What is the difference between earthworms and compost worms

Wat is het verschil tussen een regenworm en een compostworm
Wat is het verschil tussen een regenworm en een compostworm

Sometimes the name earthworm is used as a collective name for all kinds of worm species. But usually this means the gray worm or Aporrectodea calliginosa. Grey worms are soil dwellers. They eat themselves through the soil and that is good for the soil structure. In the Netherlands, this is the most common worm. They have the same gray color on the top and bottom and remain still on your hand.

These grey worms eat soil in addition to plants and animal remains. They do not really contribute to the conversion of organic waste to vermicompost. But are important for the improvement of the soil structure. The corridors they dig will help root your plants and help spread water.

The gray worm is also called earthworm, because it lives in the earth (about the top 40 cm or deeper in dry soil). Compost worms are litter worms, they live just below the surface. They do eat almost their own weight of organic waste per day if the conditions are right. In the Balkonton so under the waste layer. Especially the Eisinia Fetida will not go through the earth in your barrel much in search of food. The Eisinia Hortensis has the power for this and also lives partly in the earth.

So it wouldn’t be a crazy idea to put a few earthworms in your Balkonton, just make sure your barrel doesn’t dry out or the earthworms will probably leave your barrel in search of groundwater, or perhaps die if they don’t find the way out. Whether and how exactly this happens, we do not yet know. Biology students who want to do research on this are welcome to carry out a research assignment, internship or graduation project at Balkonton.


Source: bodemacademie.nl, Gaiabodem.nl,

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