Using A Worm Bin To Raise Productive Alabama Jumpers

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Over and over it has been stated that one cannot raise Alabama Jumpers in captivity if you want them to be prolific. I am happy to be able to report I have finally proven this to be false as I currently have a good number of second generation Alabama Jumpers now growing in an interior worm bin on the farm.

The worm bin for this experiment was not large, rather only 4 ½ square feet of surface area. The depth is 18 inches with the original bedding material of 14 inches deep. I have approximately 800 Alabama Jumper worms in the worm bin.

As my original posts have stated, I have been able to hold these Alabama Jumpers and keep them healthy for approximately three months now. The problem was in having the correct conditions which would enable them to reproduce. As the last article mentioned, I was feeding them strictly Purina Worm Chow as they gobble it down. Currently I use it as a substitute which still disappears daily.

The difference came about when I began adding vegetable scraps, same as one would add to a red wiggler worm bin or worm farm.

I have noticed something recently with the addition of a second mound of pureed vegetable scraps once it cooled down. The majority of the Alabama Jumpers in this mound are the larger worms. I am not sure whether this is a coincidence or if there is some type of social behavior. I have never seen them to be aggressive to one another; hence I do not believe that the younger mature worms are being chased away. I do have to wonder if there could be some type of hierarchy to the Alabama Jumpers which is understood  that only larger mature worms to take over an area suitable for breeding while maintaining an understanding that the smaller worms stay out. This definitely has me intrigued so I have a new theory to try.

Back to the original reason for this article, as the picture illustrates below some recently hatched Alabama Jumpers. As they are young and this is an experiment, I am not going to pull a lot of them out as I am trying to disturb them as little as possible to receive more accurate results.

Hatched Alabama Jumpers

I will be trying to watch these to see at what rate they grow. To accomplish this I am trying a new bedding material which I will screen after two weeks in hopes of harvesting some cocoons from the Alabama Jumpers to raise separately.

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Article Comments

  1. Bruce, interesting article. Tell me exactly how you are raising the Alabame jumpers and under what conditions. The ones I ordered from you and put in my outside compost pile, I don’t see much of them when I turn the pile, maybe they have just gone deeper.
    At what temperture are you keeping your bin? I would like to try raising some in an 18 gallon bin like I have my other worms in but I don’t want to have to buy another heater cause I would have to buy another thermostat. My garage is not heated but closed and a lot of times it is around 50 degrees or sometimes lower, is this too cold for them.
    Please let me know what you think.

    Thanks and have a Blessed day,
    Wade

  2. Wade,

    The Alabama Jumpers have gone down under since we are so cold currently as I know you are in SC as well as myself. In fact they have dug in down in Alabama also, hence they cannot dig them up right now until they warm up a bit.

    The Alabama worm bin is kept right at 73 – 74 degrees Fahrenheit, however I find the Alabama Jumpers will go to the food once it cools to 81 – 83 degrees.

    Yes 50 degrees would be a bit cool as the last time I checked the Alabama Jumpers outside when they were deeper in the pile as well as sluggish compared to earlier in the year the temperature was at 53 degrees. I would recommend waiting until spring before starting them when your garage can heat up a little more unless you used a heating system.

    Hmmm, just a thought about possibly using the homemade worm bin heater I wrote about on my other blog…. This might just be enough to heat them to where you need it…

    Your welcome and you also have a Blessed Day!

    Bruce

  3. When creating a worm bin and putting in there bedding,what is the best mix ratio of material to use. Can you use only shredded paper with food scaps instead of adding in peatmoss.

  4. Joe,

    I have tried the shredded newspaper alone and it does not work as the Alabama Jumpers will try to do a Houdini on you. The do enjoy some shredded newspaper and cardboard mixed throughout the bedding material.

    It was funny I found your comment this morning when I awoke about 3:30 am as I had just written an article last evening pertaining to peat moss for the bedding and placed the final touches on it this morning. You can find the article here.

    As for the sphagnum peat moss you will want to keep away from for the Alabama Jumpers as I ended up losing to many with it. On the other hand, Black peat moss works like a charm.

    Visit the above post for more information.

    Thanks

    Bruce

  5. Bruce thank you on the black peatmoss info.
    How about red wigglers with shreddded newspaper and are they good with spagnum peatmoss.I am trying to get away from the peatmoss.

  6. Joe

    The red wigglers are fine with the sphagnum peat however do not require it. You can make a simple bedding of shredded newspaper and cardboard along with food scraps for them. Simply place it in the worm bin in layers.

    Bruce

  7. Someone should make a worm bin that can stay at
    the right temp.
    Any ideas?
    We live in Colorado and of course, get really frozen temps
    in the winter.
    I would love to raise the alabama jumpers.
    Maybe we could put them in a big metal tub (like the kind you
    use to feed animals) and put some kind of heating pad in the
    bottom.
    Anyone had any experiences with these types of situations.
    I know in a perfect world they are meant to be in the ground.
    Seraina

  8. Seraina

    There are heating systems which are available however I recommend caution as electricity and water or if the bin dries out may not mix and cause a fire.

    I have built and posted a simple plan for a heater which is safe, however is not sufficient to heat outside but rather as a heating booster. You can find this on the Worm Composting Blog.

    I was thinking if one took a hot water heater such as one in your home and piped the water line into the worm bin, it could be much more efficient as well as handle a number of worm bins depending how cold the winter is in your area and how you set it up.

    Bruce

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