Can I mix different types of worms in my bin?
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Thankfully, you can mix worm varieties in a small indoor compost bin. However, it is important to note that not all worms are composting worms. Others provide other benefits and often live deeper on the earth. Therefore, it is important that first, you understand what kind of worms you need. As long as you choose compost worms, you should be safe to mix different species in the same bin.
Let’s jump into which worms are composters and which worms are not composters.
What worms are composters
According to the Science Learning Hub, “soil-dwelling earthworms fall into three main niche groupings: compost and soil-surface dwellers (epigeic), topsoil dwellers (endogeic), and deep-burrowing subsoil dwellers (anecic).”
Composting worms fall under the category of epigeic worms. These worms are well known for living toward the top of the soil and eating decaying matter.
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Here are some worms you should consider.
- eisenia fetida – The Red Wiggler (#1 choice)
- eisenia hortensis– European Night Crawler (#4 Choice)
- eudrilus eugeniae– African Night Crawler (#5 choice)
- perionyx excavatus– Blue Worm (#2 choice)
- Louisiana Swamp Worm (#3 Choice)
I added my preference next to each option. I’ve heard of many successful worm bins that are made of #1, #2, & #3. Nightcrawlers often require a little more space and are not as communal as the other types of worms. However, if for whatever reason you have a mix of all of these types of worms. It should be okay just find a happy medium that all species will like.
What worms are not composters
Worms you would not mix into your compost bin are:
Endogeic (includes Aporrectodea longa, Aporrectodea nocturna, Lumbricus friend, and Lumbricus terrestris) and Anecic (Lumbricus terrestris) categories.
Often these are more solitary worms and live deeper in the soil. If they do compost eat food, they will often visit the surface and pull the food into their tunnel. While these worms provide many different benefits in nature, you should not choose them for home composting.
Summary of mixing compost worms
If you are looking to expand your bin and needed to know if you could mix red worms with blue worms, the answer is yes. Overall, worms are pretty forgiving, as you know, and meet their general needs. If possible, avoid nightcrawlers unless you feel like you have enough experience.
If you see a bait or tackle shop selling large deep soil worms, avoid these worms. They provide a lot of great benefit to the soil, but they won’t help you compost your food scraps.