What Are The Different Types of Nightcrawler Worms? - Uncle Jim's Worm Farm

What Are The Different Types of Nightcrawler Worms?

Compost, Fishing, Live Worms, Night Crawlers

nightcrawlers

Are you looking to start your own compost or improve your garden’s soil health? Nightcrawler worms can be a great addition, but which type should you choose?

Nightcrawler worms are earthworms that come out at night to feed on decaying organic matter. They are commonly used in composting and gardening, as burrowing helps soil aeration and nutrient distribution. 

This article provides information about the different types of nightcrawler worms, their characteristics, and how they differ from other worm species. Understanding these differences will assist you in choosing the appropriate worm species best suited for your purpose.  

Different Kinds of Nightcrawler Earthworms  

Many species of earthworms can be found across the globe, and different types of worms are used for various purposes. Types of earthworms are grouped into different categories, but to keep things simple, we can divide them by the position of the soil they dwell in: 

  • Burrow worms, also known as anecic
  • Endogeic earthworms dwell in and feed on the soil, and 
  • Epigeic type of earthworms lives on the soil surface

Some of these worms are great for the aeration of soil, while others are amazing bait for freshwater fish.

The Difference Between Night crawlers and Other Worms

Nightcrawler worms, known as Lumbricus terrestris, are the most commonly used earthworms in composting and gardening. These burrowing worms can grow up to 8-10 inches long and weigh about 0.5-1 gram. Night crawlers are classified as anecic worms, creating permanent burrows in the soil and coming out at night to feed on decaying organic matter.

These biggest earthworm species are often used as fishing bait, and in vermicomposting, where they consume food scraps and produce nutrient-rich castings that can be used as a soil amendment.

There are many types of nightcrawler worms (also referred to as grunt worms, garden worms, and leaf worms). There’s the European kind and the African and Canadian nightcrawlers.

Canadian Nightcrawlers vs. European

Among all nightcrawlers, the European cousin of the red wriggle worms are the most beneficial earthworms, mainly because of their body weight. However, their cousins from North America and Africa are often underrepresented. As previously mentioned, there are three known kinds of night crawlers:

  1. European scientifically referred to as Eisenia hortensis
  2. African are called Eudrilus eugeniae,
  3. Canadian nightcrawlers Lumbricus terrestris.

You can find them burrowing and thriving in most compost heaps or animal manure piles. On the other hand, the Canadian nightcrawler is also large in size and is a very well-liked live fish bait. Also known as Dew worms, Canadians are deep burrowers and are usually placed in less confined spaces (compared to limited spaces that red wrigglers can sustain). As for the African type, these dilly worms can sustain cool conditions. They can also be used for composting.

They are the perfect worms for live fish bait; and are a good food source for different kinds of reptiles, amphibians, and birds.

 But which nightcrawlers are preferred for living fish bait and vermicomposting?

Nightcrawlers as live fish bait

Nightcrawler worms have been popularly used as bait worms for fish because of their constant twisting movement (which makes them very appealing to fish of all kinds). They’ve been used extensively for fishing since they can be submerged underwater for long periods of time (unlike their red wriggler worm cousins).

You can buy them from a local bait store or a worm farm store online. The average recreational fisherman often tries catching a few beautiful worms in the garden after a heavy downpour, as it is more fun and doesn’t cost a penny.

Which Nightcrawler is good for vermicomposting?

The European and African night crawlers are usually used for worm composting. There are benefits to using them, but they’re not as preferred by gardeners, especially when used for composting. But the good thing about them is that they can stand low food levels compared to red wrigglers.

Raising nightcrawler worms in worm farms is simple. You’ll just have to provide them a worm bin with some earthy soil (and, of course, some organic food supply) that you can store indoors (in your basement or garage) or outdoors afterward (on your lawn or garden).

Uncle Jim’s recommends the 250 Super Red Worms or European Nightcrawlers

Also, take note that nightcrawlers have no eyes or ears. They only sense the motion of things through vibrations. They typically burrow down the soil ( as deep as 6 ½ feet) when they feel minor shudders in their surroundings. But their burrowing has its advantages, too, since it helps with aerating the soil.

Nightcrawler earthworms are light-sensitive, so they burrow back under the soil in daylight. Because of that, they will come up to the ground at night. This is why fisherman will scour their backyard ground during nighttime and after a good rain (usually when there’s dew on the grass).

Our 250 Super Red Worms or European Nightcrawlers can grow for as long as 6 inches long; and can also be used for your gardening needs. It’ll help your garden or lawn soil become well-aerated and fertilized. Not only that, it burrows deep under the ground to allow water and nutrients to reach the root systems of your garden or lawn. It’s also a good food source for other animals; and a great live bait for fish. Order yours from us today!

To know more about the product, check the 250 Super Red Worms or European Nightcrawlers here.

23 thoughts on “What Are The Different Types of Nightcrawler Worms?

  1. I have a photo of what looks like a night crawler I took a couple of years ago here in Tx. next to a tape measure that was well over 2 foot long!!! What do you think it could be? Have a .jpg file if your interested

  2. I live in Phoenix and would like to know if I can raise night crawlers in a dirt / compost/ soil amendment mix. I can wet it down regularly (how often?) I have some tortoises in an outside habitat including the dirt pile. Would like to raise the worms to produce feed for the tortoises as well as let them dig and self feed? Your thoughts?

    1. Dean: You can follow any of the guidelines that have been produced for raising nightcrawlers. There are a number of good short videos on You Tube. You will be limited to the African NC and the European NC. Both will provide some composting for you as well as be good for feeding to your reptiles. The Canadian’s are not well suited for the lower states because they need cooler soil temperatures. As long as there exists some organic food for them to eat, they will stay, with the addition of some moisture.

  3. Do you sell books on how to make worm boxes? Do you sell books on how to raise EarthWorms? Do you sell worm food? I would like to raise some Nightcrawlers for my own use! Do you sell the five draw worm boxes? What worm equipment do you sell? I want to buy and raise the Canadian Nightcrawlers! Please let me hear back because I will need more supplies so time goes by! Thank You!

  4. I recently came across a post of invasive earthworms. Are any of them invasive in the United States that we should ne aware of?

  5. What is the coldest temperature Canadian nightcrawlers can withstand in a worm box? I am about to worm farm and I need advice on where to keep them. I live in Cheyenne, WY and my garage is not heated. I prefer outside if they can withstand the occasional below zero temps.
    Thank you in advance

  6. Thinking of getting a small farm going for fun and for fishing. and thinking of nightcrawlers I have read alot of your information and been very helpful thank u. I’m looking to buy some stuff not to expensive just for myself and a friend. what do u think would be best ? Thank u for any information u might could help me with.

    1. Hello Steven;

      You can build your own worm bin inexpensively using some things you already have around the house. If you have 2-3 5 gallon buckets or an old storage tote with a lid, you are on your way! Look up DIY worm bins on line and you will find instructions for several types of bins. It only requires that you drill holes in the bottom of the buckets or bin for drainage, around the top sides for oxygen and air flow and the lid if the bin will not be exposed to rain or water. Add some dirt or peat moss mixed with shredded paper, leaves, cardboard and dampen it, add the worms and the lid….You have a productive worm bin!. You can feed them your kitchen and household scraps every 3-4 days or when the food is almost gone to avoid overfeeding. We recommend reading what to feed the worms and what is important (browns and greens ratio). Also, The Night Crawlers require 10-12 inches to burrow so you can stack 2 or more buckets on top of one another for them to burrow in. This is also on line.

      We wish you much success with your worm farm!
      Uncle Jim’s

  7. I am putting together a research project that I will need to use earthworms and measure them between each treatment, how fast do they grow in length and weight?

  8. Yes, that is correct. European Night Crawlers are undergoing scientific investigation studies by researchers because it appears these worms can easily become an invasive species and they can do significant damage to northern arboreal woodlands.

    1. Hello Hector;

      We recommend European Nightcrawlers for garden beds. We recommend that you add 5-10 per square surface foot of soil. We also recommend that you add them in the early spring after the danger of frost or fall after the worst of the heat is over. The most important part is to get the worms into the ground, they double in numbers every three months and if there is no worm species in the ground, they rush to populate it with their species, so even if you cannot add the recommended amount, just add the worms and they will populate the ground in time.

      Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

  9. I bought your worms and I have them in a 18 gallon plastic tote bin. I only have the soil they came in, shredded paper and some food scraps. How often should I water and what kind of soil do I add? My goal is composting for healthy soil for a herb garden. I cut the lid mostly off and out a mesh screen so they get plenty of air. Thank you

    1. Hello Sarah;

      Thank you for your question. You will need more soil, peat moss, top soil, manure, any kind of organic soil like bedding as worms love dirt. We recommend 50% soil base. Dampened. Fill it 6-8 inches deep.

      Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

  10. Re “ We recommend European Nightcrawlers for garden beds,” I’m trying to prepare two places at my mother’s house planning for a garden next spring. Her soil has a lot of clay. Right now, both spaces are covered with plastic to naturally kill the weeds.(One is covered with black plastic and the other with white Tyvek.)
    I’m assuming that we cannot add European Nightcrawlers until the plastic is off, the dead weeds are removed, and the area is tilled. Am I correct?

    Also, when everything is ready for planting, is a wide diameter PVC pipe about 2 feet long (12”-18” buried and the remainder above ground) with holes drilled large enough for the worms to get through a.good idea to place food scraps and other organic composting materials in?
    Will the worms go in and out of the PVC pipe, transferring their castings throughout the garden while also breaking down the clay and aerating the garden?

  11. Re “ We recommend European Nightcrawlers for garden beds,” I’m trying to prepare two places at my mother’s house planning for a garden next spring. Her soil has a lot of clay. Right now, both spaces are covered with plastic to naturally kill the weeds.(One is covered with black plastic and the other with white Tyvek.
    I’m assuming that we cannot add European Nightcrawlers until the plastic is off, the dead weeds are removed, and the area is tilled. Am I correct?

    Also, when everything is ready for planting, is a wide diameter PVC pipe about 2 feet long (12”-18” buried and the remainder above ground) with holes drilled large enough for the worms to get through a.good idea to place food scraps and other organic composting materials in?
    Will the worms go in and out of the PVC pipe, transferring their castings throughout the garden while also breaking down the clay and aerating the garden?

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