It’s been just over 3 months since my last Euros vs Reds update, so I figured it was high time I check on the bin! I seem to recall adding a little bit of food here and there, but there’s no doubt that this bin has been badly neglected for the most part (it’s important keep in mind, however that I only started with 3 of each type of worm so not quite as bad as it sounds! lol).
Today I wanted to perform a quick assessment to see how the populations each type of worm are doing. I only counted worms (saw plenty of cocoons for both species, but did not count them) – and didn’t even bother differentiating between young and adults. This is partially due to the fact that a lack of clitellum (my usual criteria for determining immaturity) isn’t all that reliable, and I was just generally trying to move along as quickly as possible.
I must say that the results are decidedly one-sided – much more so than I ever would have expected, in fact!
Here are my counts (NOTE: the “Indeterminate” category was created for tiny worms I couldn’t clearly ID as either Euros or Reds)
Red Worms – 50
Euros – 14
Indeterminate – 16
This is quite a contrast from our previous Euros vs Reds experiment (where the Euros seem to come out on top)! In my mind there are three possible explanations:
1) Red Worms have a tendency to outcompete Euros when they present in the same system (remember, for the last challenge I used separate systems). Not really sure if this is the case, but I still think it might be a possibility.
2) Red Worms are better adapted for thriving in low quality habitats (including those that have become acidified). The habitat in this bin is definitely far from ideal – but again, I’m not really sure if this is a viable explanation.
3) Red Worms simply grow and reproduce at a faster rate than Euros. I think this is the most likely explanation – and my hunch is that something else went “wrong” in the Red Worm system during the last experiment.
Moving forward, my aim will be to improve the habitat quality, and to feed more regularly. I began the process today by mixing in some of my expandable stove pellets, along with another food/habitat mix (containing sawdust as a base) I created. These should help to soak up excess moisture and buffer any excess acidity that may have developed (my new mix contains rock dust).
I’ll be interested to see how things look a bit later in the summer!