Frequently asked questions about Worm plots

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Worm Farm.


1. Why is it necessary to do the earthworm protocol between January and April?

We ask you to collect earthworms at the end of winter, when the soil has warmed up and morning temperatures are around 6-10°C. When the soil is too cold (< 8°C at a depth of 10cm) or too dry, some species die (as in the case of epigeous worms) while others enter a phase of slowed activity, called lethargy. The earthworms then no longer react to the application of mustard. For some of them (blackheaded worms), this phenomenon is triggered hormonally in June.

 2. How to mix mustard and water?

It is necessary to mix the water and mustard well, we advise you to use a kitchen whisk!

 3. Why does mustard make the worms come up?

Mustard contains an active ingredient, Allyl Isothiocyanate (AITC), which is stinging on the skin of earthworms. On contact with AITC, the earthworms will have a flight reflex and come to the surface.

4. Do earthworms suffer?

Mustard is irritating to worms, which is why we ask you to rinse the worms with clean water.

 5. Why Amora Fine and Forte® mustard?

Mustard contains an active ingredient, Allyl Isothiocyanate (AITC), which is stinging to the skin of earthworms. The concentration of AITC varies from one mustard to another, so in order to be able to compare the results, it is important that each participant uses the same mustard recipe, hence the use of Amora Fine et Forte® mustard, available throughout France.

6. I find it difficult to differentiate between certain epigids and red-headed auks...

Adults, epigees rarely measure more than 5 cm, whereas red-headed aneciques are large, stocky worms (>10 cm adult).
In juveniles, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish. If the individual is larger than 5 cm, it can be determined as a Red-headed Anecium, otherwise look at the shape of the tail tip: Anecians have a flattened, spearhead-shaped tail tip.

 7. I find it difficult to differentiate between some black-headed and red-headed anecdotes...

In general, the ventral side of red-headed anecaks has a much more pronounced orange tinge than that of black-heads.
If you let a red-headed anecdote relax in the light you will also see lighter lines between the rings of the head.

 8. I am also hesitating between endogeous and black-headed earthworms!

Endogeous earthworms are generally the easiest to identify. They are discoloured, pink, light grey or green. However, in juveniles it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between an endogeous and a black-headed anecdote. Look at the tip of the head: if it is light brown to brown, it is a black-headed anecdote, if it is more pinkish, it is an endoecious.