African Nightcrawlers

5 Reasons Why Your Redworms, Like Your Spouse, Will Leave You if you Don’t Treat them Right

Sometimes we don’t realize that there is a problem in our relationship with our significant other until they just leave one day.  One day, you wake up, find a text from another person, a pair of foreign underwear under the car seat, lipstick on their collar or they just up and leave you and you are left befuddled and heartbroken, trying to figure out what happened and how you could have stopped it.

Well, I had that moment this morning and I can tell you that same goes for worm farmers and their worms.  Today, at 4 AM, I was awakened by the soft sound of light rain.  Farmers get up early.  I made a cup of coffee and decided to take a walk out to look at the 500,000 red worms we harvested yesterday, which were to be shipped today.  Nothing seemed out of place as I walked to our staging area, which is outside but is under canopies.   Then I noticed the lights were off.  We always keep low wattage lights over our new beds or newly harvested worms.  It stops even the worst offenders from crawling off from their new digs.

The lights were a clue but didn’t really register right away.  I was too busy thinking about how the got shut off.  Everyone knows better.  Maybe I didn’t turn them on?  Maybe I shut them off by accident?  I am getting up there.  I will be 50 in 6 months.  I may have had a pre-senior moment.

I flipped the lights on and saw the swarm.  Worms moving in masses in every direction.  I should have run back to grab my phone to tape the swarm but I was too busy, living in the moment, grabbing handfuls of worms and tossing them back into harvesting bins.   I scrambled on hands and knees scooping and pawing at the ground, trying to save the worms and my livelihood from slithering away.

I grabbed what I could, ran inside to get my son to help me and when I returned, the swarm was gone.  The light had forced them to march on.  The light caused them to scurry to darker pastures.

I estimate that we lost about 200,000 worms this morning out of the 500,000 that we harvested last night.  That hurts.  We will be fine, we will harvest more and we will be shipping on time this morning, but it really struck me about how much the relationship between a worm farmer and his worms is so much like any other relationships in this world.  If you don’t treat your worms right, they will leave you.

So, what made them crawl off?  Worms will leave you for 5 good reasons;

1.  The are too crowded.  Crowded worms will crawl off to be less crowded.  They will also stop breeding or will breed less in crowded conditions.

2.  The don’t like the food.  If you are not feeding you redworms enough, or if you are feeding them things that they do not like, they will leave you.

3.  Improper pH.  Worms need a good pH of around 7 to thrive.  If you do not test their bedding and adjust the pH, you will lose your worms.  They will either “fly” or they will die.  Get a good pH meter and test your worm bedding weekly.

 

4.  They will flee if their bedding becomes anaerobic.  You can tell an anaerobic worm bed by the smell.  It smells like rotting death and will usually have very wet bedding.  Worms cannot tolerate anaerobic conditions.  Keep the bed turned weekly to aerate, keep the bedding moist but not wet and make a habit of smelling the bedding.

5.  Worms will crawl off if it is raining and they are outside.  I don’t care how well you care for your worms, if it is raining, your worms will sometimes crawl off just for the sake of crawling off.  You can stop this by installing anti-crawl barriers, lids or lights over the beds during periods of prolonged rain.  Please don’t electrocute yourself.

Well, I made a short video of the aftermath of the crawl.  I am going to have a good cry now and then I will put on my big boy pants and get back to work because we have orders to fill today.

Have a great day.
Ken

Harvesting Red Worms

How to Harvest Red Worms on a Budget

Worm farmers use machines to harvest worms on their farms, but that should not stop you from farming worms.  Starting small, on a budget is the best way to start farming redworms.  You can harvest your worms using the Sun or a bright light.

Red worms do not like bright lights and the burrow to get away from it.  Just put the redworms in a big pile of bedding and put a 200 watt LED over them or put them outside and  on a sunny day and you will be harvesting in no time.

The trick is to keep removing the top layer of bedding as the worms burrow.  When you get to the bottom you will have a slithering mass of redworms ready to be shipped or put into a new bed.

Want to see the process in action?  Check out our video.  The camera was really awful but you will get a good idea about what I am trying to explain here.

Happy Worming!

Ken

Giant Mealworms

How to Grow Giant Mealworms

I get asked every week how we make Giant Mealworms.  Well, I decided to stop answering that question via email because I am going to share it right here for everyone to read.

Giant mealworms are treated with a growth regulator.  I have become tired of seeing mealworm sellers state that they don’t use chemicals on their mealworms to get them to become giants. Of course, they do use chemicals.  There isn’t any other way to do it.

We use a brand called Diacon II to spray on the beds of our giants.  We never use the same bins for other mealworms and the giants are in a separate building so that we do not contaminate our breeding and pet supply stock.

Facts:

  1.  They cannot breed once treated because the treatment stops the mealworm from becoming a beetle.  It interrupts the process and makes them grow larger instead.
  2.  The chemical is not toxic to pets or people, but it is still a chemical and I would not ingest it.  I also would not feed them to my pets. I say that right on our site at http://www.wormman.com. 
  3. If you want big mealworms for reptiles and pets, then use large mealworms or get medium superworms.  Both of those choices are not treated at Worm Man.
  4.  They do make awesome bait.
  5. In order to purchase the chemical, one must be a certified and licensed pest control operator.  I get recertified every 5 years in order to be able to by growth regulator.

Watch our video for more information.

Cool Stuff

Garden Snail Eggs

Wormman.com does not sell garden snails or escargot snails, but we do have some growing here on the farm for fun.  We do not eat them either…YUCK!

They are pretty cool to watch and we like to feed them our extra garden greens.  We have a group of Helix aspersa that laid eggs which are about to hatch.  I will post a follow-up when they hatch.

We also have Roman Snails or Helix Pomatia growing here.  They are much bigger and very interesting.  The Romans used to carry the snails with them as they conquered so that they had a source of rich meat.

I have pictures of Roman snails (Helix Pomatia) breeding below.  This video of the eggs is from Helix Aspersa.

Both our Roman Snails and our Helix Aspersa have had babies in the past but this is the largest egg clutch yet.

I was cleaning out mealworm bins and sorting worms for shipping when I took a peek into the snail enclosure, which is in my office, and noticed the eggs.  I later caught the Roman snails breeding and videotaped that on my phone and took pictures. Those are posted here also.   Is that wrong?  🙂

Check out the videos and pictures.

Helix Aspersa

African Nightcrawlers

Huge African Nightcrawler!!

This African Nightcrawler even scared me and I have been playing with worms for 30 years.  I found this one as I was cleaning out an old breeder bin.  He must have been hiding out for a while because he is gigantic and I have never seen an African Nightcrawler this big in my life.  They can get big but this one was insanely huge.  He will now be put out to stud, where he will spend the rest of his life breeding and making giant African Nightcrawler babies.

He/She needs a name.  Go to our discussion area and help us pick a name for this mascot. http://wormman.blog/forum/index.php?threads/largest-african-nightcrawler-i-have-ever-seen.1/

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Curly Flies

Working on Curly-Wing Flies

We are working on breeding Curly-wing flies and bought the domain name “curlywingflies.com”.  We are in our 8th generation.  We are going to go to 15 generations before we put these up for sale.

Curly-wing flies are flightless houseflies.  We have found a way to breed these on a vegetable based diet, which was not easy, but it has lessened the smell in the breeding and larvae rooms.

We plan on shipping these in cups or in mesh or burlap bags.  We will not ship the larvae or live adult flies, but we will ship the cocoon in its dormant form before it becomes a fly.

The pictures below of are closeups that I took last week.  They can’t fly because their wings are curled.

These flightless houseflies are the same size as normal house flies.  Zero chemicals or drugs are used to create the curly wings.  The curl was created using a curling iron and hairspray.  What a pain in the next curling the wings of thousands of houseflies with one little curling iron.  🙂

Kidding.  The curl was achieved through selective breeding over a long period of time so that these would breed true.  Every once in a while we end up with a curly-wing fly that can fly or sort of fly, but we remove those flys from our cultures so that those flies with the strongest wing curl, which keeps them from flying, only get to breed in our facility.

Our curly-wing flies are Musca domestica, which is exactly the same fly that visits your house and is a pain during picnics.  Ours cannot fly so it makes them easy to control, feed to your reptiles and pets and to hamper escapes.

We are working on a great deal for you.  We are planning our go-live sale and we will have informative care videos, information and fly pupae for sale.  We will also have food for sale so that you can care for your flies when they are delivered.

These are common houseflies that are flightless and they cannot be raised like flightless fruit flies.  They have different habits and needs.  If you raise them like Melanogaster or Hydei flightless fruit flies, they will die.

Sign up for an email when we go live.  Once we start selling Curly-wing flies, we will provide:

  1.  A list of supplies that you will need, with links to those supplies, even if we do not carry them.
  2. Feeding and care information in the form of videos with written instructions.
  3. A link to our proprietary blend of food, made with our secret recipe.  Heck, I will even throw in the recipe.  We keep no secrets here.  Proprietary, shmoprietary!
  4. Of course, a link to our sale, which will be a great value.

 

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General posts

Worm Man’s Blog!

Welcome to our new blog.  We used to have a blog and a forum back a few years ago, and it was hacked and we never rebuilt it.  We are giving it a go again, and this time we are using world-class security and regular backups.

I am not sure if we will be adding a forum or not.  Let’s see how this goes.  If you guys think we need a forum then I will have one built.  Please interact, ask questions and let us know your thoughts.  We are here for you.