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"Jumper" worms in your system
#1
It turns out that jumper worms, those cute little earthworm like things that jump out of your hand are Asian, invasive and not good for soil. I previously thought these worms were beneficial (as most worm castings are, and based on data given to me by someone whose knowledge is usually correct), but these castings rob soil of nutrients and water holding capacity, which can be observed over time. We've observed the castings when dried up get very solid, not accept water and turn to non-nutritious powder. This is not how normal worm castings behave! 

Some people say chickens don't like them - mine seem to eat them so I've turned them loose in the area most worms reside in our system. Robins also seem to eat them when they come through. We've found these in gutters, in corners of driveways covered with leaves, and other places with lots of leaf mass that stays moist. They can travel in potted plants as well. 

Below, I attached an article that gives other organic ways of controlling them. Since they multiply quickly, I recommend removing if you find them. 

The biggest risk I see is to forests, where they can disrupt the soil building cycle. I've noticed in my own system that they don't seem to like sand - they prefer organic materials like mulch, compost, manure, leaves, etc. Sand may be a limiting factor in Florida. I have never found one directly in sand, only in organic matter or compost. 

IFAS article

Ways to handle them

Share your experience here! 



  
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#2
It really depends on how fast you want it to ramp up. 500 is plenty. The main thing is that they will be competing with other creatures in a larger, more open system. You will have to monitor and tweak the system most likely. We have a section under soil building about vermicomposting - not a complete treatise but addresses some of the main challenges that come up with worms.
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