Red Wigglers and European Nightcrawlers in the Same System?

Question from John:

I bought reds years ago and they are still doing well. Planning on buying more worms. I have a huge amount of old pig manure 20 x 40 x 2 septic tank. (old pig farm) and thinking about introducing night crawlers to the batch. This is a long term retirement crop. LOL .

When it comes time to sell these worms years from now is it going to be a pain to seperate reds from night crawlers. Should I just stay with the Reds?

Hi John,

Your “huge amount of old pig manure” sounds great! BUT make sure you put it through some form of “pre-composting” stage before feeding it to the worms. It is typically a liquid or slurry (seems to be the case for you, given your mention of a septic tank) so it will first need to be mixed with a dry, absorbent, carbon-rich bedding type of material, and then allowed to compost (or at least age) for a while.

There shouldn’t be a really pungent manure smell by the time you use it, and I still recommend adding it in thin layers at the top of a very well-ventilated system just to make sure it won’t harm the worms (make sure they have lots of safe habitat material to hang out in down below).

Now, about mixing Red Worms and Euros…

While these worms CAN co-exist perfectly fine, I definitely don’t recommend keeping them in the same system if at all possible. For starters, gradually over time, you may find that the Red Worms tend to dominate over the Euros. The latter worm tends to be a bit more “sensitive” and also doesn’t grow in number quite as quickly.

Apart from that – your concern about it being a pain to separate them later is definitely valid! Your customers will almost certain end up with both worms no matter how careful you are (since there are also cocoons to consider), and you’ll just end up spending more time on harvesting than you really need to be.

I still recommend raising Euros, assuming you have the room – I’m sure they would do well with an aged pig manure / bedding mix. But set them up in their own distinct systems for best results.

Hope this helps!

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    • Mark Jordan
    • November 4, 2015

    I tried doing that. Mixing red worms with i think night crawlers. Frist of all i have a manure bucket 36×14×12 full of fresh cow manure. I left it for six weeks to age in the garden no lid open to the elements. I had a look and there was heaps of red worms. I decided to make red worm composting. Broccoli box shredded paper , crushed up dry gumtree leaves and callisteom leaves and hand full cow manure. About 200 red wrigglers in broccoli box. Then i gathered about 200 night crawlers from side of the road where a lot of gumtree leaf litter is. Also put them into broccoli box with red wrigglers and put lid on box. Check on the worms see how there going and no worms in box except a couple of small red wrigglers. I am trying again this time i will try introducing alittle slower. And age the bedding materials bit older.

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