Nightcrawlercastings.com European Nightcrawler Cocoons (Worm Eggs)
European Nightcrawler (ENC) (Dendrobaena veneta now also called Eisenia hortensis)
Our entire breeding stock is imported from Europe in October 2016!!
PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB the cocoons once you have them in their new bed. The hatchlings are very tiny and disturbing the bedding may suffocate them. Their tunnels are also very tiny and they need them to be able to breathe air.
After about four weeks, if you wish to see the tiny worms, place a few small pieces of overripe muskmelon, banana or pear on top of the bedding. After a couple of days remove the fruit and you should see some tiny worms where the fruit was.
Let’s begin raising your nightcrawlers! It's a lot like planting seeds, keep them moist and warm.
1. Prepare their bed/bin if you have not already done so.
2. Be sure the bedding is moist not wet. You will need to keep the bedding moist.
3. The cocoons need an air supply to hatch and the hatchlings will need air, also. Small holes at the top edge of the bin will provide air.
4. We recommend you mix some agricultural limestone (finely ground calcium carbonate) in the bedding to keep the bedding about 7.5 to 8.0 pH.
5. And to add a small amount of fine sand in the bedding- grit for the worms gizzards. Play sand will work good. They have gizzards, just like chickens do that require grit to digest food. Amazing critters!
6. Sprinkle the cocoon compost mixture over the top of the moist bedding.
7. Lightly sprinkle a tablespoon of food on top of the compost mixture. Lightly spritz (moisten) the food and compost mixture. As they eat the food up - just replenish it. You don’t want too much food there as it can go sour. You do need to keep food available to them at all times.
8. Cover the bed/bin to keep the light out. And keep the bedding moist and moderately warm, about 70 F is a good temperature. You can use damp newspapers or cardboard or just use the lid for the bin. Do not place the bed/bin in direct sunlight.
9. Some cocoons should begin to hatch in about three weeks and others will continue to hatch over the next few weeks. They will not all hatch at the same time.
The newly hatched worms will look like short pink threads. They grow rather quickly to recognizable little worms. As the little worms grow you will need to divide your population into more bins/beds to avoid them becoming overcrowded. IMPORTANT! Do not allow them to become crowded. If they become crowded they will NOT grow to full size, they will become stunted in growth.They will not attain maximum size if they are overcrowded.
When the food is consumed (you may begin to see hatchlings) you can add a bit of finely ground vegetable scraps. Be sure to cover the scraps with bedding. Remember, do not overfeed only add more food after all food has been consumed. You can continue to feed our food mixture; or Purina Worm Chow; or vegetable scraps, etc.
This is an interesting link to a video by Cornell University: Vermicompost a Living Soil Amendment.
Please feel free to contact us for any questions you have or any that might arise as you hatch your cocoons and raise your nightcrawlers. We will be happy to help you to the best of our ability.
We have a few tips on raising European Nightcrawlers.
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