and pests out of your bins.

They will die if you dont feed them or change or at least dilute the castings in the soil. If you add the shredded paper as mentioned 2-3 times a year you will have no problems. The castings are better than any commercial fertilizer made and it is not "Hot".

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I'll vouch for the Red Wigglers as well. Left sweltering Bakersfield, CA for a 6 week vacation. Returned, added water to the worm box, started to add some fresh worms, but the box was loaded with little Red Wigglers!


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Catmandoo,
How often do you have to clean out the old castings and put in new dirt? It's amazing that this little bin full of worms can consume a gallon of kitchen scraps a week!


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 Originally Posted By: Jersey
Catmandoo,
How often do you have to clean out the old castings and put in new dirt? It's amazing that this little bin full of worms can consume a gallon of kitchen scraps a week!


Jersey,

Here is what we put in about twice a week. We put in all the non-meat food scraps from the kitchen.



This is about a handful turned over from the top couple of inches of my worm box. Currently there are thousands of worms in the bin, ranging from real small to somewhat bigger than those shown here. Many of the big ones get chosen as my fishing buddies.




The last time I put in scraps was 4 days ago. Except for a few scraps of corn husks, nothing much else is recognizable. The bucketful above will be unrecognizable in 3-4 days.

I filled a five gallon bucket with castings in about mid-June. I've also taken out several large cans of castings and worms that I've put into some big leaf piles I have. It is again about time to take out another five gallon bucket of castings. I take out about the bottom 4-5 inches from the bin, and it is very black and dense.

I no longer try to get all the worms out from the castings I remove. It is just too much work, and the worms grow back really fast. I just keep the biggest ones.

This time of year I add a small shovel full of dirt to give the worms a little grit after I remove the five gallons of castings.

What I'm amazed at is how the worms thrive whether the weather is 45 or 95 degrees. There are days I'll forget a small can of worms (half full of the castings) on the dock. I'll go back the next day, and they'll still be just as healthy after sitting in the sun for several hours.

I get all the fishing worms I need for the grandkids and me.

Good fishn'
Ken


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Well done, Cat.
Moderators; maybe this should be archived...?

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 Originally Posted By: Brettski
Moderators; maybe this should be archived...?


When I got home tonight, I wasn't sure what my worms were so excited about. But, they wanted me to let Brettski and the moderators know that they are supremely honored to be in the world famous Pond Boss Archives. They said they felt like Archie Bunker when his chair was put on display at the Smithsonian.


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Oh sure Catmandoo:

(1) hears his worms speaking to him

and

(2) Understands them (Wormglish, Wormbonics?)

And I'm the one that gets called crazy??

All kidding aside great write up Ken!


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Just a Spring 08 update.

This past winter I intentionally left my worm bin outside, mostly full of worms. It was frozen solid from before Christmas until about two weeks ago. I went out in tonight's relatively warm weather to check on them. I had also put a shovel full of worms into my compost bin from the worm bin. Both bins are full of fat lively and feisty worms.

I don't know how the worms do it. Whenever I've accidentally frozen a carton of commercial worms, they turn to a smelly soupy mess when thawed.

Oh well, I was just happy to see them eating my garbage.


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Cat, I am convinced that "natural" worms are hardier and will keep longer than "treated" worms. Maybe it's something to do with damage to the mucous coating.

I know dug worms will last over a week in the fridge; storm-drenched worms I collect off the porch at out horse barn (although very active when collected) turn to smelly slush in 2-3 days in the same fridge.


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I could be wrong, but I don't think those are Redworms nor European Nightcrawlers.

European Nightcrawlers


Redworms



Thoughts?


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Weissguy, I nominate you for the best avatar on your signature line. It's awesome.


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