Compost worms are not the same as regular earthworms. They will only survive in your compost bin if there’s plenty of organic material for them to munch on. In contrast, earthworms remove dead organic material from the surface of the soil and carry it underground.
While both red wigglers and nightcrawlers are invaluable to gardeners everywhere, only red wigglers really belong in a compost pile. Unlike earthworms, red wigglers actually eat rotting organic material from the surface of the soil while earthworms eat already-composted soil that’s deep underground.
What this means for you is that if you stock a compost bid with red wigglers, you can simply put all your kitchen scraps and other plant matter right on the surface and the worms will come up to eat it. You also don’t have to worry about turning your compost, since these worms will eat from the top and spread their castings throughout the bin. Earthworms will, unfortunately, die in a worm compost bin from lack of food.
Compost piles can get hot. All those organisms working together to break down your kitchen scraps can produce a lot of heat, which in turn keeps the process going. Earthworms, however, don’t do well in hot environments and can actually hurt themselves as they try to get away from the heat. They’ll dig deeper and deeper, trying to find a way out of your compost bin, only to crash against a sealed bottom. Red wigglers do just fine in the heat and like to stay the surface of your bin.
Vermicomposting with red wigglers will also produce usable compost much faster other methods. You won’t have to wait for the plant matter to decompose on its own before heat and microorganism break it down. Your worms will take care of the whole process for you, giving you usable compost in three to six months.