Perionyx excavatus or blue worms are more common than most vermicomposters realize. Commonly called “Indian blues” or “Malaysian blues” these worms bring out very negative feelings for some.
Blues are considered a pest worm in most of North America but are used in more tropical regions of the world for vermicomposting.
Blues are commonly mistaken for red wigglers, but are easily distinguished once you’re educated on the differences.
Blues tend to be longer and skinnier than red wigglers, the have a short, dark coloured head that looks blue in the light. Blues are a fast moving but twitchy worm. The clitellum on blues is flush to the body or slightly indented. Their clitellum begins on segment 14 from the mouth. Blues lack the striping pattern found on Eisenia fetida or Eisenia hortensis.
Blues are often mixed into orders of red wigglers, allegations have been made that a few unscrupulous vendors purposely sold blues in place of red wigglers deceptively. Blue worms are often considered a pest worm by many because of the reputation for escaping and the ability to invade the beds of commercial worm breeders and take over.
Perionyx excavatus are a very fast breeding and capable composting worm. With their superior breeding ability, exceptional composting ability and tolerance for heat (sometimes generated by overfeeding) they would be a far superior worm to Eisenia fetida if not for the wandering.
Advantages of blues:
- High temperature tolerance
- very fast to reproduce
- perhaps the fastest worms to create casting (exceptional for waste reduction)
Disadvantages of using Perionyx excavatus
- Prone to escape a worm bin (especially during rain storms)
- Too thin for most fishermen for bait use.
- poorer tolerance to cold than Eisenia fetida
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