Do you love big bluegill?
Okay folks, most of you here are fan of live baits. Worms are the way to go. Most folks are into purchasing Canadian/African/Euro nightcrawlers. That's fine. But these nightcrawlers don't stand well when it comes to the battles in the water. African nightcrawler, by far, the best for baits, but horrible when it comes to raising. Worst type to raise for garden/compost piles will be the Canadian or Euro. They're a freaking pain in the butt. I have them all. They are so poor adapters of various environment.
Now, I'm show you tricks to raise the special kind of worms that, although not native to America, but had been introduced to the US back in the 1800s, they are the titans of worms. Normally, they're found in the southeastern states, primarily in Georgia and Alambama, thus, the name, Georgia/Alambama Jumpers. DO NOT purchase any of these jumpers with the "Amynthas agrestis", which quite a few states deemed them to be prolific invasive species. Look for the "Amynthas gracilis", the larger of the species from Asian. They are indeed prolific, but lower production rate, and more violent in the water, not to mention much more durable. I've taken both the Amynthas agrestis and gracilis, and both produce fishes like there's no tomorrow. The Amynthas agrestis are extremely aggressive in preventing you in putting it onto the hook, due to its shorter size (3" to 4"). The Amynthas gracilis, in the full mature size, which is as long as 9", are more docile when you're hooking them, but once hit the water, HOLY SMOKE! Carps and large mouth bass can't get enough of them. 1.5" segment of this Amynthas gracilis will make the fish fight harder for it than the African nightcrawler, known for its stench. If you want potency of the stench for the Amynthas gracilis, grab enough of the worms you want on the side, put them in a different 5 gallon container with the bedding and food, add enough powdered garlic to layer a good fine white layer, and 3 days later, those worms are one stinky attractive bait.
Bin: A tote, about 50 gallons, costs about $20. These worms love lateral burrowing, which they tend to move sideways, and very little downwards, in an isolated bin. However, if they are in the wild, and soil, they will be up above, eating, throughout the day, as long as there's sufficient shade/lack of light. All worms are photo sensitive. Drill enough holes in one corner to allow water/worm tea to be drained out of. When you place the bin, make sure there's a 2-inch elevation different from each side. This promotes proper drainage. You will need some weed guard mat and rocks to create a drainage basin above these holes, and preventing the worms from crawling out.You can use fabrics if you like. Just cover the holes up with at least 5" in different direction, pile the small 1/4" to 1/2" rocks onto of the fabric, and add a bit of coarse sand over the rocks and fabric to push the fabric down to prevent the worms from crawling through the gaps.
Soil you need: don't use coarse soil (just enough to cover the rocks to act as drainage basin over the holes), like riverbed sand, or multipurpose sand. Loamy sand, clay, or just any good fine sand. Perfect type of soil is your backyard, where it was nice and moist from all the gardening, or at least covered with a bit of top soil.
Soil amendment: you need a good mix of compost. Purchase a bag of compost that has a nice content of large chunky woody materials in them. If you have a nice compost pile already which had been broken down and cured, use that. You can use horse manure or rabbit manure to mix into the sand. The worms will thank you.
Mixture: add 50% of your soil, and 50% of the compost together. Mix it well. Do not fill the bin beyond 1/2 bin height. You need the rest as buffered room for adding composting/scrap materials later. Add a top layer of dried leaves/grass/shredded newspaper without the waxy content. Only recycled black/white newspaper. No waxy or heavy stock colored papers. Pour enough water onto everything, until you have a nice moist (not soaking/dripping wet) mixture. This should be about 40% to 50% moist, which the worms will love.
Let the bin sits under the shaded area for about 2 days before introducing worms into the mix. When you get your worms, place them all into one single pile, and let them burrow when they want, as they adapt to their new environment.
If you're living a frost zone every winter, make sure to position your bin in an area where the temperature will not kill them, which happens to drop below 45°F. Unlike the nightcrawlers, these worms will survive in the harsh cold.
Worms: most of you are lucky enough to live in areas where the Alabama Jumpers are abundant to be harvest from the soil. You cannot miss these things, as they are violently move in a C-shape patter, or literally move like a snake when you try to grab/touch them. However, for us who are not lucky enough to have these beauty easily harvested, I only able to find one reputable source that truly provide these correct worm species, where others are falsely advertise theirs. Do not be tricked. I've fallen into other worm farms' trickery, and spend quite a bit in obtaining the wrong species that they promised to deliver. The site I normally order from on the yearly basis for the past few years is www.organicwormfarm.com (this site went bellied up after AAA complaints about the owner is scamming his clients/customers, including myself..he has many other sites, so be aware of who you're purchasing from).
I would strongly recommend that no one every use any of the Amynthas species of worms for fishing! (Or, any other purpose)
These are highly aggressive, highly invasive and massively destructive worms. Their damage is especially evident in our forests, but they will destroy plants and soils in a wide variety -- if not all -- environments. For a vivid example of what it will do on the understory of a forest, see slide 13 on the web page http://www.uvm.edu/~entlab/Greenhouse%20IPM/Workshops/2014/Presenta...
In my own state of Wisconsin, it is prohibited by law to have Amynthas agrestis in possession, as well as to buy sell them. I suspect that other states will follow suit soon.
But regardless of how long it takes for the scientists, general public and laws to catch up, we can start now to protect the environment that we love and depend upon for protecting the plants, animals, soils and waters by not using any of the Amynthas worms.
Yours in the great outdoors,
John, I understand you completely. I'm a fellow environmental scientist myself, so, I understand the concerns. I've done extensive researches before meddling in any approach to things, which remotely/may/will cause detrimental effects on human, animal, and environmental biological healths.
You are truly right when it comes to forests that are sensitive to foreign invaders, which in providing native's species the check and balance, especially when the northern areas are known for its dense trees used for human's food/commercial sources (maple, pine, misc. woods, etc.). We can compare the Amynthas species in the rich forest regions as quagga and zebra muzzles to the water bodies.
However, regions that are arid, lacking the native native earthworms to sustain forests with nutrients (constant fires and high erosivity from slopes due to lack of top soil stabilization), with massive increase of urbanization/suburbanization which literally decimated the available earthworm population, we need to increase the amount of aggressive and hardly species that can handle the environmental abuses. Of course, the intent of introducing the invasive species is not ideal regardless, which we can bring about a can-of-worms discussions. Nevertheless, in the southwest regions (TX, CA, AZ, NM, NV), the check and balance has always been maintained between the native earthworm species, and the known invasive species. I've traveled OR past year, and the dense forest of Mt. Hood and the Bend's farming regions depending heavily on these critters to increase aeration, consume excess nutrient produced by human's activities, and of course, food sources for native species of birds, fishes, and subterranean creatures. There's a constant on-going biological studies done by various professors from the east to the west coasts for the past 2 decades, including various other departments from the California environmental agencies (Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Dept. of Natural Resources, and plenty of smaller agencies which invested millions of dollars in the past 2 decades for biological/structural impact studies), which I'm also following closely since I'm perform my own experimentation in isolated urbanized location.
Since red wigglers, African/European/Canadian night crawlers are invasive species as much as the Amynthas species, which has a higher volume of breeding, selling, and cultivating for purposes to not only improve biological and ecological settings, where the Amythas species are pre-existed species that have been dwelling in the southwest regions for over a known half century now (unlike the quagga/zebra muzzles where it was just within the past 2 decades), we can only hope to find the initial signs of detrimental outcomes in the worst case scenarios from the constant monitoring (by the way, which is not the best way to go by any standard). But, we can't sit on our hands and not utilize the massive beneficial results in utilizing these worms to our advantages with high caution.
Okay..no more geeky stuff that you and I are enjoying discussing. I think we just put them all to sleep with my reply. Sorry about that everyone. As you said John, be cautious of purchasing the Amythas worms, or any invasive species, unless they pre-exist in your areas with check and balance already for at least half known century.
It's best not to use that site any more. Too many "issues" with the seller being both lazy with his business and abusing his customers after having such a large client list. I'm taking that link down. HOWEVER, I do recommend sites I've dealt with in the recent year:
http://texasredworms.com/category/alabama-jumpers/ (mainly shipped juveniles, but still good)
http://www.thewormdude.com/products-page/alabama-jumpers-nightcrawl... (nearly forgot about this site)
We also have members living in various areas of the mid to south east of the country, dead smacked on the rich veins of jumpers. Ask around and you'll get a few who are willing to provide you a few starters for your explosive population to come. Mind took a drive to unknown counts due to the invasion of field mice and rats in my compost bins. They love these large morsels of proteins.
Thyis is where I got mine https://unclejimswormfarm.com/.
The problem with the UncleJimsWormFarm.com is the site only offer the basic vermicomposting worms. Great when it comes to shipping these basic worms. But if you want the true fishing worm, or even the cultivators, the jumpers are the best of the best..aside from the Florida's monstrous breed of worm in the Apalachicola region. Holy mother of nature. If I can only get my hands on those gorgeous beauties.
Leo is right as a general rule the vermicomposting worms are smaller. I found when you feed them chicken starter they bulk up quit a bit you'll be surprised how much.
If you truly want composting with chicken fattening, raise black soldier fly's larvae. I'm experimenting the live larvae in aquaculture feeding right. So far, so good. High calcium loads that is much, much, much cleaner than worms.
YAAAAAAAAAA !!!!!!!!! LEO IS BACK !!! ABOUT TIME TO !!!!!!!!!
I've been around. Not enough time to respond, but always around to read all the post..ALL the posts.
Leo;; Damon Tony has a way of aquiring those soldier flies;;
Great to know a member has a ability to harvest. Now..on with the requests!
Of course, I can cull plent of them here myself. Already started with my rice fermentation mixture to get them to the compost bin of mine. They will be here by the hundreds in 2 months, and multiply by thousands by summer.
Leo; the organicwormfarm link and the wormdude site are the same guy and he owns both sites. So is one good and the other not, or all the same?
Also, do you have any link where one can buy the microscolex dubius worm? I've done a search and can't seem to find any.
So you just set your tub above ground with the cover on it?
It freezes very hard here in WI during the winter-what does one do with them then?
Thanks for this article.