Euros vs Reds Wrap-Up

This morning I finally got around to counting the worms in my “Euros vs Reds” bins, and I must say that the incredible difference in bedding-processing between these two bins (reported on in my 8-22-12 update – link below) is making a LOT more sense.

As mentioned previously, I decided NOT to count any cocoons this time around (I can only imagine how long that would have taken!) – I simply counted “adults” (those with an obvious clitelum) and “young worms” (those without an obvious clitellum). There was certainly some grey area there, though, with some of the larger “young” worms likely being capable of reproduction, but in terms of a total-worm-population size, there really just no comparison!

Red Worms

Young Worms – 3
Adults – 18


Young Worms – 136
Adults – 14

So yeah…150 worms vs 21 worms (not even taking into consideration the average size difference) – lol. This is exactly why I didn’t want to draw any major conclusions simply based on the appearance of the bedding in the two bins. The picture below says it all (that one little handful of Euros likely contained as many – if not more – worms than there were in the entire Red Worm Bin! lol)

European Nightcrawlers

That being said…I still can’t help but think that Euros might be better adapted for thriving in systems where bedding materials are the primary food source (something I did feel bold enough to hint at in my last post). Sure, I gave them a decent advantage over the Reds right out of the starting gates – but that was MONTHS ago (at the end of January). It’s not so much that I’m shocked by the fact that the Euro population is larger than that of the Red Worms – I just can’t understand why we would still only have 21 Red Worms after 7+ months!

Looking back at my May update (where I reported finding 10 Red Worm adults, 8 juveniles, and 78 cocoons), it would appear that all the worms matured, yet only 3 more hatched out from those 78 cocoons! Compare those numbers to those of the Euros (8 adults, 71 juveniles, 104 cocoons back in May) and it’s clear that the Euros have been hatching out far more readily than the Red Worms.

In hindsight, I am glad I neglected these bins – since it resulted in these interesting findings – but I can’t help but wonder what might have happened had I added food a lot more often. One thing is for sure – I’m really looking forward to starting some new Euro experiments! Here are just a few questions I’d like to explore:

1) Pound for pound, will Euros process cardboard bedding (when primary food source) more quickly than Red Worms? Will they once again reproduce more quickly?
2) How much of a difference would it make if the bins were fed regularly?
3) What happens when an equal number of Euros and Red worms are forced to live in the same system? (something a lot of people email me about)
4) What happens when you keep Euros in a stacking bin? (another one people often inquire about)

Should be fun!

Previous Posts in Series
Euros vs Reds-8-22-12
Euros vs Reds-5-17-12
Euros vs Reds-3-8-12
Euros vs Reds-2-21-12
Euros vs Reds-2-09-12
Euros Vs Reds – Take Two…and…ACTION!
The Euros vs Reds Head to Head Challenge

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Cocoon Production & Bin Size

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Plastic Worm Bin-08-30-12


    • Dale
    • August 31, 2012

    Outstanding pic!! Bentley, very healthy looking Euro’s. looks like my first try when I tryed 8 cups of the Euro’s from the bait shop. Put them in and they will breed!

    • John Duffy
    • August 31, 2012

    21 reds after 7 months is definitely a fluke…Try the experiment again only this time, add 1 big ole cow pie. I think the reds will redeem themselves.

    • The Garbage Guru
    • August 31, 2012

    Better than my experiment.Tried moving some Euros to Florida and they all died.Put them both in horse poo to equal the playing field.As i’ve posted elsewhere.If i had some serious paper to compost,Euros would be my worm of choice.EF will chisel away at it all.Maybe the reds got nervous? Lol!

    • Michael
    • September 1, 2012

    Well that definately explains the bedding differences. Say what 3 worms out of 78 cocoons, that’s very odd.

  1. for me i have found that red wigglers and euros have very little in common; preferences in food, bedding, moisture, temperature, pH all different.

    • GA
    • September 2, 2012

    My guess on these results is that the reds did not hatch for some reason – the cocoons were there but the ‘signal’ to hatch wasn’t. Wild guess would be lack of moisture, but could be any of a number of other things, including lack of appropriate food.

    What might be interesting is to see how quickly the red population would rebound if conditions altered.

    • Rich feiller
    • September 3, 2012

    Bentley, let me know when you get ready for you next trial i ‘ll do an identical set up and compare notes. There are the conscience things i do, but most of what i do is automatic. Maybe GG can run test now that winter is approaching and others also join this would allow you far more variables and quantities. Quantitative results. This could be fun and exciting.

    • Rich feiller
    • September 3, 2012

    What would be a trip is if George Mingin would join in. I try to replicate his system and results he blows my doors off!!

    • Steve
    • March 29, 2015

    I would love to see a more controlled test of if Eisenia fetida are more efficient at processing food waste and Eisenia hortensis more efficient at processing bedding!

    My guess, if I had to bet on it, would be this: if bin size/space is the limiting factor, the EF will take it no matter what the feedstock, because they can supposedly live and thrive in denser populations, thus allowing them to potentially have more biomass per unit of space.

    But if biomass is controlled for, I have no idea which would be more efficient in either condition… I’m still thinking EF because I think it is said that they process greater quantities of waste per day relative to their weight.

    Again, would love to see you do another test for this!

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