BUY WORMS / A Division of Rabbits, Etc. www.bestbuyworms.comMike & Dee Blaha 352.796.0459
352.573.0166 firstname.lastname@example.org Worms are an excellent insect control method for
farmers. Worms offer not only a great fly control solution;
but also 1 pound of worms can turn ½ pound of waste into useful fertilizer, (65 pounds of worm castings in 100 days).
It can also be a very lucrative “home business” with minimal work and start up expenses. It is an easy business
to expand as well. Housing your worms can be done in many ways. Keep in mind that worms are like fish, they will only grow to the size of their
container; if you are wanting to grow out bait size worms be certain your container allows for room to grow.You can raise
worms in ground beds or raised beds; we use both methods. Raised worm boxes can be built of wood, fiberglass, plastic or metal.
Concrete blocks also work well for ground beds. Whatever material you can easily and cheaply obtain can be made to work. The
use of lights will help keep the worms “down”. Composting bins are also popular, ready made units are available
or make your own using “non-breathing” materials such as plastic, fiberglass or metal containers; they should
be perforated with small holes for drainage, filled 1/3 with dampened bedding. Pull back bedding, introduce the worms and
then cover them with bedding about 2 inches deep, top with a cover or screen to guard against flies. All
beds should be kept from direct sunlight. Use caution with solid covers, they can cause gases from food scraps to be trapped
in airspace that will kill the worms. Boxes built on the ground do carry more risk of “contamination” from other native breeds of worms,
as well as predators. We use the ground beds under our rabbits to control insects and bag up the composted
worm manure for sale and use in our gardens. Some growers line their beds with hardware cloth or netting to prevent gophers
or moles from eating the worms. Use sideboards around the perimeter to contain the beds. Our ground beds are about 5’
wide and 12”-18” high. They line up with the feeders on the outside of the rabbit cages hung above them. We raise
most of our Red Wigglers and African Nightcrawlers in the ground beds and use raised beds for the Eisenias to protect them
from being taken over by larger and more aggressive species we raise. Be sure to protect your beds from possums, raccoons,
armadillos and other hungry critters. One square foot of surface area can contain one
pound of worms. 2’ x 2 ‘ and 12-18” inches
high will hold 4000 breeders, when harvested monthly. This works out to 1000 breeders per square foot. We work mostly with
a 4’ x 8’ boxes. They offer a comfortable reach for harvesting and maintenance. For composting bins, one 18 gallon
tub, (72 Quart) will support up to 1 pound of worms. Nursery quality peat is the recommended medium to
begin beds. Be sure to soak in water for 24 hours to reach
its maximum moisture levels before introducing the worms. Bedding should be moist enough that when you squeeze a handful you
get 1 drop of water, o is too dry and 2 are too wet. We have also used horse manure from barn stalls, it contains a nice mix
of sawdust and manure, (be careful that the horse has not been recently wormed and the manure is no longer “hot”).
Shredded paper can be mixed in with other bedding to stretch your medium. In fact using a mix of mediums is preferred to prevent
compacting. It should be at least 12" deep; 18" is ideal Regardless of the type of container you use - stock the beds with the
type of worm you and/or your BUYER WANTS. Not all worms
are alike. There are a number of different types of worms. Names often vary by region; worms commonly referred
to as “Red Worms” include the Eisenia foetida, the most popular choice for composting. Eudrillus eugeniae, (African
Nightcrawlers) very prolific, and Pheretima Hawayanus, (known as the “Hybrid Red Worm”), are popular bait worms.
These are the hardier worm varieties; and are more tolerant of shipping and handling, they are the worms that we sell. To
water your beds, mist heads are the recommended way to
go. Usually hand watering can be difficult to distribute water evenly. However, done CAREFULLY, it can work well. You need
to maintain a balance of 70 - 80% moisture – 3:1 ratio. The “soil” should be wet enough to squeeze 1 drop
of water out of a handful of “soil”. They are not fish! Using an automated timer can be a great way to regulate
the water. Worms need to be fed when the tops of your beds are covered with fine grains of “soil”. This tells you that the worms have
“processed” their “food” and an additional amount of feed is required. You can buy a “mashed
type” worm feed or any other animal feed, poultry feed or corn meal can be used; however, beware of high salt content;
also avoid “oily” foods that can cause problems. We raise rabbits above most of our worm beds and use the droppings
as worm “feed” which works very well. You may harvest cow patties or use any other form of animal waste. BE CERTAIN
that if you use animal manure that the animal has NOT been wormed recently or you will KILL your worms. Horse manure and rabbit
manure seem to be ideal. You may also use cardboard or shredded newspaper for feed, but it is not recommended as a sole steady
diet. Worm production can be boosted with additional protein feed. One pound of worms will eat 1/2 pound of food every day.
Kitchen scraps are OK too. DO NOT OVER FEED food waste, kitchen scraps, old vegetables, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc.,
you could be inviting trouble with ants as well as other critters enjoying a free bite and perhaps eat your worms too! Overfeeding
“worm feed” can result in moldy feed and endanger your worms. Be certain to cut up your kitchen scraps into small
pieces - they have small mouths! You should also bury kitchen scraps under a thin layer of bedding to prevent mold and flies
and maggots. Should you have ants in your beds, dig
out the marauders or spot treat them with a granulated ant killer. Remember, ants are not elephants, use
sparingly; a little bit goes a long way. Do not over load your beds with chemicals, it will kill the worms. Granular Calcium
Carbonate or Dolomite can be used to maintain a favorable pH level of 5.6 to 7.0. Red Mites are another enemy of the worm.
Prevention is the best solution – a high mite population generally reflects over watering/poor drainage or over feeding.
Less feed and/or allowing the bed to dry out can resolve this problem. Depending on the type of
worm you raise, a general rule of thumb is that the worms
will mature in 90 days and begin laying eggs. They produce an average of 3 - 4 eggs each month. The eggs hatch in 21 days
and each capsule may contain 2 - 20 worms each. They can triple their numbers every 90 -120 days. Allow 4 – 6 months
for the worms to grow to the size most fish bait consumers’ desire. Be careful to allow your beds to reach a high level
of productivity and egg lying BEFORE YOU BEGIN HARVESTING. If you harvest too soon, you may unknowingly wipe out your adult
breeders and therefore, future production. Harvest regularly, every 30 days, when conditions are right, worms will reproduce
quickly. Your worms need to be turned over to stay “healthy”. GENTLY use a pitchfork, not a shovel, A worm cut
in half does not = two worms; it equals 2 dead half pieces of a worm. Always replenish the harvested bed with fresh bedding
to assure continued production. Worms will “leave “a bed that is not maintained to their liking. They will “go down” during cooler temperatures in the winter and come up as it warms;
but will run off if a bed is too hot, dry or wet. It is best to raise worms in a cool area – under shade trees, a covered
barn, etc. Some growers use fans, misters or air conditioning units in a storage area to assure the temperature does not get
too high. Constant lighting is recommended to keep the worms from “running”. Never refrigerate
the types of worms we have mentioned! 50 – 70 degrees is the average temperature to maintain for your worms. We recommended that new growers enter the business on a smaller scale. We can provide you with a good starting amount depending on your goals. You should get
the hang of raising worms successfully before increasing production. Be certain to buy your foundation stock from an established
grower and have your market connections firmed up early.
more extensive information order our Worm University Manual.
|Click on photo for manual and class information.
Worm Manual $49.95
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