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What food is immediately most attractive to European Nightcrawlers?

This is a question and an experiment log...

What is the food that will draw European Night-crawlers most quickly, within 1 to 4 days? Please do post your personal experiences with foods that they come to within 1 to 4 days.

Right now, I'm interested in this food experiment, but ultimately, I'd like to figure out how to draw some of the biggest worms into a small area for "quick picking", so if you have personal experience with that please do post about it.

On to the experiment...

Premise: More worms will go to the food that is more attractive to them.

Trap: To attract and "trap" worms, I cut the top and bottom apart on a plastic takeaway food container so I had two equal sized containers and covered them in newspaper, with enough to drape over the outsides and added shredded cardboard, newspaper and a few coffee grounds. Thoroughly wet the bedding to "8" on my moisture meter.

  • In container A, I sprinkled a tablespoon or so of flour and moisturized with a sprayer.
  • In container B, I sprinkled a tablespoon or so of rolled oats that were soaked to saturation.
  • Adequate kitchen scraps, bedding and coffee grounds in the bin such that they are not driven to containers A & B because they are hungry.

Bin Setup Description

Bin: 18 gallon plastic bin with 80% of the bottom cut out and a piece of 1/2 inch hardware cloth covering the entire bottom. Top covered only with multiple layers of newspapers. Light on in that room 24 hours a day.

Location: Typically 55 to 60 degree basement.

Temperature control: 1/2 gallon plastic milk jug full of water in the middle of the bin, 50 watt aquarium heater in the milk jug, temp set at maximum, about 93 degrees, jury rigged so worms can't crawl into the milk jug.

Bedding: Approximately 65% cardboard, 30% newspaper, 5% peat moss, and a few handfuls of 6 month old coffee grounds.

Regular food: More of those 6 to 8 month old coffee grounds, they love them, and kitchen scraps.

Grit: A little garden sand sprinkled in every 2 or 3 feedings.

First Result:

On short notice, the worms clearly have a preference for flour over rolled oats!

After 24 hours, there were 0 worms in the rolled oats container and 14 worms in the flour container. I removed the worms from the flour container and put them in a different bin.

Three days later, there were 12 worms in the rolled oats container and 29 worms in the flour container. I removed all the worms from both containers and put them in a different bin.

Second Test: Do the worms really prefer flour or do they prefer the texture of flour?

Today, I pulverized some rolled oats as fine as I could get them in the blender, 80+ percent of it about the size of granulated garlic or smaller, freshened up the containers with more cardboard/newspaper, moisturized, approximately 1T flour in one container and 1T pulverized rolled oats in the other.

Result to follow.

Views: 477

Comment by Bill Wilson on February 5, 2015 at 4:14pm

Results from second test using powdered oatmeal:

After 24 hours, there were 9 worms in the powdered oatmeal container and 17 worms in the flour container.

I didn't cook the oatmeal and I noticed some tiny, too small to see, just noticed them moving and a white grub in the oatmeal container. I put the oatmeal container in the freezer. I may or may not come back to this experiment, clearly flour is more attractive than oats. If I do come back to this experiment, it will be to compare other materials, probably other grains, against flour.


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